Posts Tagged ‘Development’
Well, I don’t actually know how to be a narcissist; but I am working on it.
I just read some research from Buffardi and Campbell that might explain why I’m not using social networking as much as I’d like to be: because the frequency which one shares his life on social sites is strongly correlated to his level of narcissism.
I have a specific schedule for when I post on my own blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve tried amping that up a bit, but I’ve learned that my limit (where I’ll do it consistently) is twice a month. But I’ve just learned that in addition to having a specific plan and being disciplined, a good marketer also needs to think quite highly of himself. Hmmm. Something to work on I guess…
Actually, that’s not necessarily the case. I also remember reading once that CEOs of great companies tend to exhibit a different sort of narcissism: the ones who aren’t actually sociopathic (and only think about themselves) tend to think of their companies as extentions of themselves. They truly are narcissistic in every sense of the word – but in regard to their companies, not necessarily to themselves.
So maybe that’s my answer – and the answer for anyone out there trying to build something beyond themselves of which they can be proud: never stop loving what you do and never lose the passion. And if you do find these things starting to slip, maybe it’s time to move on…
We all have certain goals and dreams, but for some reason we often keep them to ourselves. Here are three great reasons why you should share them out loud:
First off, when we share our goals and dreams with others we solicit their feedback about them. This isn’t always helpful, of course, but it certainly can be. People often have very good ideas if we give them a chance. They might have a resource we could use to help get us closer to the goal, or they might have a suggestion that might make it easier to attain.
Even the negative feedback we receive can be of great help. I’ve known many people who did something because they were told they couldn’t: someone’s negative feedback caused a sense of anger that spurred them to succeed.
I also have a personal example of this: I had written an article recently about taking action, and about how I had left the success of my coaching business to chance for too long. What I didn’t write in that article, though, was that a big catalyst for my renewed action was actually a past mentor’s feedback that I was more suited to “getting a job” than trying to build a business.
I didn’t care for that feedback, to say the least, but I’m glad that she gave it to me. The anger I felt from it fuelled me to put everything I had into my business – pretty much to prove her wrong. And two years later, I’m not too shy to tell you that I consider myself quite successful by any measure.
The second good reason for sharing your goals and dreams out loud is that doing so fosters clarity. Our goals and dreams tend to stay very vague when they’re trapped inside our heads; but the act of telling someone about these goals and dreams means first having to make sense of and articulate them for yourself.
And the clearer your goals are, the more attainable they become: it’s when we can clearly understand and visualize our goals that we can start to devise ways to move toward them.
3. Making it real
Last but not least, stating our goals and dreams out loud makes them real. When we declare what it is that we really want, we’re forced to take our goals and dreams more seriously. And it goes without saying that we have a better chance of getting reaching our goals if we see them as something more than just a fanciful wish.
So whatever you want is yours for the taking. And you deserve it. Ask yourself what you really want from your life, and share your thoughts with anyone who will listen!
I’ve been reading some marketing stuff from Dan Kennedy lately, and one of the sections in that material talks about managing others’ expectations of you. This post is about my own thoughts on the topic, although I did want to share something that Dan Kennedy had referenced in his material – it was just too good to pass up:
Kennedy referred to an experiment done years ago about people’s expectations: Esteemed art critics and gallery owners were invited to an art show featuring five up-and-coming artists. They were all given information about these artists ahead of time, while they rode in limos and were wined and dined at a fancy reception.
It seems that this whole “set-up” of the artists had shaped the critics’ and gallery owners’ impressions of them before they even saw their work. This was evident because they all gave the highest marks and praise to the five new artists, even among the other twenty or so well-known artists in attendance.
What the critics and gallery owners didn’t know was that out of the five artists, only three were legit. The other two were an 8-year-old child, and an elephant who splashed paint onto the canvas with his trunk.
The point of this story is that people are going to form an opinion about you and have certain expectations of you – and that you can control these beliefs and assumptions to a great degree by “setting the stage” for them.
People often use “rules of thumb” that allow them to make quick (but often erroneous) assumptions about what they see. We can take advantage of this tendency by making it easy for them to see what they want to see.
Simply stated, as shown in the story above, you can be anyone you want to be in the eyes of another – simply by playing the part. And this is not about being deceitful, but rather about “putting your best foot forward”. By talking the talk and dressing the part (literally or figuratively), people draw conclusions about your experience, intellect, skill, and ability.
And who are you to argue with their perceptions?
So decide who you want to be in this life, and step into that role. And that’s how others will view you. Then a self-fulfilling prophecy is born: the way people view you is how they’ll treat you – and so that’s who you become.
I’m going to stick with the theme of motivation for another article; simply because it’s been on my mind lately as I continue to spend the time developing new products and services. This isn’t easy for me to do; I struggle with motivation at times just like the rest of us.
To make things as easy on myself as possible I’ve been going back through the materials I’ve collected over the years; to refresh my memory about what motivation is, and how to grab onto it, if only for a short while. Here’s a piece of research I came across that serves as a good reminder about the importance of clarifying why we’re doing what we’re doing, and what we want to get out of life:
Years ago Edward Deci conducted an experiment in his search for discovering why people do what they do. He asked each of the participants in his study to complete a puzzle: half were given a dollar for working on the puzzle, and the other half were offered nothing. At the end of the time allotted, Deci left the room and instructed the participants that they could continue working on the puzzle if they wished (or read a magazine, or do nothing). The participants who received no reward continue do work, while the ones given money ceased to work on the puzzle.
The point of this outcome is that our interest in a task fades when we’re being governed by external forces; even if it’s something we’d enjoy doing otherwise.
I often talk about building in reward structures if you need that extra boost to finish a task (i.e., work for two hours then treat yourself to a latte). This is still a good strategy, but just make sure the latte isn’t the primary reward: the research results above show us that external rewards don’t maintain behavior.
Let the latte be the driver of your behavior if that’s what it takes; but when you’ve reached the goal always go back to the reasons you engaged in the task in the first place. Focus not the immediate reasons: “because I’ll miss the deadline if it doesn’t get done”, etc., but on the big reasons: “because this task leads to this, which leads to this, which leads to the realization of my ultimate goals and purpose”.
So enjoy the latte that helped drive you to the goal. But do so with the conscious acknowledgment that you wholly deserve it. Acknowledge your ability to set and achieve goals, and how hard you’re working to realize your dreams and become more of who you want to be!
I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy in my businesses, and I want to encourage you to not repeat my mistakes (and I believe that the same principles I’ll discuss in the context of business are equally relevant to your personal life and relationships):
I’ve recently come to the sobering realization that a lot of what I thought was productive work for many years was actually a lot of ‘busy work’ (not all of it, of course – or even most of it – but certainly more than I’d really like to admit). I’ve also come to believe that the old adage, “build it and they will come” should really be changed to “build it and bring ‘em to it – because they’re not gonna come on their own”.
For far too long I’d mistakenly thought that I could simply work hard and then rest on my laurels. I thought that I could learn everything there was to learn in my field(s), and that business would just come naturally as a result. But I was wrong: I’ve since learned in business that ‘building it’ is a critical piece of the equation – but that the equally-important second piece is ‘going after it and making it happen’.
What got me to the point I’m at now, is that in a couple of areas I do feel like I’ve examined pretty much all there is to be examined. This is not to say that I “know it all”, of course – but there is a concept known as ‘circular learning’ that has come into play in a couple areas of my life…
(Circular learning speaks to the idea that there’s ‘nothing new under the sun’: that if you follow a thread of knowledge completely enough, you’ll begin to see the same underlying principles repeating themselves. They’ll be assembled in different forms and colored with different language, of course – but it’s really all the same stuff after awhile).
Through this circular learning process I’ve come to realize that many of the principles that became clear after years of examination are pretty much the same principles I had learned soon after I had begun my journey. Granted, my skills are more refined now than in earlier years (and I don’t begrudge the expertise I’ve accumulated) – but I understand now that I could have been more successful, a lot more quickly, had I acted earlier and more aggressively on the principles I assumed were too incomplete and immature to be acted upon.
So my biggest mistake –and the lesson I want to share – is basically that I wasted too much time building, when I could have been getting better results by taking more action. The lesson is simply this: know what you know when you know it; take quick action based on what you know at any given time; and continue to learn and correct your course as you go!
Where can you use the 80/20 rule in your work and life?
In one part of my life I work as a consultant in the public sector. In another I work as a coach; with both life coaching and corporate clients. I also have other businesses in completely unrelated fields including pet supplies, parenting products, and nutritional supplements. The other parts of my life are spent in leisure activities with my family.
I don’t consider myself a jack of all trades/master of none, though: these endeavors were all chosen deliberately and executed carefully. Having lots of things on the go satisfies my need to stay diversified and busy (yes, I have been diagnosed with ADHD) – and I love (almost) everything I do.
Importantly, I also have time for everything I do with some to spare. This is because of the 80/20 rule.
Simply speaking, I try to focus on the 20 percent of my life and work that gives me the greatest results and enjoyment. And I try to say no to – or outsource – the other 80 percent whenever and wherever I can. Basically, I only work and spend time with the people I want to be with, and I only work on the things I want to work on.
I know that saying these things is controversial: you might be thinking that that this doesn’t apply to your life and your particular situation. That you don’t have the luxury to simply “outsource” the things you don’t want to do. That you have commitments and responsibilities…
I have commitments and responsibilities too, of course; and naturally there are things I can’t outsource or say no to either. But it’s all about where I choose direct my energy and focus: I know I can’t always live my life in the 20 percent – but I also know that if I try, I’ll consistently be a lot closer than if I don’t.
(You might also say that the ability to do only what one wants depends on circumstance and luck. This is true to a large degree – but I also believe that luck is to be found in the intersection of preparation and opportunity…)
So the purpose of this article is to encourage to you to prioritize the things you really want in your life, and what you really want to be doing – and then looking honestly at where you can unload some of the 80 percent that doesn’t fit with your vision.
To start, look for those “big-lever” changes that you can make in your life. They don’t need to be complicated or overwhelming: they include any adjustments, large or small, that have a big impact.
A big-lever change could certainly be a change of careers, for example, or it could be something much smaller that has a domino-effect in your life. A simple “big-lever” change could be something as easy as outsourcing the task of unloading the dishwasher: if it reduces stress at the end of a busy day, and gives you time for something more enjoyable, then it’s certainly worth the extra 5 dollars in allowance!
But that’s just one small example – and there are many. Where else can you use the 80/20 rule in your life? Where else can you focus on the 20 percent of your life and work that gives you the biggest results and greatest satisfaction? And where can you begin to unload the rest?
I had decided to reach out to more people by sharing my thoughts and writing some articles; and after doing it for some time now I’d certainly recommend it. Putting up a quick blog with WordPress is both free and easy, and we all have something to say. We all have our stories and ideas, and there certainly are people who want to hear them.
So I’m encouraging everybody reading this to do it as well! I for one would love to hear what’s on your mind!
Funny thing, though: I’m not very tech-savvy at all, and I just realized now that there have been many replies posted to my articles. The challenge for me now is to figure them out: I’m not sure what’s for real, and what’s spam! (I’ll admit that I’m rather naive with all this as well
So if you’ve posted an honest response and I haven’t seen it until now, I apologize! And if you’ve posted an honest response and it got directed to the spam folder, then I apologize for that as well! And if some of the remaining comments are simply spam, then oh well. Live and learn
There are many different styles of leadership with varying degrees of effectiveness. A people-centered approach is probably best in general; but only if partnered with sound knowledge and skill, and delivered in an authoritative style (a strong focus on relationship with the ability to appropriately set limits and apply corrective action).
I’m currently coaching someone I consider to be one of the best leaders with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work. I don’t know if she actually knows that she’s as good as she is: she’s relatively new to her position and has lots of questions and doubts about her style. But this type of questioning is common and expected for a new leader, and I fully expect her confidence to rise steadily with experience. I also sincerely hope, though, that she never loses the habit of self-reflection.
I’ve always had the impression that this woman is a strong leader, despite some of her doubts in specific areas. It was when I reviewed the 360 degree feedback from her team, though, that I realized how much of a star she really is. She has mastered that difficult balance between people skills and technical skill; between relationship development and task orientation. She is truly an authoritative leader who knows what she’s doing.
On the contrary, I’m also aware of leaders who appear oblivious to the fact that they’re not particularly great at the people side of things. They may be good at the technical aspects of their jobs, but they tend to rub others the wrong way. They are often closed to others’ ideas and they have difficulty sharing credit.
I think this happens for different reasons: they might be aware of their shortcomings but don’t particularly care; they may be aware of their shortcomings but don’t have the skills to change; or they might actually believe this style is effective. My guess, also, is that these types of leaders are often (but not always) masking a deeper sense of insecurity with an authoritarian style of interaction. Regardless of the reasons for the authoritarian style of leadership, it’s clear that these leaders don’t – at least actively and openly – question their leadership.
We might not all possess the leadership finesse of my client, but we can always continue to grow when we’re willing to engage in honest self-reflection. I believe that my client is a natural leader to a great degree – but I also believe that she’s as strong as she is because she questions herself.
It becomes increasingly difficult to question ourselves as our confidence and competence grows: self-reflection is often done in response to self-doubt and fear of failure. But to be effective leaders we need to reclaim and hold the assumption that we can always be better.
During the last few weeks I’ve spoken with both Christmas-lovers and Christmas-haters; which has caused me to reflect on the dichotomy of the season.
On the one hand we’re taught that Christmas is a time to spread joy and share with others. It’s a reason to spend quality time with loved ones, and to take a time-out from the routine of everyday life. Christmas is a time to engage with the comforts of tradition; whether celebrating the birth of a baby in a manger or the arrival of a jolly soul in a red suit.
For many, though, the other side isn’t as nice. For one, it’s a very busy time of year when they really just want to relax. The pressures of getting the right gifts, fighting the crowds to do so, and the demands on their time with family commitments can be overwhelming.
And then there are the problems many of us see on a larger scale: the billions of dollars we spend as a nation on the things we don’t need, and the real unhappiness this season actually brings to many. We go beyond our financial means to feed the machine that produces the goods designed to keep us distracted and entertained – with the empty promises of filling all our spiritual and emotional voids. The things we consume in alarming quantities at Christmas are largely produced at the earth’s expense; assembled by the unseen others who aspire to reach the level of material comfort we enjoy via the lottery of birth. We fear that our children are becoming greedy as they’re relentlessly marketed to in every TV commercial and storefront window; and we spend all this money while millions continue to starve worldwide.
But then, again, we put all this aside and return to the comforts of our own existence. We delight in the smiles on our children’s faces as they unwrap their gifts on Christmas morning. We catch up with old friends, sing some carols, enjoy a hearty meal with all the trimmings, and give thanks for our blessings.
Given these dichotomies, its little wonder that the holiday season is so stress-provoking for many.
It’s important to focus on the things we can control versus the things we can’t. To maintain a healthy and helpful perspective, it’s a good idea to be aware of both sides of a coin – and to understand that dichotomies can and do exist. We can experience things like joy, excitement, stress, and injustice simultaneously; but we need to do so consciously: focusing on what’s good about the season while acknowledging those things that cause our dissonance. By doing so we can deliberately choose our actions: engaging fully in the things that feed our spirit, and doing what we can to help remediate the rest.
I’m the first to admit that I’m not a natural-born writer. The words don’t always come easily, and I sometimes don’t know exactly what it is I’m trying to say. So why am I writing this article? It’s primarily because I want to: I do have things to say, and I do want to share them with others. I’ve also decided that writing articles is good for my business because it helps to keep me in front of potential clients and customers.
But because my love of writing is not as strong as I wish it was, I don’t typically jump all over the chance to sit at the keyboard for a half-hour trying to think of what to say. So despite all the great motivations I have for writing this article, there is another reason it’s actually getting done: it’s because I’m accountable to someone besides myself to do it.
I made a commitment to my friend, Mark, that I would write an article once a month for his online newspaper. This has proven to be a win-win situation: Mark gets content for his paper, and I have a structure that helps me to do something I want to do (but doesn’t carry the inherent reward-power to allow me do it on my own).
If left to my own devices I probably would write regularly for a few months, then it might become more sporadic, then it might dwindle down to nothing at all. But because of my commitment to Mark I’m sitting here now writing this article. And I’m glad I am: I’ll get to experience a sense of accomplishment, and I’ll get to continue to share my thoughts with others, as well as continue to keep my name out there.
So I know that accountability is a powerful structure when one wants to get things done. It’s also free and easy, and can help with a host of behaviours.
A friend of mine, to give another example, has had a hard time quitting smoking. He’d tried it many times and always started up again. But when he was truly ready to quit, he shared his intention with his children. He knew, as hard as it would be, that once he had told his kids and got their hopes up he would never light up again. And he didn’t. He was truly ready to quit, but didn’t feel he could quite do it on his own. He was wise enough to leverage the structure of accountability.
What have you been putting off that you know you want or need to do? What self-motivation strategies do you employ? Could you also leverage the structure of accountability? Could you offer to be the one that others could be accountable to?