Trust in Business: Simple Strategies for Building Trust

”The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” –Brian Tracy

Trust in BusinessWhether you are an employee or entrepreneur, building trust in business relationships is one of the most critical factors for success.  Nothing undermines a relationship more completely than lack of trust, and it cannot be taken for granted. You’ve heard that it takes time and effort to build trust, and only a few seconds to break it.  Success in business is all about relationships, and with the proper focus you can build relationships based on trust.

Trust must be earned.  When you first meet someone, they don’t really know you and so they cannot really trust you.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming someone trusts you early in a relationship.  Whether we admit it or not, we all tend to stereotype until we get more information about a person that either prov

es or disproves the stereotype.  Next time you meet someone for the first time, pay attention to your thoughts about that person.  You will likely be comparing him to someone else you already know and making some assumptions about this person based on those past experiences.  Likewise, you do not know how you measure up because you do not know how you are being stereotyped.  It is up to you to build the relationship so that your character shines and trust can be built based on you, not a ghost from the other person’s past.

Trust is built when people can rely on your word and it is only built through integrity and consistency in relationships.  People only do business with other people that they know, like and trust.  Customers do not buy from just anybody.  The popularity of the franchise restaurants is because the customer knows what kind of experience to expect, from the physical building, atmosphere and décor down to the quality and consistence of the food being served.  You need to earn the trust of your customers by letting them get to know you, your credibility, reliability and focus on serving others.

  • Do you do what you say you will do?  They key is to under-promise and over-deliver, not the other way around.  Make sure you keep your promises and do not offer proposals you know you can’t meet.
  • Share your expertise.  Give it away, freely.  Let others see that you know your subject and have the expertise to help them as well.
  • Identify the customer’s needs and focus on how you can meet them.  It is not about you, it is about serving them.  This starts with listening to them, and making sure you understand where the gaps are that you can solve.

MicromanagerIn the corporate environment, my theory is that you have to earn your freedom.  If you need to be told what to do and then consistently asked for status until the task is finally done, your boss has no alternative but to micromanage you.  On the other hand, if you are the kind of person that is proactive, looks at what needs to be done and then tackles it, your boss will have less need to watch over you.  Results count.  If you want more latitude in your job, be the kind of person your boss can trust to get the work done.  Early in my career, I had a supervisor who understood this and rewarded it.  I was a computer programmer who showed up for work later than most of the team because I was usually up late the night before.  One day, my boss called me into a conference room, and I was sure I was about to get “the talk” about my working hours.  Instead, he gave me an award!  His comments to me were that he recognized that every time there was a tough problem that needed to be solved, regardless of whether it was during working hours, late night or on the weekend, I was the one he could count on to fix it.  He did not care that I strolled into work at 10am, he cared about the results I was getting.  Since then,  I’ve seen time and time again where employees who get results, who can be trusted to get the work done, have much more freedom from the bureaucracy imposed by management and more success in their careers.

If you manage employees, you must also earn their trust and respect.  Office politics, back-stabbing, negativity and lack of productivity are all symptoms of a lack of trust.  Only if your team believes you have their best interests at heart will they put in the effort to achieve your business goals.  Mutual trust is based on the belief you can depend on each other to achieve a common purpose.  How do you earn this trust?  Here are 4 simple steps to get started:

  • Keep your promises.
  • Never ask someone to do something that you would not do yourself.
  • Be transparent.  Share feedback, discuss priorities & goals, and communicate often.
  • Support them.  Give them the resources they need, and back them up when they need you.

Trust in business relationships is critical to achieving real success.  Building trust should be the focus of all your interactions, regardless of whether you are an employee, business owner or solopreneur.  Become the kind of person others can count on and your reputation will grow and your success will follow. What are you doing to build trust?


Regrouping After the Layoff – Lessons from Valerie JL Coleman

Valerie J Lewis Coleman Pen of the Writer

“How I Survived the Demise of Dayton’s Automotive Industry”

I recently had the opportunity to interview Valerie JL Coleman, bestselling author, award-winning publisher and motivational speaker.

“After a twenty-six-year engineering career with Delphi Automotive Systems (formerly General Motors), the plant closed and my position relocated to Mexico. Since that time, I have embarked upon full-time entrepreneurism and adjunct teaching. My business, Pen of the Writer, was created to write and publish books, and position me as an expert on the topics of my books. As of today, I have launched careers for scores of authors including almost fifty high-school students. The transition has not been easy as the loss of my job represented 65% of our family income,” says Ms. Coleman.

In our exclusive interview, Valerie shares some of her experiences, how she overcame the financial and emotional challenges to fulfill her dreams.

Here are some of the highlights from our talk:

About the Layoff

You know the layoff is coming if you pay attention to the signs.  When the company starts to “downsize” the number of buildings in your area, and the manpower starts to shrink, you know it’s time to get prepared.

About Security

Working for yourself takes away the so-called security of a steady paycheck.  With the drop in income, you no longer have the discretionary money to spend on things like clothes and trips.  You start to fear how you will pay the mortgage this month.  Until you build up your business, there will be some lean times.  Build up some savings in the bank to get you through.  On the flip side, you start to see the intrinsic rewards you get from helping others.  That’s what keeps you going.

About Hard Work & Time Off

Valerie’s job in the automotive industry was in a factory environment, male dominated with a strong union presence.  She was an engineer with 26 years of experience, so the hours were long but the work was familiar, somewhat routine, and not very stressful.  As an entrepreneur, you don’t need permission to take off from work and you can do what you want when you want, but there is always something to do and you will work even harder.

About Focus

Choose one thing & stay focused on that one thing.  Valerie allowed herself to get off track initially by focusing on the needs of a music artist for the first 2-3 years instead of what she intended to do.  Without a written business plan, she wasn’t confident in her plan and got pulled into what we call the “shiny object syndrome”.  Today she uses a daily mentoring program and an accountability partner to keep her on track.

About Business

Figure out what part of your business is the most time consuming and whether you can outsource it.  Measure your sales to learn which products are the most profitable and focus on those.

Before You Start Out

Learn everything you can about the business you want to be in.  Look at the competition, what the market price is for your products, and determine what it is that sets you apart.   You also need to have a support network, get out there and network and join professional groups.

These are just a few of the highlights from our interview.  Valerie is a very lively and entertaining speaker and I recommend you listen to the whole interview. You can get a copy on our podcast or download it from iTunes by searching for “Mojo Solutions”.


Regrouping After the Layoff – Lessons from Valerie JL Coleman

Simple Morning Routines that Can Change Your Life

good morning routinesDoes this sound like your typical day?  You wake up to a blaring alarm clock, maybe hit the snooze button once or twice, and wake up at the last possible moment to get yourself ready and out the door on time.  You stumble out of bed to start the coffee and hit the shower.  After that, you rush to get dressed, maybe also rushing your kids out the door, and grab some fast food breakfast on the way.  You fight your way through the traffic, or perhaps the crowds on the subway, and by the time you get to work, you’re exhausted.

Lack of physical exercise, poor eating habits, no exposure to bright light, dependency on caffeine, and all that rushing and tension contribute to a decrease in metabolism, low energy and high stress.

How you wake up in the morning sets the tone for the whole day. In fact, Brian Tracy has compared the morning as “the rudder of the day”.

Highly successful people, those who seem to be able to do more, achieve more, and have better health, have a completely different routine.

There are 4 components you should implement in your morning ritual:

1)       Drink water.  Your body is dehydrated when you wake up, and drinking water helps to fire up your metabolism and increase energy at a cellular level.

good morning routines

2)       Move your body.  Ever watch a cat when it first wakes up?  It takes a luxurious stretch before ever even considering moving.  Start your day with a  long, full body stretch before you even get out of bed.  Once you do get up, exercise.  Some people may start their days with a full exercise session at the gym or a morning run, but if you are not used to such intensity then start with a few easy steps.  Take a walk, do yoga, swim, or maybe just a few simple movements to start.  The point is to get your body moving and start burning fat.  You should do some form of exercise within an hour of waking up and this will start the momentum for activity for the day.  As added benefits, you burn more fat when you exercise in the morning and you will be more likely to stick with your exercise routine.

3)       Eat a healthy breakfast.  We all know this is the most important meal of the day, yet 30% of us skip breakfast.  The rest of us usually grab something quick and usually not healthy. Take the time to fuel your body with a healthy breakfast and your energy levels will increase.  It is also proven that eating a healthy breakfast is a critical component for weight loss as well.   Start to experiment with quick options, such as a high-protein, nutrient dense shake.

4)       Engage in quiet time. You should put aside quiet time by yourself to focus on your goals and your intentions for the day.  What is it that you want to accomplish today?  Many are believers in meditation and journaling as well.  This is probably the most difficult change to make, since so many of us are not used to spending time quietly and deeply in thought.  I prefer to spend this time outdoors, since so much of my day is spent indoors I get energized by giving myself some time to look out at the lake, watch the sky brighten and hear the birds that are so abundant in my yard.

Consider the person who rushes through the morning and arrives at work only to take the next 30 minutes to an hour getting a cup of coffee, catching up with coworkers, checking email and figuring out what they need to do for the day.   This person is reacting to the immediate activities and “busy-ness” that makes up a typical workday.  The person who has taken the time to energize themselves in the morning and spent the time focusing on goals and intentions for the day will arrive at work ready to get right to the most important activities of the day.  This person has figured out what the most important use of their time is, and will achieve more over and over again every single day.

morning commute

Now let’s talk about that commute time.  Depending on whether you are driving or taking public transportation, you may currently spend this time listening to the radio, reading the paper, or perhaps chatting with fellow commuters.  A better way to use this time is to listen to inspirational or educational audio programs.  Load up your mp3 player with a book on tape, or a recording from a seminar, and use this time to expand your knowledge.  It is said that, “the more you learn, the more you earn.”  The average American reads only 1.5 books per year, yet they will watch 35 hours of television in a week!  Think of the amount of knowledge you can gain by using your commute time to listen to an audio version of a book.  You can rise well above the average with this one simple step.

Even choices that seem small can make a big impact.  Start by rising 15 minutes earlier each day.  Plan your breakfast to include healthier options.  Stretch.  Rather than make a drastic change all at once, give yourself time to build a new morning routine gradually so that you will stick with it.

Changing your morning routine will change your life.  It is that powerful!  Pay attention to how you start your day and begin to make small changes until you have formed these new habits.  What changes can you make?

When the Comfort Zone Quits Being Comfortable


comfort zone

It’s Sunday afternoon, and you’re sitting on your comfortable couch watching the game.  What reason would you have to get up?  Usually it’s either because you want to get something to snack on (pleasure) or you need to go to the bathroom (pain).   Most of us live inside our comfort zones, and only get motivated to change for one of two reasons: to obtain pleasure or avoid pain.  Pain is the stronger of the two motivators.  We will often forego pleasure out of a sense of duty, or laziness, or any of a dozen different reasons.  We can’t ignore pain for long.   You will only change when the level of pain increases to the point where the price of staying in your comfort zone outweighs your fear.

getting motivated

So, you have two choices: 

1)       Wait for the pain to increase to the point where you have to do something, or

2)      Work on reducing or eliminating your fears.

The challenge is that your comfort zone slowly becomes uncomfortable in almost imperceptible ways until it reaches the point where it impacts your health.   The stress levels build slowly until it starts to appear in the form of back and neck pain, chronic fatigue, respiratory issues and weight gain.  You come home from work stressed out and snap at your family, impacting your relationships. You quit enjoying your hobbies, you spend too much time surrounded by the noise of TV, radio, or the internet, or maybe you indulge in “retail therapy”.  This continues to spiral upward; the stronger the pain the more the universe is telling you to pay attention.  You are imploding inward when you should be taking focused, deliberate action to expand outwards.

There was a study done of skiing disasters, and they found that the majority of the disasters occurred in locations where the skiers were familiar with their surroundings and had gone skiing that same terrain many times before without any incident.  They failed to recognize that the conditions had changed and that familiar ski trail was no longer safe.  The familiar and comfortable had turned unfamiliar and dangerous.

boiling frog get motivated

This is like the story told about boiling a frog:  if you put a frog in water and turn up the temperature slowly, the frog will not recognize the danger and will die.  If you put that same frog into a pot of boiling water, it will jump out immediately.   We know that the economic climate is such that organizations will let people go as soon as it makes good financial sense for them to do so, so the question you need to consider is whether you’ve taken the temperature of your current employment situation lately?  Less than half of Americans feel secure in their jobs, so that “safe” and “stable” paycheck may disappear overnight.

Everything you have in your life right now is a result of you operating in your comfort zone.  Are you happy with your financial situation? Your career?  Your relationships? All of these things are defined by the choices you have made in your life up until this point.  If you are looking for more money, more happiness or better relationships, you need to make some different choices and expand beyond your current comfort zone.   Remember the definition of insanity:  doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  If you want different results, you need to expand yourself, learn a new skill, take a new responsibility, join a group of like-minded individuals, or whatever it takes to stretch out of your comfort zone.

The major turning point for me was to expand my current circle of friends and acquaintances and meet new people.  With the internet and sites like, it is easy to find business networking groups in your area.  Seek out business seminars related to your career goals and make sure you talk to people.  Don’t just show up to listen and leave.  The real value is in the people you meet and the relationships you form.  Some of the most exciting opportunities in my business right now are a result of a series of circumstances and meetings that I could never have planned for.

get motivated get moving

Make a decision to get moving.  Set a goal and take the first step.  It doesn’t matter if the goal you set is not your final destination, it only matters that you start moving.  You can always change course, or even a complete detour, once you begin the journey.  You can’t make anything happen when the car is still parked in the driveway.


Keep Moving Forward or Die

Maybe not die literally, but slowly and insidiously….

Like a shark that needs to move forward to breathe, successful careers need to keep moving or we suffocate.  That’s the premise of Simon Sinek’s new post, Obligate Ram Ventilation.

You hear about career burnout, but this is more like career “rustout”.

Burnout occurs when you are under consistent pressures, work too many hours, and feel like your job is out of your control.  This is very common in today’s corporate environment.  Since layoffs are a common practice, we see many in management positions without the skills and experience needed to effectively manage, and those left to do the work are shouldering the burden from their jobs as well as those who have left the company.

Rustout is a different kind of career death, one that is not so widely discussed.  Just as your bicycle will start to rust if left outside and untended for too long, career rustout happens when you leave your career untended.   When you perform the same tasks, day after day, without any thought on how to improve yourself or your contributions towards some future goal, you rust away.  Your job no longer satisfies you, you lose motivation and spend your days dragging through the hours until you can leave.

Scrape the rust off of your career by focusing on these 2 things:

1) Learn something new.  Read newsletters pertaining to your industry, take a class or read a book.  Find a way to increase your knowledge and your skillset.

2) Set a career goal.  You’ve been in one place doing the same thing for too long and you’ve forgotten how to challenge yourself.  Find something that you can strive towards that excites you.  There are usually plenty of opportunities in your current job – you just need to seek them out.


Control the Power of Words and Skyrocket Your Self-Esteem

The power of words, especially those words we say to ourselves without even consciously realizing it, are the single most important factor in influencing your belief in yourself and your self-esteem.  Did you know that our brains are continuously thinking at a rate of 1500 thoughts per minute, and it is estimated that fully 80% of those thoughts are negative?

The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, while the Positive Word Dictionary contains entries for 1,800 words.   It is any wonder that we are bombarded with negative messages when our language itself is only 1% positive?

Dr. Masaru Emoto, a pioneer Japanese researcher, documented an astonishing study that thoughts and feelings affect physical reality by photographing water molecules after they had been exposed to music as well as written and spoken words.   The water molecules exposed to positive words, such as those expressing gratitude, were beautifully formed, while those exposed to negative words were badly misshapen.  He has proven that human vibrational energy, thoughts, words, ideas and music affect the molecular structure of water, the very same water that comprises over seventy percent of a mature human body.

power of words

Heavy metal music

power of words

Beethoven's Pastorale








power of words

You make me sick

power of words

Thank you







Your health, your self-confidence and your success are all impacted by controlling the message playing in your head.

Tell yourself you are a failure.  You will notice your shoulders slump, your eyes dart away, and your voice is a mumble.  Bosses have a way of pointing out all your shortcomings and mistakes, and telling you about the weaknesses you need to work on.  One statistic says that the average employee hears 8 negative messages for each positive one.  Is this a way to inspire? Of course not!  That is why so many people working for someone else end up becoming more and more dissatisfied with their jobs and their lives, but don’t do anything about it.  The negativity drains their energy and eventually will impact their health as well.

Now tell yourself, “I can do it!”  Stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, look directly at yourself in the mirror and speak loudly and clearly.  Do you feel the difference?  Now do this over and over until you believe it.  This is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself.  If you have employees working for you, find ways to emphasize their strengths, not their weaknesses.  If any corrections need to be made, do it in a positive manner.  Psychology 101 says that all negative messages should be “sandwiched” between two positive ones.  This 2:1 positive ratio is a far cry from the 1:8 that most managers use.  It is common wisdom that “what you focus on expands”, so doesn’t it make more sense to focus on strengths rather than weaknesses?

You have to consciously retrain your brain to think positively.  Learn to recognize when the message is negative, and reframe it immediately in a positive manner.

I once had a conversation with a woman who had left her job to become a life coach, and she stated that she knew plenty of people who needed her help but were not willing to hire her.  Her opinion was that these prospects were just not willing to spend money on improving their lives.  Now, I tend to be an empathetic listener, so when she said that, I didn’t disagree with her.  Later on, I found myself saying this very same thing out loud to my husband.  What happened here?  I had no basis for this belief other than hearing it from someone else, yet it seemed to become part of my belief system.  I had let her experiences shape my own.  The power of words is such that you have to counteract every negative statement with a positive one.  In this particular instance, I transformed the statement from this:

“Prospects are not willing to spend money on improving their lives.”

To this:

“Prospects are not willing to spend money on improving their lives until they are clear on the benefits and transformation a coach can bring into their lives.”

You can see how the first statement is a limiting belief, while the revised version is more inspirational.  It lays the groundwork for positive actions that you can take if you want to achieve the result of getting people to invest in improving their lives.

Words are so powerful they can change lives.  Control your words, both those in your head and those said out loud and you will notice a major improvement in your self-esteem and your confidence levels.

Here’s my challenge for you:  Pick one person in your life that is very important to you – your spouse, your child, your best friend, whoever – and for the next week carefully control every word you say to him or her so that the messages are only positive.  Compliment them, lift them up with positive encouragement, show your gratitude by saying thank you, and come back here in a week’s time to tell us how this work


6 Steps Towards Getting Motivated

Motivation is something that comes from inside you, not from someone else.  The more motivated you are, the more you will achieve and the more success you will experience.  You will advance further in your career, make more money, be more satisfied with your relationships and generally be happier in life by following these 6 tips towards self-motivation.I can do it

1) Put it in Perspective

Define larger, long term goals for your career and your life overall.  Understand where you are headed, and what you need to do to get there.  Once you can link the day to day “have to” list with your long term goals, you suddenly “want to” accomplish the things on your list.  Without that larger perspective, it is hard to be inspired by the daily activities that you need to do.   For example, a person who is interested in becoming a real estate investor might start by doing research on properties for someone else who is already successful in the field.  While this task can become repetitive and mundane if looked at by itself, it becomes an important stepping stone in context of the larger career goal.  When you start looking at your “to do” list and dreading some of the items on there, consider how these tasks fit into your aspirations and they might not seem so dreadful after all.

2) Celebrate Small Successes

Statistics show that almost 80% of the thoughts in your head each day are negative.  We are so good at criticizing ourselves and pointing out mistakes.  This is entirely backwards!  Take the time to reward yourself for small accomplishments along the way and celebrate them.  Did you get that presentation completed?  Celebrate!  Did you learn a new skill?  Celebrate it!  The best way to build up your confidence and your self-esteem is to document your development and your accomplishments, so that you have a running success journal.  If you do this one thing consistently, you will amaze yourself at how much you accomplish by the end of the year that you would not normally have recognized.   As a side benefit to this, you will be able to use your success journal in your performance discussions with your boss, or as a confidence booster when you stretch yourself to take on something new.

3) Learn from Mistakes

One of the concepts taught in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is that there is no failure, only feedback.  Most of us start out to do something with a presupposed outcome, and when the outcome is different we consider this to be a failure.  Successful people do not consider this failure, but an opportunity to learn.  Thomas Edison, when asked about the thousands of failed experiments he went through to invent the carbon filament, said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”   When you approach a mistake as an opportunity to learn something you didn’t know before,  you are using a positive framework.  I once made a mistake in a piece of software that shut down thousands of offices across the US on a Saturday night (which were closed, luckily, and we were able to recover in minutes) and fully expected to be chewed out by my boss come Monday morning.  Instead she was very calm about it, and said simply, “those who don’t make mistakes are those that aren’t doing anything.”  What an amazing outlook!  I suggest you adopt this for yourself, and give yourself credit for trying and stretching yourself to do something new.  If the outcome isn’t what you’d wanted, then take another look at the problem and see if you can see it from a different perspective with your newfound knowledge.

4) Garbage In, Garbage Out

This is a common expression in the Information Technology industry, and it applies to your minds as well.  Be selective about the messages you let into your brain, and seek out only those that are positive.  Here are some tips on how to do this:

– Subscribe to daily motivational messages that will life your spirits (see our Resources section for some recommendations)

– Shut off the TV.  Use this time instead for reading or listening to audio programs that will teach you something, or at least entertain you with positive messages.

– Surround yourself with happy people.   Find others that have common goals with you, look for local groups or other successful people that will inspire you.  You know that person that is always complaining, telling you how horrible her job is or how rotten her kids are?  She’s sucking the energy out of you.  Get her out of your life.  There’s a book called Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome that does an excellent job explaining how these energy vampires are affecting your health.

5) The Power of 5

The Power of 5 is a concept I learned from Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.   The concept is simple:  every day take 5 actions that take you closer to your goal.  This is all about taking action, but doing it in such a way that is not overwhelming.  So many projects never get off the ground because they seem too large and intimidating.   Find 5 things you can do that are moving you forward, do this every day, and you will be amazed at how much you can accomplish.   I’ve often found that just starting things going by doing a simple task leads me to bigger and stronger momentum and before I know it I am done.

I would recommend you take the time the night before to write down your 5 things.  This accomplishes 2 things:  it gives your subconscious all night to work on the problem, and it also allows you to hit the day running when you wake up in the morning.   Try it for a week and see how it feels.

6) Manage Your Life

Take control of your schedule and give yourself time to take breaks, exercise, spend time with family, engage in sports or spiritual activities – whatever helps you control stress and enjoy life.   Motivation is easily lost if you get out of balance and don’t take the time for other aspects of your life that are important to you.   In today’s corporate environment where teams have been “downsized” drastically, it is easy to get caught up in trying to get it all done.  Likewise, business owners make the mistake of spending too much time working in their business, not ON their business, often resulting in them having just another job where they are trading hours for dollars.  Take stock of how much time you spend on different activities and compare that to what you think is really important.  The more this is out of whack, the more stressed, unhappy and unmotivated you will be.

Motivation is the power that creates action.  If you are not as successful as you would like, then take a look at your own level of motivation.  If you are like most of us, you have some days where you are inspired to take action, and others where you don’t want to get off the couch.  Your challenge is to find ways of getting motivated and staying motivated, so that you can consistently take the actions that will lead you towards the success you crave.  The 6 steps of self-motivation listed here will help you on that journey.

2 Common Characteristics that Will Crush Your Chances of Success

walking on glassHave you ever walked on glass?  Not just a single piece, but a BIG pile of glass?  I was at an event with a room full of people, all faced with the challenge of walking across this river of glass, and how each person dealt with this was decidedly different.  They say “how you do anything is how you do everything” and so this exercise was a great example of how you deal with your fears.   One woman was extremely afraid, yet she raised her hand and asked to go first.  Another person moved to the end of the line and told everyone around her all the reasons why she didn’t think she could do this.  We saw some who gingerly took baby steps in excruciating slowness, and others who walked across briskly. 

 So how did I do?  I’m an extremely logical person, so the talk track in my head had me convinced there was nothing to fear since this was a stunt being done over and over at seminars like this across the country, and if they were continuing to do this in hotel rooms with no medical personnel standing by it was highly improbable that people would get hurt.  Even with that, the first step was the hardest.  Once I took the first step to get the feel of the glass, I was able to walk through all of it without any fear at all.

 Fear is the #1 killer of dreams. 

 You may be afraid that you will fail, or that you will look bad.  You may be afraid to actually succeed and then have to live up to a higher expectation.   If you are not feeling the butterflies in your stomach, you are not setting your dreams big enough.  Everyone feels fear, no matter how successful.  It is just at different levels.  While one person might feel fear about speaking in front of a local networking group, another might be nervous about speaking in front of powerful business and government leaders.  It’s all about perspective.  Feel the fear but do it anyway.

 So what is the 2nd success crusher?  Procrastination!

In that same event, a woman was offered her choice of 3 prizes. Her husband was in the room also, and so they went back and forth trying to decide which of the 3 prizes she would claim.  After a few minutes of this, they were given 3 seconds to choose, and then the next person would get to claim her choice.  As you would imagine, the 3 seconds went by with no decision, so the 2nd winner picked her prize.  At that moment, the first winner decided that she wanted that very same prize, but it was too late. By procrastinating too long, she’d lost out on that prize.  This happens all the time in life, where you analyze and think and ponder without taking action, and by the time you decide to take action the opportunity is lost. 

 To deal with procrastination, you need to manage yourself.  What does that mean?  Let’s explore two different causes of procrastination and how you can manage them.

  •  The task is too big and overwhelming.

 If you know you need to do something, but it seems daunting in size or complexity, you will procrastinate.  Maybe you don’t have the skills, knowledge or resources you need, so you put it off.  The very best way to take this is to break the task into much smaller actions you can take to make some progress.  For example, maybe your goal is to become a public speaker and you don’t know where to start.  You don’t just walk out on a stage with 1,000 people in the audience.  You start small, perhaps finding a local Toastmasters group in your area.  Take the first step, and before you know it the rest will follow.

  • You don’t see immediate value in it.

 Here is the case where – in your mind, at least – the pain of doing the work outweighs the perceived value.  Take for example, you say you want to lose weight, yet you can’t pass up that piece of pie with dinner. You value the current pleasure of pie more than the future pleasure of being slim. Managing yourself means putting less focus on the immediate “want” and more on the “should” to achieve your future goals.  Commit to yourself what you will achieve, and put a system in place to measure it. 

To be successful in anything, you need to conquer fear and procrastination.  Learn how to manage yourself even when you are feeling fearful, and take the right action anyway.  Take that first step, and all the rest become easier.