Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Gentle Art of Saying No

Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  • Value your time - Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

  • Know your priorities - Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

  • Practice saying no - Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

  • Don’t apologize - A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

  • Stop being nice - Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

  • Say no to your boss - Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

  • Pre-empting - It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

  • Get back to you - Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.

  • Maybe later - If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

  • It’s not you, it’s me - This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

He who hesitates is lost.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Becoming an Active Listener

Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.
  • We listen to obtain information.
  • We listen to understand.
  • We listen for enjoyment.
  • We listen to learn.

Clearly, listening is a skill that we can all benefit from improving. By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade negotiate. What’s more, you’ll avoid conflict and misunderstandings – all necessary for workplace success.

There are five key elements of active listening. They all help you ensure that you hear the other person, and that the other person knows you are hearing what they are saying.

  • Pay attention - Give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message. Recognize that what is not said also speaks loudly. Look at the speaker directly. Put aside distracting thoughts. Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal! Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. “Listen” to the speaker’s body language. Refrain from side conversations when listening in a group setting.

  • Show that you are listening - Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention. Nod occasionally. Smile and use other facial expressions. Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting. Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh.

  • Provide feedback - Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions. Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is…” and “Sounds like you are saying…” are great ways to reflect back. Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say…” “Is this what you mean?” Summarize the speaker’s comments periodically.

  • Defer judgment - Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message. Allow the speaker to finish. Don’t interrupt with counterarguments.

  • Respond Appropriately - Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down. Be candid, open, and honest in your response. Assert your opinions respectfully. Treat the other person as he or she would want to be treated.

Good communication skills require a high level of self-awareness. By understanding your personal style of communicating, you will go a long way towards creating good and lasting impressions with others.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

5 Little Known Success Tips

Success is far too often thought of as impossible. The fact is that no matter how far we get in our path to success we always end up further than where we started. Don't wait to better your life. Take these next 5 tips and begin your journey towards your very own success.

  • Decide What You Want
    You are not getting anywhere without goals. The important part of putting yourself together for success is figuring out where you are going as opposed to flailing around and letting your resources get away from you. Do some goal setting, both in terms of large goals that are made for a lifetime and small goals that will get you where you there.

  • Who Are You?
    When you want to be a success, you will find that there are definitely going to be naysayers along the way. What might hurt the most is that these are people who we trust and who we love. Perhaps we love them unwisely, or maybe they just want to protect us, but when other people try to define us, they are not doing us any favors! Listen to your own instincts and make sure that you are in a place where you can trust yourself.

  • Know That You Are In Control
    It is far too easy to point to places where other people have failed us or where we would have succeeded if only something hadn't stopped us. The problem is that no matter what has happened in the past, you need to face up to it and overcome it. Take responsibility for the good and the bad in your life and see what you can do to overcome and to take control. This may be one of the most important steps for being a success.

  • Be Compassionate
    When you are in a place where you are dealing with others, it is important to be compassionate. Not only could many people out there use some compassion, you will find that it does you good as well. It makes you more welcoming and more understanding, and it will teach you to let go of anger and to make sure that you can start your life over when you need to. Compassion can be a difficult thing to learn but it is also very important that you try.

  • Always Be You
    Get to know yourself and recognize that there are things that you cannot change about yourself. Consider what makes you you and how you feel about it. Chances are, there is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with you. If you feel ashamed of something or afraid of something inside of you, think about it carefully and really consider what that shame means. You may learn some new things that will let you live with yourself much more easily!

Only as high as I reach can I grow,

Only as far as I seek can I go,

Only as deep as I look can I see,

Only as much as I dream can I be.

-----Karen Ravn

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Learning to Deal With Difficult People

If you have to work with difficult people every day, you probably dread going to work each morning. What's more, you might get so stressed that you can't concentrate on the job.
Have you ever wondered why some people are difficult to work with?
“Individuals behave in a difficult manner because they have learned that doing so keeps others off balance and incapable of effective action. Worst of all, they appear immune to all the usual methods of communication and persuasion designed to convince or help them change their ways,” says Robert M. Bramson, Ph.D., author of coping With Difficult People.

The following strategies will help you cope with such people;

How to Cope
Avoid these “don'ts” when dealing with difficult people:
  • Don't take difficult people's behavior personally. Their troublesome behavior is habitual and affects most people with whom they come in contact.

  • Don't fight back or try to beat them at their own games. They have been practicing their skills for a lifetime, and you're an amateur.

  • Don't try to appease them. Difficult people have an insatiable appetite for more.

  • Don't try to change them. You can only change your responses to their behavior.

Here's how you can cope effectively with four common types of difficult people.

  • Openly Aggressive People
    Stand up to them, but don't fight. Overly aggressive people expect others to either run away from them or react with rage. Your goal is simply to assertively express your own views, not try to win a battle of right and wrong.
    First, wait for the person to run out of some steam. Then call the person by name and assert your own opinions with confidence.

  • Snipers
    Difficult people are experts at taking potshots and making sneak attacks in subtle ways, such as humorous put-downs, sarcastic tones of voice, disapproving looks and innuendoes.
    You may feel uncomfortable replying to them because you don't like confrontation. This, however, allows snipers to get away with their covert hostility.
    Respond to a sniper with a question. “That sounds like you're making fun of me. Are you?” A sniper usually replies to such accusations with denial, “I'm only joking.”
    Nevertheless, questioning covert attacks will reduce the chance for similar attacks in the future.

  • Complainers
    These are fearful people who have little faith in themselves and others because they believe in a hostile world. Their constant discouragement and complaining can bring everyone to despair.
    “Don't try to argue these difficult people out of their negativity. Instead, respond with your own optimistic expectations,” says Bramson.

  • Silent People
    People who ignore you, give you sullen looks, and/or respond to every question with either “I don't know” or silence are difficult because they're timid. Silent people get away with not talking because most people are uncomfortable with silence and are too quick to fill in the gaps. Ask them questions that can't be answered with just a “yes” or “no,” such as, “Why is it uncomfortable for you to answer my questions?”
    Then wait at least one full minute before you say anything. This long silence may make them uncomfortable enough to say something. If they do start talking, listen carefully.

  • Don't Give Up
    Dealing with difficult people takes practice, so don't get discouraged.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Difficult people can make your work day less enjoyable. With the right strategies, you can learn to deal with them effectively.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I dare to dream

I dare to dream,
For my dreams tell me..
I have yet to prove myself,
I have so much to see!

I dare to dream,
For I care a damn..
These pains and the agonies,
Are too small than what I am!

I dare to dream,
To go beyond, achieve and share…
The wealth and the beauty of this world,
To give it to those for whom I care!

I dare to dream,
For I am meant for big things…
The promise of a great future,
The glory of liberation and also the sweet nothings!

I dare to dream,
For I know no fear!
Yes, I dare to dream,
For I am what I am….

Facing Life After a Failure

How to look at things in a different perspective.

The best way to overcome the guilt about past failures is none other than to start with the basic step of acceptance. When you finally learn to accept and let go of the things beyond your control that is the time you are learning to forgive yourself. I know. I know. We can never rush things to sail smoothly like before. But, we all have to move on. Life is made up of series of unexpected events whether we like it or not. However, without asking too much I encourage you to consider the points below.
  • Know your limits. Failure is not an option. Whether you realize it or not, you still have the power to choose the right decision in reducing your chances to make another mistake or failure. For you to attain these you have to set modest goals for yourself at the same time you are aware of your own limitations. But, there is nothing wrong in challenging yourself to discover and cultivate your abilities. There's always a big room for improvements. Who knows? Even if you are not that good at basketball or can't even sing a note just remember this super philosophy "Everyone's an expert on something!"

  • Don't compare yourself. Sometimes, we tend to overlook other people's success into our own. We don't realize that it only torments our so-called egos to the point where we lose the passion and confidence to the things we are capable to do. We are created equal but shares different strengths and abilities. Galatians 6:4 encourage us to: "Let each one prove what his own work is, and then he will have cause for exultation in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person."

  • Don't let high expectation of other's affect you. These expectations are highly imposed by our immediate family members, friends, teachers, co-workers, collegues, husband, wife and others. Sometimes, it becomes either our advantage or disadvantage on our growth as a person to uphold our certain capabilities. As an end result, others try too much just to please people. To put it bluntly, people-pleasers are the worst kind of sugar-coated mentality ever exist in our society today. If be yourself is overrated. Let your true color shine through.

  • Be realistic. You must be man enough in facing your biggest mistakes and its consequences. Instead of blaming yourself forever for becoming a total failure. You have to sort things out on what went wrong and do better next time as simple as that. Remember your failures and mistakes doesn't define and make you a lesser person.

  • Avoid taking yourself too seriously. Sometimes, you have to find a sense of humor in simple things up to complex despite all the chaos. Life is boring without something to laugh about at the end of the day. So what if people laugh at you? You have to might as well laugh with them not at your mistakes but the thought of having someone out there to laugh with is the most rewarding thing.

  • Be "Rich in Fine Works". Brighten up a person's day by sharing positive thoughts. Give a little love and all comes back to you. Don't you just sit out there, sometimes you have to be the one to get involve, explore all the possibilities that life has to offer. Just go and have a life!

  • Seize the day. We have to learn how to live life as if it is our last because it is the only way we can appreciate how marvelous the gift of life. As well as counting our everyday blessings literally.

  • Be a blessing to others. No matter how well or bad they treated you be nice and open anyway. Sooner, they will come to realize it in return.

"There are always challenges at every stage in our life, overcoming them is what life is all about".

Monday, May 25, 2009

Business leadership skills: evaluating your leadership strengths and weaknesses

The key to effective business leadership is self-assessment. Evaluating your strengths and weaknesses gives you valuable information to build a business that works for you.
If you are having trouble coming up with strengths or weaknesses try the following :
  • Ask a trusted friend or family member for some observations.

  • Review past employee evaluations you have received.

  • Administer on yourself the same evaluation you provide for employees.

  • Detail past successes and list the qualities you employed in those efforts.

  • Detail past failures and review what skills you could have used for a more successful outcome.

  • Put your list aside for a day or two.

  • If you are asked to offer consultations, lectures or papers, is there a topic or content pattern?

  • Ask for feedback from employees.

  • List the personal qualities of leaders that you admire – which match your own? Which do you aspire to?

  • Review leading journals/articles in your area – what gaps come to mind?

  • Look for patterns in your work performance (for example, which tasks do you dread or avoid regularly).

  • Write a detailed job description for a leader in your industry (or review the one you already have). Assess your comfort level or skill in each task area on a scale from one to five.
You will not score perfect fives in every area, nor should you expect to. The idea isn’t to know it all, but to be a more effective leader by:
  • Identifying, emphasizing and building on strengths.

  • Identifying, building up and/or working around weaknesses.

  • Creating a work environment that highlights your strengths.

  • Creating a team that complements your assets.

  • Developing a professional development learning plan.
There may be some tasks or responsibilities that you are more comfortable farming out or delegating. That’s perfectly okay. You will have more productive and satisfied employees if you are confident enough to let go and let them run with the tasks that emphasize their strengths.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ten Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

Here are 10 ways to increase your verbal efficacy at work:

  • Develop your voice – A high whiney voice is not perceived to be one of authority. In fact, a high soft voice can make you sound like prey to an aggressive co-worker who is out to make his/her career at the expense of anyone else. Begin doing exercises to lower the pitch of your voice. Here is one to start: Sing — but do it an octave lower on all your favorite songs. Practice this and, after a period of time, your voice will begin to lower.

  • Slow down – People will perceive you as nervous and unsure of yourself if you talk fast. However, be careful not to slow down to the point where people begin to finish your sentences just to help you finish.

  • Animate your voice – Avoid a monotone. Use dynamics. Your pitch should raise and lower. Your volume should be soft and loud. Listen to your local TV news anchor; take notes.

  • Enunciate your words – Speak clearly. Don’t mumble. If people are always saying, “huh,” to you, you are mumbling.

  • Use appropriate volume – Use a volume that is appropriate for the setting. Speak more softly when you are alone and close. Speak louder when you are speaking to larger groups or across larger spaces.

  • Pronounce your words correctly – People will judge your competency through your vocabulary. If you aren’t sure how to say a word, don’t use it.

  • Use the right words – If you’re not sure of the meaning of a word, don’t use it. Start a program of learning a new word a day. Use it sometime in your conversations during the day.

  • Make eye contact – I know a person who is very competent in her job. However, when she speaks to individuals or groups, she does so with her eyes shut. When she opens them periodically, she stares off in a direction away from the listener. She is perceived as incompetent by those with whom she consults. One technique to help with this is to consciously look into one of the listener’s eyes and then move to the other. Going back and forth between the two (and I hope they only have two) makes your eyes appear to sparkle. Another trick is to imagine a letter “T” on the listener’s face with the cross bar being an imaginary line across the eye brows and the vertical line coming down the center of the nose. Keep your eyes scanning that “T” zone.

  • Use gestures – Make your whole body talk. Use smaller gestures for individuals and small groups. The gestures should get larger as the group that one is addressing increases in size.

  • Don’t send mixed messages – Make your words, gestures, facial expressions, tone, and message match. Disciplining an employee while smiling sends a mixed message and, therefore, is ineffective. If you have to deliver a negative message, make your words, facial expressions, and tone match the message.

Improving your communication skills will improve your productivity.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

9 Mistakes That Can Kill Your Personal Growth

  • Thinking you already know everything - This one is a big problem and can halt growth for a very long time. It´s the mindset that says: “I know how the world works." This attitude and close-mindedness will make it very difficult for you to grow.

  • Being confused by the marketing hype - The mindset in the first example isn’t totally of the mark. Though some marketing techniques may seem overly optimistic or kinda aggressive doesn't mean that the products are without value. Don´t confuse the sales techniques with the products.

  • Not taking action - Thinking that reading a book or blog will automatically transform you and your life. But knowledge without action on your part is not that very transforming. And only you can change yourself. Others can only give a bit of advice, support and motivation. But in the end, you have to take the steps in real life.

  • Giving up - At the first or third failure thinking “It´s no meaning. I am who I am and that can´t change. I just have to get used to that thought.” Don´t give up. One or five or 20 failures ain´t that big of a deal in the long run. You have to fail to get good at something and to grow.

  • Worrying about/listening to what others think - You might fear that people will react in badly to your change. And they might actually do that.
    Perhaps they do not want you to change because then they fear drifting apart and losing you forever. Or they might not want to see you improve as that will make them feel like they are standing still in life. Or give you unhelpful heap of negative thoughts on personal development and that it´s all just common sense, a waste of time and that in real life it doesn´t work like in the books.

  • Dabbling with it - Dabbling with your personal development and personal growth material on and off. Not committing to studying/action and developing it consistently as a part of your life.
    Perhaps you feel it´s just too hard. Or just not worth it. And therefore not commit to it. Keys to success with anything in life are consistency and patience. Commit to your personal growth.

  • Having unreasonable expectations - This stems from a lack of information. Sometimes both in quality and quantity. When you get you first start you may think that just reading one book will solve all your problems. Not having a reasonable picture of what you can expect will make you feel disappointed and like a failure for no good reason. This can quickly lead to giving up.
    To get good results, you need to know things like: you will be enthusiastic in the beginning – as with anything new and exciting - but that enthusiasm will probably dissipate. One motivating method I use to get out of that low emotional state is to develop an on-going habit of consuming development material, whether it is in the form of a books, blogs, audiotapes or dvds. I´m building my own small library and filling it with solid and practical advice on personal growth.
    Revisiting to a tape by Brian Tracy not only gets me motivated again but often presents me with ways to solve the problem at hand too. This habit - combined with action - will over time bring clarity to what you want, which methods that work best for you and the possibilities and limitations in your own personal growth.

  • Failing to/not wanting to (at least start to) understand yourself - To change yourself you have to learn about the processes inside yourself. How your emotions work. How you ego works. How you past experiences and habits can affect you. And what you can do about all of that. How you can help yourself. Even when parts of you are working against what you really want.

  • Not taking responsibility for yourself - This is absolutely essential. Don´t blame anyone else. It’s up to you to change.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

5 life-changing keys to overcoming your fear

Following are the 5 useful ways to overcome your fear;

1. Taking small steps

This is good for fear that can seem overwhelming at first. For instance the strong feeling – it can almost feel like a flight or fight-response – just before doing public speaking or asking someone out for a date. If you are for instance nervous socially you might not feel able to ask people out on dates right away. The fear of being rejected and that others might think less of you if you get turned down can make many of us feel unable to ask the question.
A solution is to take small steps instead. Steps like first just saying hi to people. Or starting to talk more to people online via forums and Instant Messaging. And then trying to be more involved in conversations to exercise your conversation-muscles. I guess one could say that you gradually de-sensitize yourself to social situations or whatever you are afraid of. Or, seeing it in a more motivating way, building courage and expanding your comfort zone in this part of your life
So, identify your fear. Then make a plan with some smaller steps you can take to gradually lessen your discomfort.
2. Getting some concrete, positive motivation
Getting to the stage where you really feel that you need to stop waiting – or need stop reading one personal development book after another – and take action can take some time. One way to get moving is to replace some of your negative thoughts – that creates negative feelings – with clear, positive reasons to get going.
Take 5 minutes. Take out a pice of paper and a pen. And write down all the wonderful ways you can come up with how making this change will improve your life.
Lack of motivation can get you stuck while contemplating how much your life sucks. If you don´t become clear on you motivation it can become hard to get going and knowing why you are actually need to change.
Writing down all the wonderful things you will gain in your life by overcoming this fear can be powerful. Focus on those positive things to get motivated and inspired. Revisit your page of paper when you feel discouraged, uncomfortable or afraid. Even if it loses it´s inspiring effect gradually, it can be the initial trigger to unstick you. The spark to get you started to take those first actions that sends you into an upward-spiral of thought and action.
3. Seeing failure and rejection in a new light
Often it´s easier to not do something because we fear failure and rejection. We may fear failure when starting on a new career-path. And rejection from friends, family and the people around us if we fail. Or we might be afraid of being rejected when asking someone out.
However, the definition of failure we are brought up with in society might not be the best and most useful to have. If you look at the most successful people you quickly notice that they have a different response to failure than the more common one.
They don´t take failure or rejection that seriously. They know it´s not the end of the world if they fail. Instead they look at each failure and see the good part about what they can learn from it and improve next time.
They have an abundance-mentality. They know that if their first business-venture fails it feels like crap for a while but it´s ok in the long run. They learn from it and then they try again.
They know that there are a lot of good people out there. That there are a lot of good business opportunities out there. But they have also learned that to become successful at anything you have to fail perhaps 5, 10, 20 times or more.
The morning of day when you learned to ride a bike you fell of it time and time again. But you just brushed yourself of, perhaps cried for minutes or two and then you got up on the bike again. And towards the afternoon, or the next day, you probably started to become pretty good at riding your bike.
The same applies here. You have work on your skills to sharpen them. See failure or rejection not as something incredible negative that might end your life if it strikes. Redefine it in your mind to lessen the negative emotional impact and the fear. See failure simply as feedback on what you need to improve on. Listen to the advice the failure gives you and you will improve. And success will come.
If you fear what other may think about you if you fail, take a look at Why you should not compare yourself to others for some thoughts on the need for validation from others.
4. Being in the now
What this means is to keep yourself steadily in the now. Not letting your thoughts and emotions run away to the future or the past. That doesn´t mean that you don´t make plans, of course. You might think about asking someone out. You make plans on when to do it or perhaps what to say.
But being in the now means to not getting your mind stuck in a kind of psychological and emotional headspace that is placed in the past or future. It means not dwelling on what has gone wrong before and what could go wrong tonight or tomorrow. Such thinking will only create and ramp up your fear to the point where you feel unable to do anything. And just feel like running away.
Instead, make your plans. Then just be and don´t think about the future. Focus on the now and what needs to be done now. The future will be the now soon enough. And when you arrive there it will be much easier to get things done when you have created a minimal amount of stress and fear within your mind.
Whenever you feel fear, your mind is often dragged into a hypothetical, future scenario where you think you might fail. Your brain is over-analyzing a possible situation, which leads for many of us, to a negative, downward spiral of thoughts. This expands and empowers your fear to the point where you become almost paralyzed. So, how do you beat the fear in such situations?
You stop fighting. You surrender.
How to surrender:
Let me explain. By surrender, I don´t mean that you should give up and go home.
Instead, when you feel fear then accept the feeling. Don´t try to fight it or to keep it out (like many of us have learned throughout life).
Say yes to it.
Surrender and let it in.
Observe the feeling in your mind and body without labelling or judging it. If you let it in – for me the feeling then often seems physically locate itself to the middle of my chest - and just observe it for maybe a minute or two something wonderful happens. The feeling just vanishes.
As you surrender to the fear instead of fighting it the negative energy will pass through you and your body will release it. And you can return to focusing on the now once again.
Focusing on the now not only reduces fear but also increases the chances of you succeeding as your mind is focused, your confidence ain´t shattered and your thoughts become clear. It also makes it easier to succeed because when you are in the now you are not that self-conscious – something that quickly can lead to insecurity - but instead focused on the outside world and people you are interacting with.
5. Redefining you, me and reality
To change yourself and overcoming fear you have to be prepared and willing to redefine yourself.
You have to be willing to try these things out for yourself and keep practising. No one can do it for you. But if you do that you can make what may seem to you to be big progress pretty quickly. And when you get used to it and these things become more and more habitual you will start to do them naturally.
But since it seems that just about everyone is addicted to their own personality, consistent change in behaviour will still probably be kinda slow and gradual.
An addiction to positivity can lessen the fear in your mind of what might happen in a new, unfamiliar situation or how someone might respond to what you are saying. A negative view of the world can create fear and hold you back. But if you, for instance, become more positive – try the Positivity Challenge ! - many of the people you meet will respond in a similar manner. In general, no matter how you think about the world, people are often like somewhat of a mirror for you.
Change will be hard if you deep down still think: I am this shy or negative or scared person. “That´s just who I am”, you tell yourself. “Always have been, always will be”. And will be the truth for you as long as you think it´s the truth. If you are prepared and ready to change, you can however rewrite what you perceive as the truth about yourself and your personality, thoughts, actions and emotions.

"Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” - Karl Augustus Menninger

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Team work and team building essentials

Here are some additional team building ideas, techniques, and tips you can try when managing teams in your situation.

  • Make sure that the team goals are totally clear and completely understood and accepted by each team member.
  • Make sure there is complete clarity in who is responsible for what and avoid overlapping authority. For example, if there is a risk that two team members will be competing for control in certain area, try to divide that area into two distinct parts and give each more complete control in one of those parts, according to those individual's strengths and personal inclinations.
  • Build trust with your team members by spending one-on-one time in an atmosphere of honesty and openness. Be loyal to your employees, if you expect the same.
  • Allow your office team members build trust and openness between each other in team building activities and events. Give them some opportunities of extra social time with each other in an atmosphere that encourages open communication. For example in a group lunch on Friday. Though be careful with those corporate team building activities or events in which socializing competes too much with someone's family time.
  • For issues that rely heavily on the team consensus and commitment, try to involve the whole team in the decision making process. For example, via group goal setting or group sessions with collective discussions of possible decision options or solution ideas. What you want to achieve here is that each team member feels his or her ownership in the final decision, solution, or idea. And the more he or she feels this way, the more likely he or she is to agree with and commit to the decided line of action, the more you build team commitment to the goals and decisions.
  • When managing teams, make sure there are no blocked lines of communications and you and your people are kept fully informed.
  • Even when your team is spread over different locations, you can still maintain effective team communication. Just do your meetings online and slash your travel costs.
  • Be careful with interpersonal issues. Recognize them early and deal with them in full.
  • Don't miss opportunities to empower your employees. Say thank you or show appreciation of an individual team player's work.
  • Don't limit yourself to negative feedback. Be fare. Whenever there is an opportunity, give positive feedback as well.

Finally, though team work and team building can offer many challenges, the pay off from a high performance team is well worth it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Clarity of Purpose and How to Develop It

Clarity of purpose is important for the achievement of success and for making dreams come true. Your dream or goal must be specific and clear and not something vague. While it’s fun to dream about being rich and successful, you have to know and define what you really and truly want to get or achieve. Clarity of purpose is important for any success, for losing weight, getting a new car or travelling abroad. If you don’t know exactly what you want, how can you get it?

When there is clarity of purpose you know what steps to take. With clarity of purpose you focus on the goal, without wasting time or energy. Clarity of purpose is like focusing a strong source of light on your goal, so that you see it clearly.

Developing clarity of purpose
Here are a few tips to help developing clarity of purpose.

- Know what you want.
- Investigate why you want to achieve your goal, and what you will gain by achieving it.
- Be certain that you really want to achieve your goal.
- Read and learn about your goal.
- See pictures about your goal.
- Visualize your goal clearly.
- In your mind, see all the details.
- Be specific as to color, size, quantity, shape, place, etc, of what you want to get or accomplish.
- Learn to focus your mind on your goal.
- Remove clutter from your life.
- Display perseverance and some self discipline in your life.

Friday, May 15, 2009

How to Feel Confident

Step 1 - Reassure yourself of a good outcome.
For instance, you are skeptical about a job interview you have scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. You are not sure if you can manage all of the tasks stated in the online job description. The first thing you should do is reassure yourself that this job may actually be easier than you imagine. Reassurance helps build your confidence.

Step 2 - Listening to motivational speeches is an effective way to gain the confidence that you lack. You can download a motivational speech or watch a program on television. These speakers help you feel confident about your path in life.

Step 3 - Look in the mirror. Have a pep talk with yourself. You may have lost that zeal for learning or the inspiration to create another piece of art, but somewhere deep down inside the confidence resides. It is up to you to take a look at yourself and see what has always been there.

Step 4 - Try to confide in an older, much wiser person. Wisdom comes with age. There are instances where a wise person can help you put your situation into perspective. They can help guide you on a path of empowerment. Listening to a person who speaks wisdom and discernment will help those insecure feelings melt away.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Preventing Perfectionism

Going through life as a perfectionist will always damage your self-esteem and strip you of any warm feelings of self- acceptance you may have for yourself. That's because the impossibly high demands you make of yourself--and the unrealistic expectations you place on others--will invite only disappointment, self-repudiation, and widespread unhappiness.

Prevent Perfectionism
Living your life as a perfectionist will also set you up for continuous rejection and self-putdowns--and deny you peace of mind--because demanding perfection usually results in failure. And even if you achieve an exceptional result, chances are that you'll still be unhappy, as you'll find additional reasons for not being good enough. That's the destructive nature of perfectionism and that's why it destroys self-esteem. Nothing is ever good enough.

Remember, being a perfectionist may paralyze your future chances of success--in either your personal or your professional life--because you'll eventually fear taking any new actions that might produce an imperfect result. Preventing perfectionism begins by saying no to unreasonably high demands that produce only failure and self-contempt. The new way of thinking requires you to choose goals that are easier to achieve and are within the realm of your possibilities. Moderate your expectations--and stop focusing on faults and flaws--and then watch your performance and self-esteem soar.

Briefly describe one situation or part of your life in which you would like to be less perfectionistic. What are some specific ways that you could moderate your goals in that particular situation/area? What consequences might follow from such changes?

Power of Failure
Failure is a teacher and can be the source of much personal growth. Experiencing failure--and learning to judge your own capabilities--demonstrates that you have the strength to accept life's challenges. Never condemn yourself for not succeeding. That's being unfair to yourself. See failure for what it really is: an opportunity to discover that future success lies in another strategy or direction. You will achieve your next goal if you learn from your past mistakes. In this section, describe how and what you have learned from some past "failures".

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." -- Helen Keller

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

5 Selling Tips to Increase Your Sales

Here are 5 selling tips to help you increase your sales. All 5 work for any business. They're effective for both online and traditional offline marketing. And they won't cost you anything to implement.

1. Promote One Thing at a Time
Promote only 1 product or service at a time. It limits your prospect's buying decision to either "yes" or "no". Every "yes" answer produces an immediate sale.

Avoid promotions requiring prospects to make more choices after making the decision to buy. Some won't be able to make a clear choice. They'll avoid the risk of making a wrong choice by making NO choice -- and you lose the sale you already had.

You can develop separate promotions for each product or service you sell. Or you can combine several products and services into one package for one price. But always make your prospective customer's buying decision a simple "yes" or "no". It produces the maximum number of sales.

2. Lead with Your Biggest Benefit
What's the biggest benefit you offer to customers? That benefit is your strongest selling appeal. Use it to attract prospects to your promotional message.

State your biggest benefit in the headline of your ads. Put it in the first sentence of your sales letters. Include it in a title at the top of your web page. Use it as the opening of your audio or audio-video promotions. Leading immediately with your biggest benefit captures your prospect's attention and provides a compelling reason to continue reading or listening to your message.

3. Personalize Your Approach

More people will buy from you when they feel you are talking directly to them about their individual needs. Develop customized versions of your sales message to cater to the specific interests of prospects in each market you target. Use the language and style of prospects in each market to communicate your message to them.

It's easy to use different versions of your sales message when you control who gets it. But how can you personalize your web site to appeal to prospects in one market without losing your appeal to other prospects visiting your site?

One way is to create special web pages for prospects in each market you target. Customize the content of each to appeal to prospects in that group. Then add a link to each of these special pages on your home page.

4. Provide Specifics
Marketers often describe their product or service with words like, "It's fast, easy and inexpensive". But a specific description of how fast, how easy and how inexpensive will generate more sales.

For example, a general statement like, "Our clients get more sales", is dull. It won't produce sales. Replace it with a specific statement like, "Most of our new clients enjoy at least a 17 percent sales increase in the first month". This statement creates excitement. It motivates prospects to sign up now so they can start enjoying that 17 percent increase in THEIR sales.

5. Dramatize Feelings
Customers usually buy on impulse, not logic. They base their buying decision on how they feel about your product or service. Get them excited about using your product or service and you'll increase your sales.

Revise your ads, sales letters and web pages to dramatize the emotional rewards your customer will experience when using your product or service. Use vivid word pictures to help them imagine themselves already enjoying those benefits. For example, a financial planner could describe what it feels like to enjoy an affluent lifestyle without debt.

Each of these 5 selling tips will help you increase your sales. They produce immediate results. And they won't cost you anything to implement.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Importance of prioritizing and delegating work

Advice on importance of prioritizing and delegating work

Acute lack of time is a fairly typical obstacle practically everyone faces today. Read on for a few specific ideas and tips you can carry out to increase your expertise in time management. Work With these useful tips and notice your effectiveness grow. Before the end of each day jot down a checklist of things to do for the next day. This is a common characteristic many wealthy executives demonstrate.

It is a neat idea to write up your lists on paper, because you can carry the paper with you. Many entrepreneurs favor creating their lists on their pcs using specially designed programs or On devices like Personal Digital Assistants. Order the list according to importance. Else it might not be as productive for you. Grade the work into three groups by priority. Start by addressing the most impactful assignments for the present time.

Arrange your desk and work area. Trying to dig out seemingly vanished things is wasted time and effort. No doubt it is critical to get the workplace well organized. This will give you plenty of time in which to get the results you want.

Cut Out interruptions and distractions. Try to get at least some space for uninterrupted work each workday. Perchance it may mean moving to a separate area on occasion. Plan as necessary to carry this out.

Learn to say no politely. Trying to tackle too many things at once can be a huge problem. If you are overburdened say so. A balanced life is a productive life. Ensure that the foundational things in your life are not being forfeited for the benefit of career. That includes time for your family and time for yourself. This is essential for productivity. Work keeping yourself calm and composed.

Don’t waste time on obsession with worry. Even when your to do list is overwhelming work systematically.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Decision making skills and techniques

We use our decision making skills to solve problems by selecting one course of action from several possible alternatives. Decision making skills are also a key component of time management skills.
Decision making can be hard. Almost any decision involves some conflicts or dissatisfaction. The difficult part is to pick one solution where the positive outcome can outweigh possible losses. Avoiding decisions often seems easier. Yet, making your own decisions and accepting the consequences is the only way to stay in control of your time, your success, and your life. If you want to learn more on how to make a decision, here are some decision making tips to get you started.
A significant part of decision making skills is in knowing and practicing good decision making techniques. One of the most practical decision making techniques can be summarized in those simple decision making steps:
  1. Identify the purpose of your decision. What is exactly the problem to be solved? Why it should be solved?
  2. Gather information. What factors does the problem involve?
  3. Identify the principles to judge the alternatives. What standards and judgement criteria should the solution meet?
  4. Brainstorm and list different possible choices. Generate ideas for possible solutions.
  5. Evaluate each choice in terms of its consequences. Use your standards and judgement criteria to determine the cons and pros of each alternative.
  6. Determine the best alternative. This is much easier after you go through the above preparation steps.
  7. Put the decision into action. Transform your decision into specific plan of action steps. Execute your plan.
  8. Evaluate the outcome of your decision and action steps. What lessons can be learnt? This is an important step for further development of your decision making skills and judgement.

Final remark. In everyday life we often have to make decisions fast, without enough time to systematically go through the above action and thinking steps. In such situations the most effective decision making strategy is to keep an eye on your goals and then let your intuition suggest you the right choice.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Top 3 Ways to Follow Up To Your Prospects and Close More Sales

1. Send your clients a brochure

You can remind your clients of your services by sending them a brochure. This conveys a message to your customers that shows you’re interested in making their lives better, by offering them services that can provide extra benefits to their lives.

2. Tell them about some helpful websites
By sending a customer some links to some useful websites, you’re presenting yourself as a caring and considerate insurance agent, who is always looking out to improve their lives. You can send your client’s via e-mail some links to websites that contain interesting and beneficial information
Your clients will always be thankful, as long as you don’t be pushy and send them hundreds of web links per week.

3. Ask customers if they have any further questions
This has two benefits. First, by calling your clients up and asking them if they have any questions, you have a solid reason to call them. Second, you can find out what the customer’s worries are and what he/she needs, so that you can present a more direct and customized insurance policy. Calling customers up and asking questions shows that you care about their lives.

Bonus: Follow Up Tips for Insurance Sales Agents

Choose a communication method – usually between email, phone and mail
Always pay attention to your clients. You can always make references to previous conversations you had with the client, which shows that you really care, and you have a personal relationship with the client. You can write personal thank-you notes to let your clients know they’re doing business with a real, understanding person.

Try to make all follow-ups “short and sweet”. This means your follow ups have to be neat, professional and short so that your client won’t be bored. This principle should go with every follow-up you do – in your emails, phone calls or mail.
Don’t try to rush the deal-closing process by asking your clients if they’re ready to finalize their decision. This tells your clients that they’re being sold, and immediately puts their “anti-salesperson” guard on.

Don’t go overboard with the follow-ups. Let at least one week to pass between each follow-up session, so that you won’t annoy the customer and won’t appear try-hard.
Imagine you’re a close friend to your client, and they’ll feel like you’re actually helping them improve their lives with your insurance policies. Doing this will put their defensive nature down, and help you close the sale.