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Mastering Time Management

distraction at work, time management

It’s powerful having email, chat and browsing at our finger tips. It’s also incredibly distracting. Technology is helping create an attention-deficit society where almost everyone complains about not having enough time and being too busy. Strengthening your time management skills is also a matter or strengthening your attention management skills. If you often hear yourself saying “I’m too busy”, it’s time to evaluate your situation and commit to some new time and attention management skills.

Evaluate Your Current Situation

Start by identifying your current time and attention management effectiveness. When you struggle to get things done, what do you think causes is? Are you experiencing constant interruptions? Are you lacking a prioritized to-do list? When you do successfully manage your time, what do you do differently? If you know what to work on, that’s half the battle.

  • For instance, you might have good time management in your home life, but lack the ability to get your tasks done at work. So what’s different at the office? Are phone calls, emails and other people taking your attention away from your tasks? Have you neglected to block time into your calendar to focus on your to-do’s? Are you working on your most important tasks when you’re most alert and productive or do these get left until last when you’re most tired?

Step back and examine, objectively, how you’re managing your time and attention and I’m sure you’ll discover what you can do differently. 

Use these techniques to strengthen your time management skills
  1. Confront procrastination. “Procrastination is the thief of time” Edward Young (1683–1765). Procrastination is a symptom of an underlying issue. Ask yourself why you’re putting things off. What’s the root cause of your procrastination? Resolve the root problem and the symptom will go away.
  • Perhaps you’re expecting too much out of yourself and feeling overwhelmed. It’s okay, and even more productive, to take breaks. Then, when it’s time to work, you’ll feel refreshed and motivated to get the job done.
  • The root cause is often a fear. Regarding the project you are putting off, what are you afraid of? Identify and face the fear and the procrastination will go away.
  1. Get organized. It’s easy to waste time if you can’t find things, or if you aren’t sure what task you’re supposed to be working on. Organize your workspace and eliminate clutter. Set goals, create action steps and schedule when you will work on each action step. You must know WHAT you’re working on, HOW you will complete it and WHEN you will work on it.
  2. Work when you are most productive. When in your day do you perform at your best? Schedule your most intensive thinking activities for when you feel fresh and best able to think. Turn off your phone and email and give yourself a set period of time to work. Once you complete the task, you’ll enjoy a sense of satisfaction and then you won’t be as bothered if the rest of the day falls apart because you have completed one of your important tasks.
  3. Learn to delegate. When it’s appropriate, delegate tasks in order to save yourself time for things only you can do. One of my clients used to say “I hold my people able”. Your team might not complete the task exactly the way you would, but with clear delegation on your part, you should only need to review the completed work while saving yourself the time of doing it yourself.
  4. Celebrate your wins. It’s easy to focus on what’s wrong, what’s outstanding and what the next problem is. Take a moment each day to acknowledge your wins. Look at what you have accomplished (no matter how small). Celebrating your wins will keep you in a positive frame of mind and will increase your productivity day after day.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Your productivity is a direct function of how well you manage your time, tasks and attention. Commit yourself to being focused and attentive. Take action in alignment with your commitment and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish!

 

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc. Laura was a 2018 Woman of Inspiration Finalist and a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching , and Life and Leadership coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they can love their life and business! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your business and personal growth.


Triple Your Productivity: 7 Secrets of Being Productive

When looking at a long to-do list, it’s easy to think that there’s not enough time to get everything done. Actually, there is. The problem is, you’re wasting too much time and spending your time on the wrong things. There are CEO’S who run multiple companies simultaneously and still have time for dinner with the family each night. They have learned and practice the secrets of productivity.

The 7 Secrets of Being Productive:

1) Learn how you waste time. We can’t change what we’re unaware of. Determine how you waste time at work and home. Keep a time journal for 1 week. Document what you do all day. Notice when you’re letting meetings or phone calls run overtime. Notice when you’re sick of work, tired, bored, or stressed.

  • For your own education, keep a timer at your desk. Keep track of how much valuable work you do each day. This doesn’t include time spent checking your email, looking out the window, chatting with a coworker, or drinking coffee.

2) Eliminate distractions. While some people can concentrate with chaos all around them, most of us do our best work with as few distractions as possible. Control what you can in your environment. Turn off your phone! Open email at designated times you determine! The fewer distractions you have, the more you will accomplish.

3) Prioritize your priorities. If you have 10 priorities, you don’t have any priorities at all. Develop a list each evening of your three top priorities for the next day. Do everything you can to accomplish those three things. Avoid wasting time each morning trying to determine how you’ll spend your day. You should already know when you wake up.

  • Priorities are often mini projects with a number of action steps needed to accomplish them. Break your priorities down into those action steps. Then, book your action steps into your calendar like an appointment. It’s not enough to know WHAT you’re going to do, you also need to know WHEN you’re going to do it.

4) Spend time on the most effective actions. There’s a difference between being busy and being effective. Imagine you’re having a dinner party and your house is a mess. You could be busy cleaning out your bedroom closet, but that’s not accomplishing much in this instance.

  • All activities aren’t equal. Spend your time doing the most important things, even if they’re the least enjoyable. If your activity is not enjoyable, do it first thing in the morning when you’re most fresh.

5) Take regular breaks. You might be able to work hard from 8am to noon, but you’ll have nothing left in the afternoon. Studies have shown that taking a 10-minute break each hour greatly increases productivity over a full day.

  • Give yourself an even longer break every few hours. You’ll stay fresh and find your ability to focus is less-compromised later in the day (to learn more, check out the Pomodomo Technique)

6) Develop a morning routine. Productive people follow a morning routine. Get out of bed early and get your day started productively. Have a good breakfast, exercise, meditate, or do whatever else will get you primed for the day.

  • Apply the same concept to work. Have a work routine that addresses those tasks you do each day. Plan them, book them in your calendar and get them done. This way, you have control over your day instead of your day controlling you.

7) Choose the best time for each activity in your life. Do you go shopping at the most convenient time, or do you go when everyone else is at the store? You could save a lot of time by going after 7pm in the middle of the week or early on Sunday morning.

  • Consider how and when you do things. Could they be done in a better way or at a better time?

 

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. How will you use yours?

I’ve helped many of my clients to get more done with the time they have. Together we evaluate how you’re using your time, both productively and unproductively. We find your weak spots and I provide tools and resources to help you get more done in less time, while also delegating more effectively. If you’re ready to take on your time management, contact me and I’ll be happy to help!

 


7 Daily Habits for 
Outstanding Leaders

Would you like to be an outstanding leader? Outstanding leaders have outstanding habits. Use this checklist to guide your daily habit formation (and feel free to add more of your own).

For best results, focus on developing one habit at a time. Once that habit is ingrained, then start developing another one.

Your journey to great leadership has begun!

1) Get rest and make your bed

  • A great day starts the night before. Establish a nightly routine to sleep soundly and prepare you for the next day
  • Establish a morning routine that gets you nourished and ready for your day

2) Act according to your values

  • Clarify your values
  • Make decisions based on your values

3) Be creative

  • Write – daily journal or Morning Pages
  • Make something new
  • Be flexible –  let go of expectations and keep an open mind

4) Practice mindfulness

  • Practice mindfulness meditation – focus on your breath
  • Make time for mindfulness activities, like nature walks or a hobby
  • Integrate mindfulness into your daily routines

5) Trust others

  • Delegate
  • Empower your team
  • Encourage innovation
  • Give direction and positive feedback

6) Be authentic

  • Live according to your values
  • Practice compassion – for yourself and others
  • Communicate clearly: listen, pay attention to your body language, understand what you need to communicate

7) Exercise

  • Mental health: do exercises that lift your mood
    Physical health: do exercises that build your strength, fitness, and discipline

 

Developing habits is easy in theory but hard to practice. I’ve coached all of my clients at one point or another about adopting these habits and more. Those who take on these habits transform in their lives and businesses. Those who don’t, struggle.

If youre serious about taking life and business to the next level, use the form at the right to book your FREE 30-minute coaching session.  

Let me help you to be an outstanding leader!


5 Leadership Mistakes (and how to fix them)

You’re a leader in many ways. If you’re a parent, you’re leading your kids. When you’re friends come to you for advice, you’re leading your friends. If you’re a “sole-preneur”, you’re leading yourself.  When you’re an executive or business owner, you’re leading your team.

Many roles in life involve some type of leadership. You might be surprised by how easily your actions can impact others. Considering the many leadership positions you are in, and the huge impact leadership has on others, I invite you to strive to be the best leader you can be.

It’s easy to unknowingly make leadership mistakes. These mistakes can undermine your credibility and effectiveness.

Take a look at these leadership errors and how to correct them:

1. Avoiding the truth. Avoiding the truth is one of the worst leadership missteps. The minute you start lying or not sharing the whole truth you set yourself up for a fall. You’ll eventually lose the trust of those who matter to you. If they’re unable to believe what you say, how can you expect to lead them successfully?

  • At all costs, tell the truth. It doesn’t matter if it makes you unpopular. Popularity doesn’t usually win races or battles. Be truthful so you can be respected and trusted as a leader.
  • Be aware of your timing. Choose an appropriate time and place to be truthful with someone, especially if you’re saying something upsetting.

2. Refusing to take your own advice. It’s awkward to give advice that you aren’t taking! Those you lead will see that as disingenuous. They’ll start questioning your character if you’re doing the opposite of what you’re telling them to do. Practice what you preach!

  • Leading by example is one of the most powerful leadership skills you can practice! It shows that you fully believe in what you profess. It allows others to see that you’re genuine and trustworthy.
  • If you’re unsure about the advice you’re giving, avoid giving it! If it isn’t good enough for you to take, dishing it out to somebody else doesn’t make sense.

3. Compromising your values. Leaders have solid values that direct their decisions and behavior. Your inability or lack of desire to uphold your values makes it appear as if you lack integrity. If that’s the case, you’ll have a hard time getting people to rely on you.

  • Take a look in the mirror and define what matters to you. What do you value most? Is it hard work? Is it honesty? Whatever it is, look yourself in the eye and commit.
  • Each morning, promise yourself that you’ll live according to your values. You’ll find that you won’t even need to tell anybody what those values are. People will know what you stand for by just observing your actions

4. Failing to teach the tough lessons. Tough lessons are an important part of effective leadership. It isn’t enough to tell those you lead what they want to hear. Failing to teach tough lessons essentially makes you look like a pushover. Good luck getting any kind of cooperation after that.

  • Sometimes it’s necessary to tell others how you feel. It isn’t necessary to worry about hurting their feelings. If they recognize you’re coming from an honest place, they’ll accept and respect your candidness.

5. Failing to apologize. Leaders are human beings who make mistakes. “When you mess up, you need to fess up and dress up”.

  • Acknowledge your mistakes, take ownership and fix them. When you make amends and put effort into not repeating the mistake, you’ll earn respect and loyalty from those around you.

I invite you step into your leadership, powerfully! Embrace your leadership traits now, because sooner or later you’ll be faced with applying them. You want to be ready, so you can easily lead others in a positive direction when the time comes.


10 Critical Competencies of Great Leaders

 

Great leaders share many common traits exemplify certain skills.

By focusing on developing these same skills, you can take your leadership abilities to the next level.

 

Develop the important traits necessary to be a great leader:

1) Self-motivation. It’s important to motivate yourself to take action and move forward toward your goals – whether they’re personal or business goals. Leaders are driven to get things done and they lead their team to do the same. Self-motivation comes from knowing WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. To find your why, check out the book; Find Your Why, by David Mead and Peter Docker

2) You can’t do it all yourself. Effective leaders surround themselves with skilled people, they define their responsibilities, and then get out of the way. A single person is quite limited, but many hands can get a lot done. Learn how to share your workload by reading; If You Want It Done Right, You Don’t Have To Do It Yourself, by Donna Genette

3) Effective Communication. You might have a clear picture in your mind of what you’d like to see happen. Unfortunately, no one can read your mind. A leader is responsible for sharing his vision, providing feedback, helping others problem-solve and sharing with people about how their behavior effects results. Learn how to maximize your communication skills with; Leader Effectiveness Training (L.E.T.), by Dr. Thomas Gordon

4) Developing others. Being a leader isn’t just about utilizing others to reach your goals. It’s about developing those around you. Great leaders integrate coaching into their leadership and the company grows as people grow. Learn how to coach your people with; Quiet Leadership, David Rock

5) You can’t expect greater commitment than your own. A leader sets the ceiling. Everyone else settles in somewhere below that point. Leaders are unreasonable…they don’t let excuses or reasons stop them or anyone on the team from pursuing the vision. Learn how to take your commitment to the next level with; The 3 Laws of Performance, by Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan

6) Inspire others. A great leader has an inspiring vision that other’s want to contribute towards. And great leaders ask people how they want to contribute and discovers what they can bring to the table in the pursuit of the vision. Then the leader provides the resources each person needs to make their contribution. Develop your purpose and vision and help others do the same with; Find Your Why, by David Mead and Peter Docker

7) Having a clear focus. If you don’t know what you want, you won’t get it. Leaders are clear on their vision and readily share it with others. A clear vision inspires others and serves as a roadmap. Employees can easily ask themselves if their actions are contributing to the attainment of your vision. Know your focus and communicate it effectively. Develop your leadership platform with this FREE course; CLICK HERE

8) Being respectful. When the stress of life and business show up, we don’t always behave our best. The same can be said for your staff. Remember, few people show up to work intentionally wanting to sabotage the company or your efforts. If you’re not getting the results you want, don’t blame or criticize. Instead, be curious and look with your team for the breakdown and what’s missing that’s preventing the desired result. Learn how to be more respectful and understanding with; The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruez

9) It’s natural to be drawn to others with confidence. You are viewed as more capable and trustworthy when your confidence level is high. Define your vision and have a plan for executing. This is the source of confidence. Take your focus and confidence to the “next level” with; Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, by Verne Harnish

10) Leaders make the tough decisions and take responsibility for the outcome. It’s easier to make decisions when you’re clear on your values and those of the company. If you can’t make up your mind, your leadership skills will be called into question. Practice by making small decisions and following through on them. It gets easier with practice. Learn how to make difficult decisions, faster with; Making Difficult Decisions, by Peter Shaw.

 

Leaders are made, not born. Great leaders share common characteristics that you can develop in yourself. Even if you don’t feel you currently possess these qualities, use the resources listed in this article and you will grow into an effective and powerful leader!


Achieving Goals Is All About Attitude

attitude for achieving goals

Your mindset, beliefs, and feelings all work together to create your attitude. Your attitude influences your choices of action and responses to challenges. In regards to achieving goals, your attitude about goal setting that will make or break your ability to create goals and follow through with achieving them or not.

Holding a positive attitude towards goals and goal-setting will be a THE factor determining whether or not you achieve your goals.

Answering these questions will help you create positive attitudes about your goals and can propel you forward toward success.

  1. How can your attitude hinder your success? What do you feel, think, and believe that may prevent you from achieving your objectives?
  2. How can your attitude empower you? What are your most positive attitudes that have propelled you forward in the past? How did you approach your goal(s) at the time?
  3. Do you feel that your prevailing attitude is helping you or limiting you? Why?
  4. List a goal that you feel challenged to achieve.
  5. What’s your attitude about this goal?
  6. What specific challenges are preventing you from achieving your goal?
  7. For each challenge, brainstorm possible solutions.
  8. Pick your most viable solution, create a plan to implement it, and get started
  9. Use Positive Self-Talk: What can you tell yourself to help you achieve the goal?
  10. Take Control: What are some steps you can take to get control as you move toward your goal?
  11. Compose your own affirmation that will help you work toward your goal.
  12. Who can you talk to about your goal? Can you find a mentor who may be able to help you move forward? Who?

 

Often we are not aware of what our attitude is or how it is affecting us. Working with a coach who provides objective feedback can help uncover these blind-spots and get you moving forward. If you are struggling to set or achieve goals, why not take advantage of Laura’s FREE coaching session to discuss this. Just click on the link to the right and Laura will follow up with you immediately.

 

Laura Watson is President of Venture Coaching Inc. Laura is a 2018 Woman of Inspiration Nominee and was a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching, Life and Leadership coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they can love their life and business! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your personal and business growth.


The Science of Goal Setting

goal setting for business

Goal setting seems simple on the surface. You define what you’d like to accomplish and take the necessary steps to make those accomplishments a reality.

Setting and achieving a goal is more than simply deciding and wishing. Each year, millions of people set New Year’s resolutions. Few of those people are still on track after just 10 days.

 

If setting and achieving goals were easy, there would be more happy, successful people running around. How many people do you know who are happy and pleased with their lives? Not very many. If you’re looking to take your life and business to the “next level” you need to master setting and achieving goals.

Set goals and achieve them more reliably:

  1. Set goals that are meaningful. Many people waste time with goals that don’t mean very much to them. Life is short, so create goals that fill you with excitement when you think about achieving them. Reaching any goal requires change, and humans are innately resistant to change. Big changes require a lot of motivation. Set goals that mean a lot to you.
  2. Use small, incremental behavioral changes. Change can be done easily if the changes are small. This requires patience.
  • Imagine someone attempting to make an overnight change from a diet of fast food, soda, potato chips, and ice cream to one of beans, vegetables, and fruit. His mind and body would revolt. It’s far easier to make small changes each week until the transformation is complete.
  1. Be accountable. Rewards are pleasant and effective if the reward continues. Behavioral changes tend to extinguish when rewards are no longer provided. It can be more effective to make yourself accountable for your poor behavior. For example, each time you skip going to the gym, you give $10 to a charity you don’t like or you wash a friend’s car.
  • Negative consequences are more motivating for many people. Use this fact to your advantage. How could you punish yourself for non-compliance? Make a list of at least 10 ways.
  1. Keep goals believable. Is it possible to increase your earnings from $50k this year to $1 million? It’s possible, but it’s not likely. And if you believe it’s unlikely, you’re unlikely to even try. The perfect goal is challenging, but not so challenging that you feel overwhelmed.
  2. Track your progress. Measuring your progress is extremely important. It provides information on how well you’re doing. You can’t know if you’re making progress toward your goal if you don’t measure it. You can shift your strategy if you realize that you’re not doing well.
  • It can also provide a boost of enthusiasm and positivity. When you’re making progress, you feel excited.
  1. Be prepared for setbacks. Achieving any goal is rarely a smooth process. There will be bad days with poor results. Rather than reject your goal when the going gets tough, be prepared for failures.
  • Have a plan in place to deal with failure and frustration. You might call a friend or remind yourself of the purpose of achieving the goal. Reviewing your success so far can also help.
  • It also pays to take preventative action. For example, if you know you’re likely to cheat on your diet later in the evening, have some healthy snacks available that you enjoy. Or head to bed earlier and enjoy some extra free time in the morning.

Goals are necessary if you want to consciously change your life. Everything else is a matter of luck and circumstance. Most people struggle to set and achieve goals. I frequently help business owners set and take action on goals so they can move forward, faster!

If you’re struggling to set goals or to follow through with your goals, consider taking advantage of my FREE coaching session. I’d love to help you get yourself back on track!

 

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc. Laura is currently nominated for the 2018 Woman of Inspiration Award and she was a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching , and Life and Leadership coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they can love their life and business! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your business and personal growth.

 


Leaders Are Listeners

Leaders and ListenersEffective communication is key to success, and when you’re good at it, people notice. Most people think that strengthening communication skills involves developing persuasive speech and conversational skills. I believe the most powerful communication skills are not in your speaking, they’re in your listening!

Communication is a 2-way process. There is a speaker and a listener. Without an effective listener, none of the conversational skills matter. If you want people to listen to you, you must listen to them first. Demonstrate a willingness to listen and understand and the rest of the communication process will flow with ease.

5 techniques for building your listening skills:

1. Fight the urge to speak. When you’re engaged in a conversation it’s natural to start concentrating on what you’re going to say next. You may even be tempted to open your mouth before the other person is finished. Make the extra effort to keep your lips sealed until he’s through talking.
 While he’s speaking, don’t worry about what you’re going to say next. Stay present and focus on the words and body language of the other person.

2. Look interested. Your nonverbal communication skills speak volumes! If you’re looking disinterested and uncaring, the person trying to communicate with you will pick up on these subtle hints. She may be flustered or less likely to share her thoughts. Engage with the person talking. Make eye contact and nod your head or smile. Let your conversation partner know that her points are coming across to you.

3. Paraphrase the highlights. Help your conversation partner know she is effectively communicating by restating her points. You can repeat key phrases in an affirming tone. Better yet, give her a quick summary of what she just said in your own words.
 Avoid sharing your opinions when paraphrasing concepts or ideas! At this point, you simply want to communicate that you’ve completely understood her meaning.

4. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your conversation partner to elaborate on what he’s saying. If you need further information, ask for it. The important thing is that you understand what he’s trying to get across.

5. Be patient. Effective listening skills take time to learn. I find the biggest hurdle to get over is your own discomfort of trying on this new skill. Trust your ability to take this on! And don’t be afraid to let people know you’re learning a new skill. Others will admire your willingness to learn and you’re openness about it.

BONUS: 5 Door-openers for paraphrasing your conversation partner

“If I’m hearing you accurately, you’re concerned about…..”

“Help me understand if I getting this, you want……”

“So what I’m hearing is…….”

“I want to make sure I’m understanding. What you’re saying is……”

“For clarity, what you’re talking about is……”

These door-openers may feel awkward at first, but give yourself permission to step into the discomfort. As you practice and learn to master effective listening, I guarantee your effectiveness as a leader will improve!

 

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc., and was a finalist for the Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching, and Life and Leadership coaching to entrepreneurs so they can love their life and business! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your personal and business growth.


Procrastination: 8 Unique Cures

procrastination

Most everyone procrastinates. However, some of us are better at dealing with procrastination than others. You’re not alone if you procrastinate. The people who get things done are more effective at minimizing procrastination. You don’t have to remain a master of procrastination. You can choose to be a master of productivity!

 

Facts about procrastination (according to Psychology Today)
  1. 20% of people identify themselves as procrastinators
  2. procrastination is a form of self-sabotage
  3. procrastination can become a profound problem with self-regulation
  4. procrastination is not a time management problem, it’s a self-image problem
  5. procrastinators are made, not born. Procrastination is often learned from our family of origin, it’s often a response to an authoritarian parent and it can be a form of rebellion.
There are 3 types of procrastinators
  1. Arousal Types: thrill-seekers who leave things to the last minute and get a rush from cramming
  2. Avoiders: those who avoid fear of failure (or success), they worry about what others think of them and prefer to be seen as someone who lacks effort vs someone who lacks ability
  3. Decisional: those who can’t make a decision. By not making a decision, we absolve ourselves of responsibility for the outcome
Costs of Procrastination
  1. Health: procrastination compromises our immune system and generates gastrointestinal problems
  2. Insomnia: as we lay awake and worry about what we’re not doing
  3. Stress: as we worry and beat ourselves up for procrastinating
  4. Relationships: procrastination shifts the burden of responsibility onto others (ie. co-workers), which creates resentment, destroys teamwork and ruins morale
8 Unique Cures For Procrastination
  1. Put your procrastination to good use. Consider what you do when you procrastinate. You perform one activity in lieu of performing another activity that you should be doing. Create a list that includes a couple of reasonable, but awful, tasks that you can add to your to-do list. You’ll then procrastinate on those tasks and perform the tasks you need to accomplish.
  2. Get to a new location. Head to the library, park, or coffee shop. You could even move to a different area of the house or find a vacant office at your workplace. A change of scenery can often minimize the tendency to procrastinate. Part of your brain associates procrastination with your usual hangouts, like your desk.
  3. Use a timer and a very short time frame. Getting started is often the most challenging part. It’s surprising how easy it is to complete a task versus taking the first step. Set a timer for two minutes and see how much you can get done. Two minutes is too much? Try one minute.  Have a list of steps and begin on the first one. When you have a list, you won’t waste any mental energy trying to figure out what to do first.
  4. Try working at an unusual time. Get out of bed at 5 AM and see how much you can get done before your normal wake-up time. Try staying up late and see what happens. Shake up your routine and you’ll be less likely to engage in your old habits.
  5. Focus on enhancing your mood. You procrastinate when you feel bad, and the thought of performing the task makes you feel even worse. You’ll do just about anything that you think will make you feel better. Work on enhancing your mood and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.
  6. Give your friend money. You may have enlisted the assistance of a friend in the past, but did you do it in the most effective way? Instead of telling your friend that you’ll give her $50 if you don’t complete your to-do list by Friday, give her the money upfront. You only get your money back if you’re successful. It changes the dynamic significantly.
  7. Give yourself a big reward. Make completing the task as positive as possible. Instead of viewing a task as painful, you’ll begin to view it as desirable. Promise yourself a day off, a meal at your favorite restaurant, or a massage.
  8. Take on the bigger task of shifting your self-image. If telling yourself, “I’m a procrastinator” sounds familiar, it means this is how you identify yourself. If this is the case, the cures above will help you temporarily but will not likely create long-lasting, permanent change. Instead, you need to shift your self-image by adopting a new image of yourself and acting in alignment with this new image.
  • Ask yourself: “who do I have to BE to live the life I want?” and “who I have to BE to produce the results I want?”
  • Create a new way of being for yourself. Instead of telling yourself “I’m a procrastinator”, re-invent yourself as, “I’m productive (or committed, or dedicated, or disciplined).

Don’t let procrastination continue to be the thief of time! Take on new behaviors in the short term and for the long term, work to shift your identity. Shifting your identity will address the core issue at hand, it will make you a master of productivity and will give you long-lasting change that will impact every area of your life and business!

 

If you’re ready to stop procrastinating, call Laura Watson at: 877-669-8684 for a free coaching consult. You can also email her: Laura@VentureCoaching.ca

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc., and was a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching , and Life and Leadership coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they create success without sacrifice! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your business and personal growth.


Feeling Tired? 6 Strategies For Combating Mental Fatigue

fatigue at workMany of my clients talk to me about feeling tired and they share the toll it’s taking on their well-being. Mental fatigue and exhaustion is often a result of your work, family life, conflict, or lack of quality sleep.

Mental fatigue can be worse then physical fatigue because if affects your ability to think clearly and express yourself or problem-solve. It impedes your ability to make important decisions, it slows your productivity, it can lead to severe depression and it has been linked to disease, including cancer.

The impact of fatigue is serious and yet many tend to disregard it. Business owners and executives don’t get present to the fact that their lives and businesses are at stake! With so much at risk, I invite you to practice these simple, yet effective, strategies for managing your fatigue so you can stay sharp, productive and healthy.

How to Relax your Mind and Boost your Energy

Relaxation is absolutely necessary to relieve mental stress and rejuvenate your body and mind. You’re probably thinking, “how am I going to do that?” Surprisingly, mental health breaks can be incorporated into your day and life with ease. Here are some tips to help you reduce mental exhaustion and keep your mind sharp:

  1. Take time out for yourself. Spend time in a quiet room where you can reflect and think. For many of us, time to think has become a luxury. Give yourself a few minutes to reflect and think, each day. You can meditate, write in a journal, do some planning or simply allow your thoughts to gently release into the stillness and quietness of the room.
  2. Get plenty of sleep. Mental fatigue can exist no matter how much sleep you get, but sleep does help refresh your body and mind. Adequate sleep will eliminate a lot of your day-to-day stress. Your body will have a chance to repair itself and recharge and you’ll feel sharp in the morning.
  3. Free your mind from the problems that swirl around you. Many problems or worries are about things we can’t control. Take your mind off the things that cause you stress by focusing on your task at hand or on the things you can control. Worry and frustration can also be caused by resisting “what is”. Try reconnecting to the issue or event that got you stressed. Look at it as data and remind yourself “it is what it is”. This puts you in a state of acceptance that allows you to take on the question, “what do I want to do about it?”. Once you have a plan and take action, you feel in control again and your stress eases.
  4. Exercise regularly. Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, which make you feel happy. It’s like the body’s natural “high.” Even if all you can do is take a 15-minute walk, take it. That can be great alone time for you that will help you feel energized.
  5. Try breathing exercises. When things get rough, take deep breaths in through your nose, hold it for 5 seconds, then release. This simple, do-anywhere practice helps you focus and relieves tension, immediately!
  6. Take a day to do things by and for yourself. You’re always doing for others and every once in-awhile, you need to do something for yourself. Take yourself out to a movie, go to a museum or art gallery, or do something you’ve always wanted to do but never made time for. Enjoy the peace and quiet of being alone and the satisfaction of being selfish (your phone and email aren’t going anywhere).

Implement Your Own Strategies

These are just some of the strategies to combat mental fatigue. You may have some other methods that help you relax and find peace in your life. What you do is not important. Actually doing it is what’s important!

Don’t take mental health for granted. Mental fatigue has a way of sneaking up on you and, left for too long, can completely sabotage your life and business! Begin integrating these simple exercises into your day. You will feel the weight lifted off your shoulders, your productivity and focus will return and you’ll be a much more enjoyable person to be around!

 

If you’re tired of feeling tired, call Laura Watson at: 877-669-8684 for a free coaching consult. You can also email her: Laura@VentureCoaching.ca

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc., and was a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching , and Life and Leadership coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they create success without sacrifice! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your business and personal growth.


How To Change Habits

the psychology of habitsWe are all creatures of habits. Kyle Colley writes, “think for a moment of your daily routine. If you are like 98% of human beings, your morning habits remain relatively unchanged, without any true variations from year to year. The other 2% are the very forward-minded people who change their habits constantly to maximize their success in life.”

Colley explains, “there are many reasons why we stick to our bad habits for so long; comfort, fear of failure, and the strength of a habit over time. In fact, research shows that the longer the habit has been in effect, the harder it is to change.”

Many of my clients express frustration about not being able to change their “bad” habits. Taking mastery over your habits requires awareness of your thought patterns and active effort to change old thoughts for new ones. This is where coaching is so valuable! A coach uncovers the thought patterns you have become blind to. With blind-spots revealed, awareness develops and new, conscious thoughts and habits can be formed.

To better understand how your habits have formed and how to master changing them,  Read more…

 


Is Your Technology Distracting You? Here’s What to Do

technology is distracting usClients often tell me they can’t get anything done because their email, phone calls and texting is pulling them away from their work. They feel constantly distracted, unproductive and at the mercy of their technology. What they forget is that they are in charge of technology, not the other way around!

Failing to notice this and failing to take corrective action against these tendencies and behaviors, is interfering with your ability to perform.

Recognizing you have a problem with overusing or chronically getting distracted by technology is the first step to solving the problem. It’s a dilemma most entrepreneurs face to some degree.

If you think technology is taking charge of you instead of you being in charge of it, there are ways to successfully manage this. Click through to our linked article for 4 strategies for taking back control!

Read more…

 


Stop Being So Hard on Yourself – 3 Steps For Managing Self-Criticism

nytimes.comBusiness owners are often very tough on themselves. They are driven to make their business succeed. They are also acutely aware of the risks at stake if they don’t. As they walk the line between feeling successful and fearing failure, they are often very critical of themselves.

“We’re all our own worst critics” says Dr. Richard Davidson, and yet “self-criticism can take a toll on our minds and bodies”.

Evolutionary psychologists have studied our natural “negativity bias,” which is the instinct in us all that makes negative experiences seem more significant than they really are. “It can lead to ruminative thoughts that interfere with our productivity, and it can impact our bodies by stimulating inflammatory mechanisms that lead to chronic illness and accelerate aging,” Davidson said.

But that’s not all there is to the story. There are ways around our negativity bias, and it is possible to turn self-criticism into opportunities for learning and personal growth.

Read more…

 


How to change your habits

 

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken”
Warren Buffet

My clients often ask me, “how do I change bad habits?”. I think they secretly wish I have a magic wand that will take the old habit away and instill a new one. Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic wand.

Instead of reciting some mysterious incantation, I start asking questions about their mindset and beliefs. At first my clients think the questions are irrelevant and sometimes I meet resistance to my questions. But the questions are key. They are key because the answers reveal their thinking habits.

“Anything you think over and over again becomes a habit”, says Kyle Colley and in order to form new habits, you MUST “take control of your mind”.

https://www.goalcast.com/2017/07/28/psychology-of-habits-how-to-become-master-of-change/?ct=t(The_Psychology_of_Habits_How_to_Become_a7_31_2017)&mc_cid=b4783859cb&mc_eid=9d6a774fc5Humans are creatures of habit. Think of your daily routine. If you are like 98% of human beings, your morning habits remain relatively unchanged, without any true variations from year to year.

Habits can excel our performance and sabotage our success. If you have some “bad habits” you wish to change, click the link below to learn how.

Learn how to change your habits here…..

 

I hope you gain some value from this article. I welcome your comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, sign up for my FREE Lead to Succeed Email Course (click here).  You’ll get 12 Leadership Lessons (1 per week), guaranteed to take your life and leadership to the “next level”. Just click on the banner to the left, sign up and stay connected!


The Lost Art Of Listening

 

“Seek to understand before being understood”, Steven Covey

In a previous post called “You are sabotaging your communication“, we talked about what NOT to do with your communication. I find it useful to help my clients build some awareness regarding how they may be ineffectively communicating and negatively impacting their relationships, so they are inspired to learn some new skills. Today we’re talking about what to do to make your leadership communication more effective.

In an age of email and texting, listening skills have become a lost art. One of the best compliments I get from my clients is that I’m a great listener. I think it’s a powerful gift to really listen to someone and give them an experience of being heard. When people feel heard, they feel understood. When they feel understood, strong relationships are formed.

In this video you will learn 3 types of listening skills and you will learn how to create clarity in your communication. We’ll also discuss some problem-solving skills so you can start to facilitate and coach your staff rather then being a constant problem-solver for them. Enjoy!

Lead To Succeed: The Lost Art Of Listening from Venture Coaching on Vimeo.

Now it’s time to notice where you’re “roadblocking”. I would love to hear about your discoveries and challenges, so please comment on this post to share your experience.

If you enjoyed this post, you can sign up for my FREE Lead to Succeed Email Course (click here) and these posts will come straight to your inbox. Just click on the banner to the left, sign up and stay connected!


12 Communication Roadblocks!

 

“Leadership exists in conversation, make yours powerful!” Laura Watson

You are in an ideal position to be in a supportive, helping relationship with your staff and partners. But this relationship is not given, it is earned. In order for you to have this helping relationship, you must learn the difference between the “language of unacceptance” and the “language of acceptance”. I guarantee that sometimes you are inadvertently using the language of unacceptance, which is undermining your leadership.

Language that communicates unacceptance “roadblocks” communication. It subtly communicates to the listener that “I’m right” and “you’re wrong”. Over time, your listeners (staff, colleagues, spouse, children) will resist or shut down from communicating with you because they don’t want to keep feeling criticized.

I’m sure it’s not your intention to give those around you the experience of being wrong or criticized. These roadblocks represent blind spots that sabotage your communication. When I make my clients aware of these blind spots, they change their communication style and their relationships immediately improve. Today I want to help you discover your blind spots so you can improve your communication and your leadership. Enjoy!

Lead To Succeed: Communication Roadblocks from Venture Coaching on Vimeo.

Now it’s time to notice where you’re “roadblocking”. I would love to hear about your discoveries and challenges, so please comment on this post to share your experience.

If you enjoyed this post, you can sign up for my FREE Lead to Succeed Email Course (click here) and these posts will come straight to your inbox. Just click on the banner to the left, sign up and stay connected!


How To Give Effective Feedback

 

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions”, Ken Blanchard

Feedback helps people learn the impact of their behavior. Feedback is shared in order to reinforce so-called “right” behaviors and to let people know what behaviors are ineffective and need changing.

Feedback is an important skill for you to master. Given effectively, your personal and business relationships will thrive. Given poorly or not at all and you’ll likely end up frustrated with unhappy staff and high turn-over rates.

Here are some interesting stats about feedback:

  • Managers who received feedback on their strengths showed 8.9% greater profitability
  • 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized
  • 92% of respondents agreed with the assertion, “Negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.”
  • 80% of Gen Y said they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews
  • 77% of HR execs believe performance reviews aren’t an accurate representation of employee performance

Feedback is a powerful performance-improvement mechanism. But it needs to be delivered in a manner that does not evoke defensiveness and (ideally) motivates people to change their behavior.

As a trained communication expert, I often coach my clients on how to give effective feedback. In today’s video I share some strategies for taking your feedback skills to the “next level”. Enjoy!

 

Lead To Succeed: Giving Effective Feedback from Venture Coaching on Vimeo.

Now it’s time to go out and practice giving great feedback! I would love to hear about your discoveries and challenges, so please comment on this post to share your experience.

If you enjoyed this post, you can sign up for my FREE Lead to Succeed Email Course (click here) and these posts will come straight to your inbox. Just click on the banner to the left, sign up and stay connected!


Emotional Mastery For Owners: learn to ‘flip your switch’

 

Will you control your thoughts or will your thoughts control you?

Today we’re here to develop emotional mastery for business owners. In 13 yrs of running my own businesses and coaching other business leaders, I find that emotional mastery is one of the key elements defining success. Leaders who develop mastery over their thoughts and emotions grow and thrive. Those who don’t keep themselves stuck in a constant state of survival-mode; they are stressed, they experience conflict in their relationships and they often get sick.

We need to develop emotional mastery because life is miserable without it! Without personal mastery, we react impulsively to situations and people, we procrastinate and get distracted. I’ve seen business owners derail their projects, lose staff and customers and even lose their entire business because they could not manage their emotions and reactive behavior.

When we learn to master ourselves, we have focus and our performance improves. We respond thoughtfully to situations, customers and business partners. Our effectiveness improves and we become more efficient allowing us to get more done in less time. And when we practice mental and emotional mastery consistently, all areas of our life improve, we feel happier and optimistic.

Many of my coaching sessions focus on helping my clients develop emotional mastery. Today I’m sharing the tool that has made the biggest difference in my life and my client’s businesses. I hope it makes a difference for you. Enjoy!

Lead To Succeed: Developing Emotional Mastery from Venture Coaching on Vimeo.

Now it’s time to practice “flipping your switch”! I would love to hear about your discoveries, so please comment on this post to share your experience.

If you enjoyed this post, you can sign up for my FREE Lead to Succeed Email Course (click here) and these posts will come straight to your inbox. Just click on the banner to the left, sign up and stay connected!


Time Management: learn to block your rocks!

 

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important”, Steven Covey

Today’s leadership lesson is not your typical “time management” conversation.

When I first start working with my clients they are often feeling overwhelmed with their schedule. They feel like a million small urgencies are flying at them all at once and they often complain that they never have time to address important, non-urgent matters in their life and business (ie. planning, exercise, family, even sleep).

If you’re feeling similar to my clients, today I want to help you change that. I’m going to give you an easy and very useful tool for helping you think about and schedule yourself based on your priorities. This tool has a made a world of difference for me and my clients so I’m confident it will make a difference for you too, if you apply it. I call the idea, “blocking your rocks”

Lead To Succeed: Block Your Rocks from Venture Coaching on Vimeo.

Check out Steven’s video here:

Now it’s time to “block your rocks”! I would love to hear about your discoveries, so please comment on this post to share your experience.

If you enjoyed this post, you can sign up for my FREE Lead to Succeed Email Course (click here) and these posts will come straight to your inbox. Just click on the banner to the left, sign up and stay connected!


Business planning for small business owners

 

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”, Benjamin Franklin

Some interesting facts about business planning and execution:
  • Businesses using plans are 12% more profitable
  • 86% of executive teams spend less than an hour a month discussing strategy
  • Of 26,000 start-up business failures, 67% had no written plan
  • More than 70% of companies with a strategic plan don’t execute it
  • Only 30% of Directors of 1,000 public companies say their company is achieving strategic success
  • Formal planning reduces risk
  • 80% of companies are dissatisfied with their planning and budgeting processes
  • Only 23% of companies use a formal strategic planning process to make important strategic decisions
  • 64% of leaders who use strategic planning processes say the planning leads to strategic decisions that allow the company to meet its goals and challenges
  • The top 10% of large companies surveyed experience real and material benefits from their planning processes – far beyond those of average companies. They’re enjoying improved control over costs, increased foresight, improved operational performance, increased transparency and insight into the business, a sense of shared purpose, and increased profit.

*stats originally reported by Mission Facilitators International

I work with business owners all the time who don’t have plan. If they do have a plan, they are usually not executing on it because they have not created actions steps and/or they are “too busy”. Yet research tells us that successful companies have and follow a plan.

I help business owners write simple plans they can execute! Because the planning is simple and action steps are included and scheduled in a calendar, execution rates increase dramatically and so does business success!

Today I want to share the business planning and execution process my clients find so beneficial. Enjoy!

Lead To Succeed: Being Effective – Plan, Calendar, Execute! from Venture Coaching on Vimeo.

Now it’s time to get to work on your plan and follow through! I would love to hear about your discoveries, so please comment on this post to share your experience.

If you enjoyed this post, you can sign up for my FREE Lead to Succeed Email Course (click here) and these posts will come straight to your inbox. Just click on the banner to the left, sign up and stay connected!


Develop a leadership platform: setting business goals

Here are some surprising statistics about business goals:

  • more than 80% of small business owners don’t keep track of business goals.
  • 40% of people who write down goals don’t check whether they’ve achieved them.
  • 46% of companies review or revise goals throughout the year.
  • 50% of senior leaders, 33% of managers and 19% of front-line employees update their goals throughout the year as business needs change.

And here are some more interesting facts:

  • Those who write down goals achieve more than those who don’t.
  • Those who share commitments with colleagues and friends achieve more than those who just write down goals.
  • Those who send weekly progress reports to others achieve more.

Successful companies set goals. Without them, they have no defined purpose and nothing to strive for; consequently, they stagnate and struggle for meaningful accomplishments.

This lesson discusses goal setting in relation to creating a Leadership Platform. You’ll ask yourself some powerful questions so you can set exciting and inspiring goals for your business. Enjoy!

Lead To Succeed What’s Your Big Goal? from Venture Coaching on Vimeo.

Have fun working on your big goals! I would love to hear about your discoveries, so please comment on this post to share your experience.

If you enjoyed this post, you can also sign up for my FREE Lead to Succeed Email Course (click here) and these posts will come straight to your inbox. Just click on the banner to the left, sign up and stay connected!


Develop a Leadership Platform: what’s your ‘higher purpose’?

 

“Companies with a higher purpose are more profitable than those that just think about the bottom line”, unknown

The lower purpose of a business is about making and selling a commodity for profit. The higher purpose in business is about making a difference AND making profit.

All of the leadership experts and wellness experts seem to agree, that part of happiness is having a Higher Purpose.  Something to strive for that is bigger than you.  Our Higher Purpose is how we find deep meaning and fulfillment in our lives by contributing to someone or something that is bigger than ourselves.

I believe that life and business is way more fun and meaningful when it is connected with a sense of Higher Purpose. This means that our business is about more then just making money. It means that our business is about making a difference in the world of our customers (and perhaps beyond).

Any business can create a “Higher Purpose” for itself. I was recently impressed and inspired when a friend showed me a job posting that was listed at a local bank. The posting read that everyone’s job in the bank is to create “happiness”. I was stunned. This bank has defined a Higher Purpose and is building a corporate culture around the idea of creating more happiness in world.

If a bank, the epitome of profit generation, can create a higher purpose for itself, anyone can. This is a conversation I have with all of my clients and I want to share it so you can connect with your higher purpose as well. Enjoy the video.

Lead To Succeed: What’s Your Higher Purpose? from Venture Coaching on Vimeo.

Have fun working on your higher purpose! I would love to hear about your discoveries, so please comment on this post to share your experience.

If you enjoyed this post, you can also sign up for my FREE Lead to Succeed Email Course (click here) and these posts will come straight to your inbox. Just click on the banner to the left, sign up and stay connected!

 

 


Develop a Leadership Platform. What are your leadership values?

 

“It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are”, Roy Disney

A leadership value is a principle or belief that a person or organization views as being important. Our values define us and our leadership. They represent what we hold most dear and drive our success and happiness, meaning and fulfillment in all areas of life and business.

Leadership values establish our sacred ground. They guide us in making decisions, in setting priorities and evaluating the merit of opportunities. Our values are our source of strength, of skill, of positive experience and positive results.

Our leadership values make up 1 of 4 elements in our Leadership Platform (if you missed my prior post about developing a Leadership Platform and defining your Vision, you may want to start with that post HERE). Once defined, this foundation becomes the ‘measuring stick’ from which an owner and his team can make strategical and tactical decisions and take sound action.

Like a simple house with four corners, a Leadership Platform has four elements; Vision, Values. Purpose & Goals. These four elements, once defined, create a strong foundation for your business to be built on.

This post is the second of four, designed to help you define your Leadership Platform. Check out the following video to walk through defining your Core Values.

Lead To Succeed: Defining Your Core Values from Venture Coaching on Vimeo.

Have fun working on your values! I would love to hear about your discoveries, so please comment on this post to share your experience.

Remember, this post is the 2nd of a 4-part series. If you’d like to continue developing your platform check out Part 3: Defining Your Higher Purpose.

If you enjoyed this post, you can also sign up for my FREE Lead to Succeed Email Course (click here) and these posts will come straight to your inbox. Just click on the banner to the left, sign up and stay connected!


Develop a Leadership Platform: What’s Your Vision?

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy what you stand for”, Simon Sinek

I love this quote from Simon. It reminds me that business is about way more then just making money. I believe business is about being in service to your customers and making a difference for them.

Most business owners want their business to grow (duh!) In fact, if we’re not growing, we’re dying. I see many owners go about growing for growth’s sake wanting to become bigger, faster, thinking that “bigger has to be better”. They do everything they can think of just to grow. Their decisions and actions often follow many different tangents which is exhausting for themselves and frustrating for their staff. It’s frustrating and exhausting because the decisions and actions seem haphazard and not based on a solid grounding with a sound direction. This type of growth feels like you’re flying by the ‘seat of your pants’ and is often unsustainable and doomed to implosion.

Successful, sustainable growth requires us to base our growth plan on a solid foundation. Like a house, you can’t build walls and a roof without a strong foundation. If you do, the house falls down. A successful business is the same, it needs a strong foundation to stand on. Once defined, this foundation becomes the ‘measuring stick’ from which an owner and his team can make strategical and tactical decisions and take sound action. This ‘measuring stick’ is called a Leadership Platform.

Like a simple house with four corners, a Leadership Platform has four elements; Vision, Purpose, Values & Goals. These four elements, once defined, create a strong foundation for your business to be built on.

This post is the first of four, designed to help you define your Leadership Platform. Check out the following video to understand more about building a leadership platform and to start defining your vision for your business:

Lead To Succeed: What’s Your Vision? from Venture Coaching on Vimeo.

Have fun working on your vision! Play with it and make it GRAND! Your vision should represent an exciting (and somewhat scary) possibility you see for the future of your life and business.

I would love to hear about your discoveries, so please comment on this post to share your experience.

Remember, this post is the 1st of a 4-part series. If you’d like to continue developing your platform check out Part 2: Defining Your Values.

If you enjoyed this post, you can also sign up for my FREE Lead to Succeed Email Course and these posts will come straight to your inbox. Just click on the banner to the left, sign up and stay connected!


The 5 Leadership Essentials

 

“Leading your business effectively happens when you lead yourself effectively”, Laura Watson

Success in life and business is highly dependent on your mindset. Your mindset will affect all areas of your life; business, health, relationships, finances, fun, you name it!

I am here to help you be more effective in life and business because I’m passionate about you being the best you can be.

You’re here because you want something different for your life and business. I see us playing this success game together, as partners.

Over 13 years of coaching I have discovered 5 Leadership Mindset Essentials that I share with my clients at the beginning of our coaching engagements. We end up revisiting these mindsets often to make sure they are doing their best to apply them.

Clients who take on and really embrace these mindsets see significant improvements in their lives and businesses. So check out this video and see how you can take your leadership abilities to the “next level”.

Lead to Succeed: The 5 Leadership Essentials from Venture Coaching on Vimeo.

Have fun working on your 5 Leadership Essentials. Take on 1 per day, make it a game, play with it and see what you notice.

I would love to hear about your discoveries, so please comment on this post to share your experience.

If you enjoyed this post, you can get more! Sign up for my FREE Lead to Succeed Email Course and these posts will come straight to your inbox. Just click on the banner to the left of this post, sign up and stay connected!

 


Are You Getting The Leadership Feedback You Need?

How To Assess, Apologize and Act Like A Leader

Sourced from Ken Blanchard, Ignite! Newsletter, February 2017

“A lack of self-awareness is one of the biggest challenges leaders face when stepping into increasingly higher management roles and running their companies”, Ken Blanchard.

“As a leader, you need to be on your best behavior all of the time,” says coaching expert Madeleine Blanchard.  “What’s unfortunate is that just when a leader needs increased self-awareness, the quality of honest feedback they receive plummets.

“As the leader assumes increased power, followers in the organization start to modify the feedback they provide.  Feedback is more positive.  The boss’s jokes are always funny and their ideas are always good. People begin to suck up to power in a way that distorts reality for the successful executive, who no longer receives the straight scoop.”

“That can lead to blind spots, especially in the areas of communication and trust,” says Randy Conley of The Ken Blanchard Companies. Laura Watson of Venture Coaching has also seen how leaders can struggle—and how often they are completely blind to how they are coming across to others.

“The problems can usually be traced back to one of four areas,” explains Conley.  “A leader’s style can cause negative perceptions of their Ability, Believability, Connectedness, or Dependability.  Negative perceptions in any of these four areas can lead to decreased trust.”

One way to deal with this is to have leaders take the time to conduct a trust audit, which helps them evaluate where they currently stand, make amends where necessary, and modify their behavior going forward.

“It’s a three-step process where leaders assess their current behavior, apologize if they need to, and act more consistently”, says Conley.

Assessing behavior involves looking at your conduct in four areas, those areas being Able, Believable, Connected, and Dependable.  A problem in any one of these four areas will have a negative impact on relationships and the ability of people to work together successfully.

Able refers to how people see you as being competent in your role.  Do people think you have the skills and experience to get the job done?  Sometimes it is a perception issue; sometimes it is a gap in experience.  Either way, it needs to be addressed.

Believable is always a perception issue—do you act in ways that are consistent with someone who is honest, truthful, and forthcoming?  This can be a challenge for leaders as they move up in an organization and feel it necessary to share some information on a need-to-know basis.  The problem is that people may perceive the leader is hiding information or not being completely transparent.

Connected is the relationship aspect of trust.  Do you demonstrate that you care about people—or do you come across as all business?  Working together requires a heart and head connection.  In addition to following you for logical reasons, people also want to follow you for emotional reasons.  Leaders need to check their style and make sure that they aren’t coming across as cold or aloof.

Dependable means following through on your good intentions.  This trips up a lot of well- meaning executives—especially the people-pleasers who can’t say ‘no.’  They over commit themselves and start missing deadlines. They are often surprised to discover how this diminishes people’s trust that they will do what they promise.

Both Conley and Blanchard caution leaders to be prepared to act on gaps uncovered by the trust audit.

“Make sure you are ready for what you hear,” says Blanchard.  “When you invite people to discuss these potentially sensitive areas, you have to be ready to listen.  Feedback is a gift.  There are only two things an executive should say when they receive feedback—either “thank you” or “tell me more.”

Also, explains Conley, be ready to acknowledge and apologize when necessary.

“You have to own up to areas where you have fallen short. The most important part of apologizing is being completely sincere—don’t explain, rationalize, or make it the other person’s problem.”

“It’s a simple concept, but one that leaders screw up all the time,” adds Blanchard.  “How many times have we heard a senior leader qualify an apology by saying, ‘I’m sorry if my behavior made you feel that way,’ or by explaining, ‘I was only trying to…’

“Less is more when it comes to apologies,” explains Blanchard. “Just say ‘I’m sorry. I hope you will forgive me for the way I have acted in the past.’ If you need to say more, save it for the next step when you explain how you will act differently in the future.”

“Most leaders are trustworthy.  It’s just their behavior that gets in the way sometimes,” says Conley.

Trustworthy behavior leads to trusting relationships. With increased awareness, the willingness to hear feedback and the humility to apologize for times when trust has been broken, leaders can take a huge leap toward building the types of relationships where people work together to move the organization forward.

If you think you’re lacking feedback regarding your leadership, Venture Coaching can help. If you’re ready to discover what your team REALLY thinks, and willing to take action to make things better, call me now to book your complimentary coaching session: 877-669-8684.

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW, Venture Coaching International


The Cost of Using Power in Your Leadership

When I coach my clients, most of them agree that using power is not an effective leadership approach. However, when these same clients get stressed, frustrated or disappointed with employees, power is often used to get things “back on track” again.  It becomes the option of last resort when no other methods or tools have been learned to replace it with.

Using power in your leadership undermines your leadership!

Read the following article to understand cost of using power in your leadership. And when you are ready to learn some alternatives, give me a call at: 403 669 8684.

Read more…

 


Is Your Company Culture What You Want It To Be?

Business culture is a reflection of it’s leadership. So if you’re not sure what your company culture is, you probably want to look in the mirror.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine,

Company culture is more important than ever. It’s not that company culture was ever unimportant, but it’s quickly proving to be a “must-have” rather than a “nice-to-have.”

A company’s culture is the only truly unique identifier. It’s your DNA. Things like your products, your strategies and even your techniques can be duplicated. The only truly unique identifiers are the values and norms of your organization. And these are a reflection of the people at the helm.

If you don’t define your company culture on purpose, it will happen by accident. And if it happens by accident, it probably won’t be what you want it to be. With so many companies competing for attention and market-share, a defining culture can make the difference between ordinary and extraordinary!

Here is a great article talking about how 80% of a company’s culture is based on the founder. This article also offers great questions you can ask yourself and your team about your current culture and the culture you want to create moving forward.

Read more about creating successful company culture….

 


7 Easy Success Habits You Can Start Today!

Robin Sharma is one thought leader who helps me and my clients be more successful.  Today I received the following success rituals he recommends. I consistently work at following these habits and I coach my clients to do the same. When we practice these habits we find that success and productivity follow suit. I share these rituals with you today so you can integrate these habits into your life and business and achieve the success you’re seeking. Enjoy!

Robin writes:

Achieving massive productivity, serious success and spectacular impact really isn’t that hard…

…it’s all a pretty simple process.

…actually it’s a very simple process.

I’ve been blessed to be the private advisor to many of the world’s celebrity billionaires and grateful that my success tools have been used by top performers ranging from Taylor Swift and Jon Bon Jovi to NBA and NHL superstars.

Please just remember that success is really all about a masterful consistency around the basic fundamentals.

Watch Kobe or Eminem, Michelangelo or Mozart, Philippe Starck or Jony Ive…they are all about stripping away complexity and hammering away at simplicity…knowing that’s the essence of outright genius.

The thing is that the vast majority of well-intentioned, decent and good people just don’t know what the epic performers know.

Schools teach math and geography. Televisions teach news and distraction. Society teaches materialism and hedonism.

But what about what to do to become great?

How about the daily habits of the performance masters?

And the key moves to make to get the big results you want?

Part of my passionately-held and emotionally-charged personal mission is to share the mindsets, practices and behaviors that those playing at BIW (Best in World) run so you can do your finest work…

…and carve out a life that truly matters.

Fair notice: these habits are a little strange…but they’ve helped hundreds realize elite personal performance, grow personal fortunes, positively influence communities and make the world a far better place…

…so please just stay open to trying them…and applying them for the next 66 days until they wire in as your new normal…

Habit #1: Use a Timer to Do World-Class Work

On the two days a week I schedule as “Creative Days”, I set blocks of time to achieve specific outcomes and results–generally working in the 90 minute bursts of intensity that have been scientifically proven to yield best performance (insight: each of your days only has 16 of these 90 minute segments so use them well).

I then use the countdown timer on my smartphone to heighten my awareness about the passage of each chunk of time. Not really sure why this ritual works so well (I’m deep into brain science these days so once I know, I’ll share of course). But it just does. So do it. Please.

Habit #2: One Hour Walks

Steve Jobs loved doing walking meetings. Thoreau loved walking in the woods. Mandela would walk for entire days. There’s just something beautifully special about installing the daily habit of walking…

…it’ll give you time to think and ideate. You’ll kickstart your creativity and multiply your innovation (bring paper or your phone with you to download the ideas that will pour into your imagination)…

…productivity will soar and your moods will elevate as your endorphins get released. And you’ll boost your fitness to your next level of wow.

After studying many of the creative masters, I’ve been doing a daily walk for years. It’s definitely been a game-changer for me, especially at the end of a productive day.

Habit #3: The Second Wind Workout

The daily walk ritual leads nicely into the “2WW” Ritual that has also served me so well: The Second Wind Workout.

Here’s the basic idea: given that exercise is one of the finest productivity tools ever created, why not use it more often within a day to get more valuable things done?

Yes–definitely do your morning workout to get you mentally and physically amped for a brilliant day. But then, at the end of your work day, go for that walk or take the swim or nail a run.

Creating a second workout habit later in your day will give you so much more energy each evening, relax you with your loved ones, minimize the dangerous effects of stress, deliver a deeper sleep and even reduce your cravings later in the night.

Habit #4: Talk to Yourself

The reality is that most of our daily choices and behaviors are not conscious. We think we know why we do what we do but the truth is 90% of our moves are driven by our subconscious programming (all the beliefs and rules that our parents/teachers/media/peers have taught us).

This is why we’ll read a book or go to a conference and say we’ll make fantastic changes–but rarely do.

For a new idea to create true breakthrough, you need to go to the source. And use autosuggestion to install a new story about your place in the world.

Our conscious mind really does want to make the improvement within our business and personal life. But all the negative patterns within our subconscious hold us back. And sabotage our progress.

Autosuggestion is simply using words and verbal commands to rewire and rescript the unconscious realm of our brain. The subconscious is dramatically influenced by words.

The average person uses words that create limitation, scarcity, drama and failure in their lives–without even knowing it.

Best performers know that words drive performance. And so they use them brilliantly.

To be specific, I suggest that you clean out the victim-speak from your vocabulary. Speaking “I hate this” or “this will never work” or “I’m not good at this” or “I can’t achieve that” or “I’m in trouble” forge subconscious beliefs that make your words self-fulfilling realities.

Instead, use the language of world-class. Talk words with power, grace and positivity. Speak like the person you’ve always wished you could become. With time and consistent practice, you’ll step into that person’s shoes.

Habit #5: The WTOH Question

Please remember that a problem is only a problem when viewed as a problem.

Many of the great business innovations came from a so-called “failure”.

Many of the greatest growth periods of our lives were derived from a period of pain.

Within every setback lies the gift of progress, advancement and outright mastery.

Too many of us encounter an obstacle and drop into victim-mode, giving away our power to it and throwing in the towel.

Instead, use “The WTOH Question” and ask what’s the opportunity here?

This ritual has saved my life. It has allowed me to leverage the unexpected into pure possibility. And turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

It’s helped my team produce epic results in the face of Plan A not going to plan.

And it’s moved my clients to achieve legendary businesses as well as lives they adore.

Habit #6: Thank the Value Chain

Key principle: Gratitude is the antidote to Apathy.

To get giant things done, you need to feel inspired and alive and highly confident and unbeatable…

…positive psychologists are teaching us that “deliberate gratitude” (the actual habit of practicing gratitude versus leaving it to chance) is one of the smartest ways to build that state.

Another one of the rituals that has served me so very well is what I call “thanking the value chain”.

When I eat an excellent meal in a restaurant, I silently thank the chef, the servers, the delivery people, the owners, the farmers and every other human being along the value chain whose hard work has allowed me to savor the meal.

On an airplane, I silently thank the attendants, the pilots, the ground crew, the aircraft makers and even the back office workers for the gift of the flight. And the opportunity for me to attend another event to inspire and share with people who want to win.

I do my best to run this habit as much as possible as I live out each day.

It completely changes the way I view each experience, encounter and person. And it fills me with energy, passion and hope.

I sincerely wish the same for you.

Habit #7: The Sunday Morning Planning Process

Every Sunday morning, I set aside an hour to review the past 7 days. I then write my “Weekly Story”, a fast review of how I performed and behaved over the past week (based on the notes on my written daily schedule). This alone breeds huge amounts of awareness of what’s working and what needs to be improved.

Next, I review my annual one-page plan, reconnect with my Top 5 Values and consider my commitments for the next 7 days.

All this moves me to then write out my “Blueprint for a Beautiful Week” on a written 7 day template that has time blocks from 5 am to 11 pm.

Everything goes in here from my early morning workouts and journaling sessions to my family meals with those I love.

This ritual is one of the best habits I’ve developed. And has helped so many of our clients achieve more in a few weeks than most people get done in a year.

The world needs you to be at your best. My promise to do all I can to help you get there.

If you found the insights and tools in this blog valuable and are ready to discover what you can do to get better results, I’d love to help you love your life and business.

Sincerely,

Laura


Productivity Tips From 30 Entrepreneurs

Business and executive leadership is stressful! And when we’re stressed, our ability to perform declines rapidly. During our day-after-day barrage of deadlines, emails and phone calls it’s easy to forget that stress is self-imposed.

My clients are often asking for “productivity tips”. The best “tips” out there are not rocket science! Basically, the busier you are, the more self care you need (I realize that might seem counter-intuitive and impossible….but it’s true).

If you want to be more productive, read this article and PUT THE IDEAS INTO PRACTICE!

Get your productivity tips here…..

 


What happens when real leadership shows up?

Are you complaining about your team not performing?

Don't be upset about the results you didn't get with the work you didn't do“There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.”―Jocko Willink

What does the environment around you look like? Is your benchmark for success clear and understood by all?

Do you, as the leader, clearly reflect your vision and standards to such a degree that reading them is unnecessary? What you THINK is clear may not be….that’s why you’re getting the results you’re getting.

Discover the 10 things that abruptly happen when real leadership shows up:

read more at observer.com

 


12 Things Successful People Do On Sunday Nights

Do you get the Sunday-night blues? You’re not alone! Up to 76% of people admit to feeling a decline in their mood and motivation on Sunday nights as they start to think about work on Monday. It’s common for stress and anxiety to increase throughout your Sunday as your mind wanders to the looming deadlines.

Laura Vanderkam has written a book called What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off.

Experts report there are certain things successful people do at the end of the weekend to combat those Sunday-night blues and prepare for the week ahead.

Click here to get the Top 12 strategies.

Check out the book:


Proven Link Between Sleep and Leadership Performance

We live in a hyper-active, instant-everything world. And we’re losing sleep because of it. Sleep deficiencies can undermine important forms of leadership performance and eventually hurt financial performance. This Harvard Business Review article explores the link between sleep and leadership and goes on to discuss solutions that can improve both individual well-being and organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

Check it out at: http://bit.ly/1XvbWX1


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