It’s Too Easy

The theme for 2012 is IMPLEMENTATION! In the past, I’ve been great at coming up with amazing ideas and plans. Implementing said ideas and plans, um, not so much. This is the year of finally implementing the good stuff. No one succeeds in life by just thinking about doing things. Implementation is the key. I know this. You know this. And yet still…

Even when you’re really passionate and committed to a business, a cause, a purpose, it’s possible to be distracted. Not only possible, I’d go so far as to say, likely. Why is that? Too many cool things going on around us? Maybe it doesn’t even have to be something cool, there’s just so much distraction, it’s too easy to lose focus.

I’m starting to think that as long as we’re aware this tendency happens, allowing ourselves to be a little tiny bit distracted isn’t all bad. Think about it. There’s SO much going on in this big, wide world we live in, so much to explore. If you put blinders on all the time, you might miss something that could enhance your life. At least that’s my positive spin on the deal.

Yes, I agree, if you are intent on a goal, you don’t want distractions to lead you off your path. So if you expect to be led astray occasionally by random shiny objects, you can take measures to minimize the effects. For example, it can be hard for me to write. I’m good at writing. I like to write. I especially like to have written. But the act of writing sometimes feels like opening a vein. (Ugh, that’s an ugly analogy! Whoever came up with that?)

To counter my tendency to find 217 things to do besides sitting and writing, (Make a cup of tea! Update the address on my CVS account! Read a random blog post!) I realized I need to allow myself a few minutes of distraction. Then close down the email, the web pages, the phone, everything that could lead me away from the writing. And write.

I’ve started the year scheduling everything into my calendar. Not just meetings or phone calls with others. I mean scheduling the writing time, the web site updates, the strategy sessions. So don’t call me on Monday mornings between 9:00 and noon because I will be writing. If you do call, and I answer, you have permission to harshly admonish me.

Guess what? More productivity. More implementation. It’s even gotten easier for me to start the writing and the words are coming to me more effortlessly – as long as I have my mug of tea at hand. Stay tuned because those ideas from past years are being brought to life.

What is your theme for 2012 and what are you doing to make sure you follow through?

What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From World Cup Soccer

Did you watch the World Cup match up between the USA and Algeria yesterday? Wow! What a game. In the past, I know a lot of Americans have complained about the “boringness” of a game that doesn’t have a lot of scoring. In this game, there were plenty of shots on goal, but it wasn’t until the 91st minute that the ball actually went in. (Click here to see the highlights.)

WooHoo! I was jumping out of my chair with excitement and it was even cooler to see the excitement Landon Donovan and his teammates felt.

The USA wasn’t favored to win. They hadn’t won any of their previous World Cup games this month; the best they’d done was tie. And for 91 minutes it looked like they were going to go home despite their heroic efforts. The score was 0-0, which on paper looks like nothing was going on. But as the announcer said, everything can change on a dime and all of a sudden, sweet victory!

Immediately, I thought holy cow, look at the lessons here for entrepreneurs and business people. So many times, we’re working, we’re working, we’re taking shots on goal, and nothing is coming up. We keep missing, coming so close. And then there are the unfair referee calls. (What was he thinking?!) The times when that account should have been ours. Or the vendor doesn’t deliver as promised and we’re the ones who pay the price for someone else’s incompetence or mistake.

Keep preparing. Keep going. Keep playing your heart out. It’s all about persistence. Well, that and then the use of the “secret weapon” that everyone with success I’ve admired has implemented.

Certainly Landon Donovan, the player who scored the goal, physically trains for this game. All the players are in top form. One of the announcers mentioned that he also mentally prepares using meditation and visualization. Aha! Not surprising to hear, just another reinforcement that quieting the mind and connecting to that unseen force, or spirit or whatever you want to call it, is at least as equally important as all the physical preparation.

The takeaway here is this. Make consistent mental preparation a part of your strategy. Then stay on the field, giving it your all, for as long as it takes to win. Because it’s not over till it’s over.

Need help with your meditation practice? Maybe you’ll find this ABC News video, “Going Inside the Meditating Mind” helpful.

What I learned from my 17-year old daughter

This is a story written by Zen Rabbit client Jane Daly from Bank of Sacramento. For readers of the mailed version of the Rabbit Rouser newsletter, scroll down 3/4 of the way for the rest of the story. 

My daughter is driven. She loved to set goals for herself and work to reach them. When she was in the 6th grade, she set a goal that she would get straight A’s from 7th grade all the way through high school. A lofty goal, indeed! In addition, she ran for student council president and was involved in student government all six years. She also played basketball on the school’s team. Community involvement? Of course! She was involved with the church youth group and participated in their fund raisers, community service and missions trips. Does she sound perfect? Hmmmmm.

Somewhere during the high schools years, Heather set her sights on being class valedictorian at graduation. At her school, this required a GPA of greater than 4.0. Advanced Placement classes allowed her to get more grade points for an A than in a regular class. School involvement also counted toward the valedictorian role. This was her new driving ambition! To stand in front of the whole school body, parents, teachers and staff and give a speech as the highest grade point student was now her goal.

As graduation day neared and the points were being tallied, it was clear that she and her BEST FRIEND were neck and neck for the valedictorian honor. Tension mounted, as you can imagine. Think about something you have wanted for a very long time; worked hard for; and suddenly it was within reach. So close you can grasp it. The culmination of six long years of toil.

Finally, a meeting was called of the top three students and the school administration. It was to be announced who would be valedictorian and who would share the salutatorian role.

As Heather’s palms sweated and her stomach jumped, it was announced that her best friend, Sara, was valedictorian. Heather was crushed. But she was able to wish her best friend well and congratulate her on a job well done. Sara outdid Heather by only 2 tenths of a percent.

In reflecting on this life lesson, I learned three things from my daughter:

  1. Have a worthy goal. Don’t be afraid to set a goal that is way out there. Can you imagine a 6th grader saying “I’m going to get straight A’s for the next six years?” As adults, we would want to caution, “Well, don’t be discouraged if you don’t make it. Things can happen between now and then.” How many times are we hesitant to set a goal because we hear those voices saying much the same thing: “You’re setting yourself up for failure! Set a lower goal! Don’t do it!” Set the goal and don’t let anyone tell you why it won’t happen.
  2. Once you’ve set the goal, keep it in sight and work toward it with all your heart. It will hurt. It will cause you to say no to some things that will give you a temporary good feeling. But remember Heather, who diligently did her homework, sacrificed some fun times with friends, and kept her goal in sight.
  3. Accept defeat graciously. I was never as proud of my daughter as when I saw that she was truly happy for Sara who won the role she had coveted for those years. She also fervently prepared her salutatorian speech and gave it her best effort. She was not ashamed to have come in 2nd place. If YOU set a goal and just don’t quite make it, accept that you gave your best effort and congratulate yourself on a job well done.