Motivational Monday #36 Patience

Motivational Monday #36 Patience

“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing” it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” 

Fulton J. Sheen

We live in a world which worships speed. Faster is always better and sooner beats later every time.

At least that’s the modern wisdom.

And speed has it’s place. But patience can be equally powerful and is too often overlooked.

One of the flaws with overlooking patience is that we create a world built on rushing. And whilst rushing is great for short term, immediate, needs it fails in the long run.

It can also create a very stressful environment where we want instant gratification or instant success and we become dissatisfied when things don’t happen instantly.

It also creates a culture that makes ridiculous claims – for example a magazine I bought recently proudly announced on the cover ‘Master 3D art in a day” which is a truly ridiculous headline!

Mastery of any discipline in life is only going to come over a protracted period of time and the more we accept that the happier we can be on the journey towards that mastery.

So to be truly happy, and successful in life we need to cultivate both speed and patience.

And as Archbishop Sheen points out this is not a form of inaction but rather action. Of planning when things will happen and for seizing the right opportunities when they arise.

(In the same way as it pays to get on the right train not just the first one that comes along.)

I don’t know what you want to achieve by the end of the year but by patiently working towards your goals from now, you are more likely to reach them than if you make a rush for the finishing line at the end of the year.

And what of your longer term plans? If you are frustrated because you aren’t in the right job, right house or drive the right car then have some patience, put in place plans to get you to where you want to be, then put those plans into action.

The time for speed will be when your patient, steady, work creates opportunities that you can then grasp with alacrity.

Until next time, be successful!

Stephen Hart

Photo credit - the very talented TJ who’s other stock can be found at http://poorsouls-stock.deviantart.com/
 
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Motivational Monday #35 The Greatest Possession

Motivational Monday #35 The Greatest Possession

“Health is the greatest possession.

Contentment is the greatest treasure.

Confidence is the greatest friend.”

Lao Tzu

Over the weekend I become incapacitated for thirty-six hours with health issues. 

The issues struck on Friday evening when I was driving home. I started to experience a sharp pain in my back every time I took a deep breath which proceeded to grow in intensity. Things then got worse.

After stopping for fuel I found that I couldn’t reach back for my seatbelt when I got back into the car and indeed getting into the car itself was a very painful experience.

Twenty minutes later when I got home I wasn’t able to lift my case out of the car without extreme pain and I struggled to walk up the steps to the house. (I’d like to publically thank my teenage children for helping their ailing dad without prompting!)

My wife is a sports massage therapist so fortunately I was in good hands once I got into the house but even with her help I was totally incapacitated from Friday evening through to mid Sunday and in considerable pain in the meantime.

The weekend plans, both unpleasant, DIY and pleasant, time with the family – were completely put on hold. Bits of Edenchanges work (e.g. blogging) that had also been planned had to be left as well. Fortunately I had no clients at the weekend although I did need to recover enough to get to Manchester on Sunday night for a contract on Monday.

In my more lucid moments, around the muscle spasms, I had the chance to consider how lucky I am normally. My health is generally excellent (in nearly four years of running Edenchanges I’ve only had to postpone one business appearance) and I have no ongoing health issues.

And that prompted my thoughts about today’s Motivational Monday blog and the search for a suitable quote. You see having good health has made me take it for granted. I assume that in the future I will be able to perform the actions I plan to do in the future when that future point arrives.

Which of course means that I can put of until later whatever I want because I rely on an ‘expectation of ability’, i.e. of being able to enact those planned actions.

Now if I changed that perspective. If instead of assuming I can lay out my plans in neat sections over the course of the future days, weeks and months I change my thinking to

“Better do it sooner because you never know what might happen.”

how much more would I get done? 

And that’s the question I want to leave with you today.

If you accept the truth that you can’t know that you will be in the same health or mental condition new week, next month or next year what would you do today (or in the very near future) that you would normally have delayed?

And possibly consider –  is there something that you could do now, tomorrow (and on an ongoing basis) that would help better ensure your future health? 

I leave you to ponder whilst I go and gingerly walk to my next client appointment!

Before I go I realise I have only referenced the first line of Lao Tzu’s quote. I very much like the quote and I will return to the second and third lines of it on future Motivational Monday’s.

Until next time, stay healthy!

Stephen Hart

Sports Therapy - my wife’s details are as follows if anyone in the York or Selby area needs any professional sports therapy or massage treatment
 
 
 
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Motivational Monday #34 Better than Yourself

Motivational Monday #34 Better than Yourself

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” 

William Faulkner

The weather has turned a little colder, the wind a little sharper and the rain a little more present. All in all it’s fair to say that summer has now slipped away and we are in the Autumn of 2012.

With the advent of Autumn it can be easy to think of the year being over and pine for the sunnier days. The colder weather makes it harder to be motivated and stay focused on our goals.

Or at least that’s one way to look at it.

Personally I love the change in the seasons. As the seasons shift one into the next it reminds me that all life is change, all things naturally have a time and that new experiences are always ahead of us.

Whatever we have achieved this year so far is simply the foundation for the rest of the year.

If you have experienced personal, or business challenges, in spring and summer this year then it might be that the culmination of your hard work will be achieved in autumn.

And if not then autumn is the chance to get things back on track. Learn from your challenges, mistakes and errors earlier in the year and then wipe the slate clean and start afresh right now.

William Faulkner sets a powerful challenge for us – “try to be better than yourself”. Given the time of year, I think that prompts the question for all of us:

“In what way can we, in Autumn, out-perform our earlier 2012 achievements?”

Until next time;

Stephen Hart

Photo credits on the picture above:
Model Jason Aaron Baca Website http://jasonaaronbaca.deviantart.com/
Photographer Portia Shao Website http://www.positivevista.com/Welcome.html
Used with thanks.

Two free wallpapers – the headline picture can be clicked on to expand it then downloaded for a computer wallpaper and as we at Edenchanges like to provide choices that make everyone happy here is a different wallpaper with the same quote – again click on it will enlarge it and then it can be downloaded. Enjoy!

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Motivational Monday #33 When You Arise

Motivational Monday #33 When You Arise

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive; to think, to enjoy and to love.”
Marcus Aurelius

We all know how precious time is and how privileged we are to have so many choices every day yet, ironically, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. 

It’s one of those invisible facts that floats around in the shadows and only really comes out into the light when something big happens.

Which is exactly what happened to me last week … in the space of twenty four hours, I learnt about one birthday celebration, one suicide, one death and one anniversary.

All that news in such a short time really got me thinking!

And don’t worry I’m not going to get maudlin about the fact that time passes I simply think that we should notice and use it more thoughtfully.

For example all great achievements occur over a long period of time. The recent Olympic wins were, for every single medal winner, the result of years of practice, work and dedication. If you want to be brilliant at something, or achieve something significant then it makes sense to plan for years of activity rather than days.

And that means if you want to achieve that goal at a certain age then you might have to start a lot younger or sooner than you were expecting to.

And let’s take a look at where we are right now in this year – as I write this its mid-September 2012. So nine months into 2012 or to look at it in a different way, three-quarters of the way through 2012.

So are you three-quarters of the way to your goals for 2012?

It’s a potentially very powerful question.

I know, from personal experience, that days flow into weeks which pass smoothly and unconsciously into months and now I’ve started to think about the date and where we are in 2012 I will be taking some time out considering if my plans have kept up with the flow of time!

And if you are joining me in this contemplation then may I suggest we also send our thoughts forward into the week ahead - looking backwards, whilst powerful, should only be the start after all.

As a starter here are three questions that might stir up some interesting questions:

  1. What could you do this week to further your relationships – with family, friends and/or colleagues
  2. What could you do this week to improve your health?
  3. What one change could you make that would make your days more enjoyable and happier?

I’m confident that if you stop a moment and consider where you are at this point in the year and then consider your steps forward from this point you will unlock some powerful answers and truths.

When you have those answers and truths I believe you will be able to go forward more strongly and make your time work more profitably for you.

Until next time;

Stephen Hart

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A Bold New You

A Bold New You

A personal development article

Normally I write these blogs in one sitting. Sometimes I sketch them out in a notebook first but the typing is done in one run through and tends to flow.

For some reason this one isn’t flowing. I know what to say but not how to say it. This is the eighth attempt so far. So I think I’ll listen to the advice I give to people on my communication training courses – when you are struggling to say something, take a moment and think to yourself, in your normal words what it is you want to say and then just say it, or write it out, in those same normal words:

So here’s the thing -

You’ll live a richer, happier life if you go out and push the boundaries of what you think you are capable of. And you’ll be a much more contented person for doing it. There’s a wonderfully satisfied feeling waiting for the person who tries something they are scared of and keeps trying until they succeed. It’s not about pride, ego or even the banishment of fear. It feels more like satisfaction. Satisfaction based on the simple pleasure of experiencing new things that were not experienced before because they were behind a self imposed limit. 

Let me tell a personal story to illustrate my recent experience of the above

About two months ago I got back into a swimming pool for the first time in almost twenty years. After a near panic attack and quite a lot of hyperventilating I spent the next two hours floundering around in the shallow end. Children younger than my youngest child were happily zooming past me like dolphins. But at the end of the session I had managed eight crossings of the pool – side to side. Twenty years ago I had managed about the same at the ‘height’ of my swimming powers but a real fear of the water had always stopped me doing more. And resulted in avoiding swimming for twenty years.

On the second visit I again had near panic and considerable hyperventilation when I first got into the pool but that time by the end of the session I had swam into the deep end from the midway point and made it to the end. (Which was good because it’s deeper than my head at the deep end so if I hadn’t made it I was going to be in trouble!)

On the third I managed a length and experienced only mild anxiety when I got into the pool.

On the fifth visit I found myself laughing ridiculously as I experienced, for the first time in my life, pleasure in entering a swimming pool.

Since then in more recent visits I’ve gone down the ceiling to pool slide, dived (sort of) into the pool and had a truly pleasant few hours when I took my youngest son swimming and we spent two hours racing each other back and forth across the pool whilst pretending to be superheroes. (And yes he won most of those races!)

So what’s my point in sharing this story? Nothing beyond illustrating my personal experience of being bolder in life. I deliberately intended on every visit to the swimming pool to do something new. I was going to make it work, get through my fear and be able to join my wife and children in the pool. An activity I’ve never been able to join them with before.

So I had my motivation and I made my choice. A series of choices really. What I never expected was the feeling of satisfaction and well being I have gained from being a little bolder in my choices. Staying at home and not going swimming was an easy choice but a weak one and I’d been making it for years.

So let me turn to you – is there  anything you don’t do because of fear or hesitation? Any sport, activity or hobby that you feel you aren’t up to doing because of some self imposed limit? If there is then I can assure you that it is possible to get through that fear and to enjoy that activity. The path through is to make a series of bold choices.

Chose to do what you fear. Chose to accept your fear. Chose to act directly in the opposite direction that your fear would have you go and finally chose to keep pushing through the fear until it shrinks and disappears.

Make those choices boldly and your life will never be the same.

 Until next time; be bold!

Stephen Hart

 PS Yes I know I have a picture of someone bungee jumping and then tell a story about swimming but a swimming pool shot wouldn’t have had quite the right visual impact! Also it’s a true story and the other truth is I’ve never been bungee jumping – if I ever do I promise to blog about it!

 Consulting and Training

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Three tips on how to be bolder in the boardroom

Three Tips on How to be Bolder in the Boardroom

Managers need to manage those people who report to them but they also need to be able to manager their peers. One of the main times can be in the boardroom. Having the ability to speak up and speak out in the company of a group of your equally senior managers is a very powerful business skill.

So let’s look at three ways to do this

Don’t speak to be popular, speak to be heard

A lot of self editing happens in boardrooms, I know I’ve done it plenty of times. People have thoughts and then consider and weigh up how popular or well received what they are going to say will be. Very often this leads them to the safer decision to not say anything. And whilst there is a time and a place to not say anything for the most part speaking up in the boardroom is better than subjugated silence.

A better way to judge whether to speak or not is to consider the quality and relevance of what you were thinking of saying. Three quick questions to ask yourself might be:

Is now the time to say it?

Is this a constructive comment to make?

Does this further the goals of the meeting?

Ensure things are accurate

I’m a great believer in taking notes in meetings and if someone contradicts themselves or changes the numbers they are stating then I think they should be called on that and the record set straight. It’s a lot easier to do that when you can refer back to your notes.

One of the least confrontational ways of doing it is to express a level of confusion and/or surprise and then quote from your notes and ask for clarification on which stats are accurate for the purpose of ”clarity and accuracy”.  Make sure your tone matches your words – a sarcastic tone is not going to help here!

Acknowledge other people’s experience and knowledge

You don’t always have to be the one speaking to make an impact. A very practical step you can take is to ask someone else to share their opinion based on their experience and knowledge.

“Bob, what’s your view on this from an IT perspective?”

You might ask of the IT Manager in the room; or

“Bob, you have several years experience in dealing with system changes; what’s your take on the proposal?”

There is a subtle difference between asking them for “an answer” vs a “view/opinion/take on” the situation. One puts more pressure on them than the other so be careful how you invite them to contribute to the discussion.

Also this is not a ploy to catch people out but rather a way of speaking up through another individual. Additionally it is a bold way to energise the conversation and bring other people into the discussion. Too often discussions in boardrooms become personal battles between a few people out of the group gathered.

The more voices the less likely things will get bogged down and made personal by two individuals who don’t like each other.

In Summary

I trust those three tips will assist you in your next board meeting. Yes be tactful and diplomatic but do it boldly!

Until next time;

Stephen Hart

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Three Bold Steps Anyone In Sales Can Take

Three Bold Steps Anyone In Sales Can Take

The fact of the matter is that many people find sales scary. Some people find it so scary they never enter the profession whilst others take on the role but then let their fear limit their actions.

Not everyone is aware of their fear, or willing to admit it, but it’s something I see in a lot of sales people across many industries. It can manifest itself in lots of ways – from a hesitation to call a certain person or company down to too readily accepting objections on the phone.

In whatever way the fears manifest themselves they cost the sales people billings and commission.

So with the theme of this week being ‘boldness’ let’s look at three bold steps that anyone in sales can take. By taking any of these steps you will, regardless of your own personal hesitations, be a step (three in fact) closer to overcoming your sales fears.

(And if you currently are a bold sales person who knows no fear then check through these three steps to make sure you are maximising your sales potential!)

Bigger Prospects

Whatever your industry and whatever you sell I bet there are bigger companies out there that you could sell to. It’s typical for smaller, easier looking, companies to be targeted by sales people. So how about this – identify the top 200 companies, by size or turnover (depending on which is most appropriate for you) and draw up a plan to contact all of them.

Even if you have made a commercial decision to sell up to a certain size of organisation within your industry make sure that you are going after the prime prospects – at the top of the bracket you have decided upon.

The normal reaction is shy away from these companies due to their size. Be bold and approach them in the same way you would your normal prospects.  

Bigger Titles

Manager –  Director – Managing Director – Group Managing Director – Global … you get the idea

There is probably an ideal level of decision maker that you should be presenting your products to. Many sales people typically approach individuals within the prospect company at a level under that ideal level because they are less daunted by the lower title. There are many problems with this, not least of which is that you then spend your time having conversations with people without the power to make decisions. 

So be bold. Identify your ideal level of decision maker and call that level of person.

Bigger Recommendations

Sales people are plagued by the fear of loss, particularly in the later stages of a consultative sales pitch. When the signs of a deal start to emerge too many sales people pitch low and win less than they could have won if they had been bolder with their recommendations. 

When a prospect is interested in what you are selling it is hard to destroy that interest by offering too much. So be bold enough to present complimentary services or offer your top of the line package. You can always work back from that if it is to much for your client. 

CONCLUSION

On Monday I discussed the quote “Fortune Favours the Bold” – and in sales it certainly does. Be bold to go after bigger companies, more senior decision makers and bigger deals and I guarantee you will have greater successes!

Until next time; sell boldly!

Stephen Hart

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Motivational Monday #15 Audentes Fortuna Iuvat

Motivational Monday #15 Audentes Fortuna Iuvat

Fortune Favours the Bold

Virgil

In the last motivational monday I talked about how a strong person can create their own future. This week’s quote for me points to how they create the future they want; they do it boldly.

A timid defensive approach to life might keep you safe but will it make you rich? Will it make you successful in that way that you want to be successful?

How many inventions or ideas were born out of hesitation and temerity? I can’t imagine very many at all. On the other hand, having the courage to first dream of a better life and then step forward with bold eagerness to create that future; now that approach I can see producing things.

And yes some of the things that a bold, forward moving attitude will create are failures. After all it’s hard to run a marathon without stumbling once or twice but that’s okay for surely better to strive and fall once in a while than to sit still and let life pass you by?

You will find that the more you go out and do, whether in your personal or business life, the more life will present to you. Whilst some of those new things might challenge you, some will reward you and it’s been my experience that the more boldly you march out of your door the more the rewards outweigh the challenges. 

So let me throw out a question, something to ponder and then, perhaps if you are so inclined, act upon –

In what way can you be bold today?

Until next time;

Stephen Hart

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Motivational Monday #14 A Strong Person

Motivational Monday #14 A Strong Person

A strong person doesn’t need to read the future, they make their own.
Solid Snake

So last week the gloomy news broke that the British economy had slipped into another recession. Or enter the second phase of the first one depending on your view.It was disappointing news I have to admit…but I think we need to just shake it off and carry on. There is a real danger in waiting for the good news to come.

Firstly in every recession that the world has seen there have been millionaires created. Right now there are hundreds of companies in the UK  who are doing well, expanding and building a better future. There is business being done…quite a lot of it in fact!

And secondly I don’t know when the economic figures are going to be good again and quite frankly neither does anyone else. And I’m too busy ensuring that my future is going to be what I want it to be to wait around for news about other people’s success.

The world is not going to, and nor was it ever going to, casually give you, me or anyone we knew a future full of easy living and riches. It’s always been for us to work hard and create that future.

Maybe we all lost sight of that in the boom years but it should be a comforting thought. Instead of waiting for the good news lets go forth and create our own future!

Until next time

Stephen Hart

PS And yes the quote came from a character in a computer game – but that doesn’t reduce the wisdom in the message!

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Motivational Monday #10 A conversation with the finest individuals

A conversation with the finest individuals…

“The read of good books is like a conversation with the finest individuals of the past.”

Descartes

There are so many great quotes about learning and reading that I struggled to pick a single favourite. For myself reading has always been one of my biggest hobbies and its the only hobby that I’ve been totally consistent with – I can’t remember a time I wasn’t reading!

Nowadays I read a lot of material for work purposes. Whilst I’m experienced in the fields I train in there are far greater minds than I out there and some of them have written great books! I take the view that the moment I assume I know everything is the moment I cease to learn. And I will never cease to learn!

So I happily and regularly read books and other literature on marketing, sales, recruitment, management, social media and all the other areas I get involved in.

There have been, and there are, brilliant people in the world and by reading their work I get to share their considered thoughts and experiences. I believe as a result I can fast track my career and personal life. So for you reading this now I would say today is a great time to either continue that journey (if you are reading books in your field currently) or a great place start it. 

Personally I’m a great fan of the library for two reasons a) it’s free (that has to be a good thing right!) and b) many of these books will only contain one or two ideas that you will want to take and use. Being able to borrow as many as you like and just pull out a few pertinent facts is very effective. Also there is nothing stopping you subsequently buying a particularly book if you find it really useful. The library is a plan with no draw backs in my book!

The theme of the blogs this week is learning – and to that end I will cover the following topics this week:

  •  Tuesday – A step by step guide to sharing your own material via your LinkedIn profile
  • Wednesday – Three sales tips I learnt from books
  • Thursday – A management exercise (with management books)
  • Friday  - Some personal development authors reviewed
I’d like to end with two more book related quotes

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”

Confucius

“It is better to read a little and ponder a lot than to read a lot and ponder a little.”

Denis Parsons Burkitt

Until next time; happy reading!
Stephen Hart
Photo curtesy of the talented Karolina – more of her work here