You Wanna Get Ripped?

Body Pump Class There’s a weight training class at my gym that I love because it’s like having a personal trainer put you through a tough workout. It’s always a full class, no matter what day, which is an environment that gives me a tad more incentive to keep going one more rep – I mean if THAT girl can do it…

At one point, years ago, I had my personal training certification, so you would think I could easily do these workouts on my own. Sure, I could. I know how. But I never push myself as hard or as far. I can get in a good workout by myself, just not a great one.

It was the day after class earlier this week, while walking to get lunch and as my glutes, quads and hamstrings, et al were letting me know how great a workout it had been, when I started thinking about the correlation with business.

First, you’ve got the people who show up at the gym, get on the bike, open a magazine and kind of pedal along as they read. Those are the ones I want to shake and say, HEY, what-are-ya-even-doing-here?! Get MOVING or give up the bike to someone who’s gonna USE it. I’ll assume you’re not one of those types and move on.

Then you’ve got the people who read the fitness magazines or do a few sessions a year with a personal trainer, just to stay up on trends and techniques. These are the equivalent to the business owners who study and learn all the strategies and tactics for creating a successful business.  Is this you? You find out what to do and set about implementing everything on your own for good results.

However, if you want great results, you need to put yourself in a setting that inspires you to push just a little harder on a regular basis. You join the classes, you work with a trainer regularly. In business, you get around other owners and entrepreneurs in a structured setting. For me right now, it’s a group called Her Corner, a local, face to face network of women business owners who are all committed to helping each other build thriving businesses. We meet in person in our local groups every other month, as an entire area group on the other months and connect via our closed Facebook group regularly.

For Kris, it’s a similar community in an online only format. And for Jason, it’s an informal group of colleagues nationwide who meet three times a year and talk by phone the other months. To be clear, what we’re talking about here is not the same as a team of people or employees who help you do the work. This is a person or group to sustain you as the business owner.

It comes down to accountability and support. You need both. You need someone standing in front of you, encouraging you to do ONE. MORE. CURL. driving you beyond your comfort zone. Someone challenging you to add another zero to that annual revenue goal. Reminding you of why you’re doing this – whether you want to look good in that bathing suit or create a legacy for the next generation.

Then you also need someone making sure you’re using correct form, spotting you on those last two bench presses so you don’t get hurt. That’s the person checking in at the end of the day to confirm you’re stepping away from the computer and spending time with your family or pushing you to take a few days off when you’re on the verge of burning out.

You want to get a good workout or a great workout? Put yourself in the right setting to see the results you’d like.

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The Art of Persuasion

Book Cover, The Art Of PersuasionNo one had to persuade me to read this book. I’ve been a fan of Bob Burg’s since I met him at the West Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce about 14 years ago. I’d just moved there and he was one of the first contacts I made. Good fortune, I know!

Bob is the consummate storyteller and he makes good use of that ability in sharing anecdotes to illustrate his points. You want to know how to deal with difficult people? Early in the book, he gives one of my favorite techniques for winning over someone who you may initially feel is an adversary. He calls it “Handing Over Power,” in which you disarm someone by agreeing with his point, and then asking him to help you. Then you employ the key words, “if you can’t do it, I’ll definitely understand.” I have remembered Bob’s advice and used that phrase to great benefit on numerous occasions.

You want to know how to best phrase questions to get solutions that work for you? Chapter 4 is titled “The Art of Making People Feel Important,” something we talk about at Zen Rabbit all the time. Bob includes several examples here of how to negotiate, decline a ridiculous offer, ask for help and respectfully disagree. His recommendations allow everyone involved to retain dignity and find a workable solution.

Long-Term Persuasion Through Personalized, Handwritten Thank You Notes is one of the subtitles of this chapter. He applauds this tactic as a simple, powerful secret to long-term success and makes it clear he’s talking actual written on paper, sent through the mail notes, not emails. Hmmm, I may have heard this advice somewhere before. Sounds like all the successful kids are in agreement on this idea!

You want to know how to set yourself apart from all your rude fellow citizens? This book is chock full of ideas and examples, including letters and conversational responses you could swipe and deploy. Study what Bob teaches and you’ll be well-positioned in business as well as other areas of your life.

Some Days it’s More Difficult to be Grateful

Truth be told, some days it takes more effort to find things in your life for which to be grateful. Everyone’s on his or her own path and some people are more “enlightened” than others, but even those with a high level of awareness have their challenges. So what’s a person to do during difficult times?

Change how you’re looking at circumstances. Wayne Dyer said when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. The circumstances that surround you right now do not define who you are. If a client is upset with the service you’ve provided, it doesn’t mean you are a terrible, incompetent person or your business sucks at customer service. Maybe that client isn’t your ideal and is giving you the opportunity to see that and initiative to move on to find other people who are. Aha! You can be grateful for the insight.

Not to get all preachy and just to bring some perspective, I was half paying attention to the recent Carnival cruise line story and how atrocious the conditions on board the ship were after it was disabled. My friend Dawn, who does a lot of work with African refugees, posted a comment on Facebook about how much of the world lives in similar surroundings ALL THE TIME. Yes, I’m sure it was mighty unpleasant and it’s a shame their vacations were ruined. But it was for a few days. You will get off the ship and go home to all your modern conveniences. First world problem!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying anyone should feel guilty or bad about having everything we have in the developed countries! Let’s get back to the topic at hand, which is finding gratitude even on the more difficult days. Can you be grateful for running water, a warm blanket, a hot cup of tea? Focus on feeling good about whatever it is you DO have. Say a quick prayer of thanks for even the smallest, potentially overlooked thing.

That complaining client highlights how wonderful some of your other clients are. Send those wonderful people a heartfelt note or gift to let them know how much you appreciate them. Consider the deal that fell through, the one you’ve been working on for months and really, really wanted, to be a blessing in disguise. Something better is on its way.

I was reminded of such a situation the other day when I saw a For Sale sign in the complex where I’d made an offer for my first townhouse. I was so disappointed when they rejected it and frustrated for days. But a few months later, my husband and I found one that was nicer and a much better value. Thank goodness those first sellers rejected the offer because now, years later, I see how that place would never have worked as well as where we ended up.

Yes, some days the things you have to be grateful for appear to be less significant than other days. Be grateful for them anyway.

Anyone Can be a Philanthropist (Yes, Even You!)

One day last week Success in the City hosted the monthly CEO Chick Chat, where Cynthia de Lorenzi interviewed Community Foundation for the National Capital Region Executive Director Terri Lee Freeman. The two discussed how philanthropy has changed over the years. In the past, philanthropists were thought of as being super rich people, like Rockefeller or Getty or Vanderbilt. Today, anyone who can contribute can be considered a philanthropist, regardless of how much or how little they have to give.

That’s kind of cool. Anne Frank wrote she believed that people are basically good at heart. I agree. And I think they truly want to help others. Look at the outpouring of support that comes whenever there is a natural disaster somewhere in the world. People donate their time and money no matter what the economy is doing; maybe how much they give is affected, but the fact that they give at all doesn’t change.

Terri Lee Freeman encourages people to donate whatever they can because even small donations can have a big impact. So often I find people don’t know what they can do or don’t think they can do “enough,” which makes them feel a bit powerless. The big lesson from the CEO Chick Chat conversation is really that “together we can do so much more than we can alone.” Just do something!

I recently participated in a campaign Marie Forleo was promoting with Kiva. Are you familiar with Kiva? It’s a non-profit microfinance program that allows you, as an individual, to lend as little as $25 to someone who needs capital to create a better life for him/herself and family. How amazing is it that you can contribute even a few dollars and make a big difference in someone’s life?! Of course that’s just one cause and there are thousands of good ones.

You may have heard me talk about my personal (and thus Zen Rabbit’s) commitment to improving worldwide literacy. If you have a business, are you using your business as a vehicle for promoting philanthropy? There are so many good role models in this arena now. Think Ben & Jerry’s, Tom’s Shoes and Newman’s Own. Those three are all using different strategies in their efforts and they all work. It’s about what is authentic for your business.

What is your philanthropic philosophy?

Worthy of the Time of Your Life

I saw a TV commercial yesterday for a new movie coming out in a few weeks, called In Time, where time is the currency. It looks like everyone has a certain bank account of time that they can spend. So for example, a cup of coffee costs you four minutes of life. I’m sure there’s more to this action movie than that, but the commercial, on top of all the articles about and tributes to Steve Jobs I’ve read this week, got me thinking.

What if you measured the value of everything you did against how much of your life it would take? Would you make different decisions or decide differently? Think about evaluating a new project not by how much money you’ll make from it, but by how many hours of your life you’ll be giving up for it.

What if instead of assuming you have “forever,” you came from a place where you worked on a shorter time frame that makes weighing every decision on the time factor real, let’s say one year. So you have one year to spend – 8760 hours – 525,600 minutes. Would you use your time more wisely? Spend it more on what really matters to you and what brings you enjoyment?

Is trolling the aisles and racks of Ross for a bargain a good trade of your time for the savings? It might be if you enjoy the hunt. Is Facebook worthy of the five or ten hours of your life you give it each week? Is working an extra two hours tonight more fun than playing with your child? Constantly ask yourself if what you’re about to do is worthy of your life.

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something…” ~ Steve Jobs

People who’ve been diagnosed with life threatening diseases go through this process of evaluation, but you don’t have to have a diagnosis to put it to work. Maybe a year is even too long a time frame. Start with a month, or even a week. Evaluate from this new perspective and see what happens. See how your choices change. It’s your life. How will you spend the currency?

Going the Extra Degree

Sunday, July 31st is the 212th day of the year. This may only be relevant to people who know about the 212 concept, about pushing things the extra degree. As Sam Parker (originator of the message) says, “212 is a simple message that reminds us of how a small amount of extra effort and attention can have a big impact on results.”

It starts with the basis of water being hot at 211 degrees. Once it gets to 212 degrees, it boils. When water boils, it produces steam. And with steam, you can power a train. That one extra degree makes all the difference.

Challenge yourself. To what can you apply ONE extra degree of effort and make a huge difference? Just when you think you can’t do anymore. Is it one more phone call, one more push up, one more minute of listening to a friend? C’mon, you can always eat just one more (yeah, now we’re talking, right?).

Have you seen the three minute 212 movie preview? Take a look here, (never mind the commercial) and watch it the whole way through.

Then share. What are you pushing one degree further?

Oh, and if you want to know more about 212, the extra degree, see Sam’s website: http://bit.ly/pjVajT

The World Is Freaky Beautiful

This is the title of my friend Evan Griffith’s blog. He and I connected through a mutual contact years ago and then lost touch. Weeks before I moved from South Florida, we ran into each other in the waiting area of our mechanic’s shop (crazy how the Universe works, huh?).  Seems we’d been following similar paths of personal development and self discovery and we had a lot to discuss over a subsequent couple of lunches.

Evan hadn’t yet launched his blog then, but he has now and he’s been quite prolific. Good stuff here and I encourage you to check it out. Especially the May 14, 2011 post, because he based it on one of our conversations about spiritual and life teachers.