If you’re intimidated by the thought of developing goals, relax. Instead of worrying, look for support and confirmation you are on track.
Here are five prompts to promote positive goal thinking:
- Place inspirational quotes in your workspace. Two quotes about goals that make me think:”Goals are a spiritual adventure, the adventure of becoming more of what we inwardly are. Goals are the way that we bring forth that which is within us. Otherwise it stays latent, it stays unexpressed.” Dr. Roger Teel“Goals are a means to an end, not the ultimate purpose of our lives. They are simply a tool to concentrate our focus and move us in a direction. The only reason we really pursue goals is to cause ourselves to expand and grow. Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it’s who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest and most long-lasting sense of fulfillment.” Tony Robbins
- Change your self-wording about your goals. Have you noticed “when you absolutely must,” you find a way? Because I’d made a commitment to blog daily in the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I completed a post after dinner last night, prior to quitting for the day. Think about those times when you’ve completed a goal or really followed through on a project. It probably wasn’t easy. Your language was likely different: more specific, more emotional. Use similar words/phrases to describe your current goal.
- Read motivational material about goals or goal achievers. Certain authors have a way of presenting information to make you think. John Maxwell, for one, writes about the mindset of leadership and the courage to make a change. His book, “Failing Forward” puts goals in perspective. Or, consider other motivational speakers/authors such as Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, or Deepak Chopra.
- View videos about goal achievement. Hundreds of inspirational movies and videos exist. They can help you focus, change your mindset, look at things from a different perspective. Here’s a collection of 30 short films from Simple Truths. One of my favorites is “212 – the extra degree.” Watch them all and come up with your own list.
- Study goal setting. As a student of goal setting, I frequently look at goals programs in an effort to take my own performance up. I can personally attest to the effectiveness of Coach Karen Van Cleve’s 100% commitment program. In Karen’s words: “The 100% Commitment Program is designed to give you clarity, tools, encouragement, and incentive to achieve your big goal.”
Choose any of these five quick ideas and you’ll likely find yourself moving from worry to action. I know. I’ve been there.
What’s your secret to setting goals?
Today’s post marks day five in a 45-day master marketing plan. Take your business to a new level in just one hour a day. Focus on one topic. Learn more.
When you’re developing your own collateral materials it’s somehow more difficult to get clarity on your differentiation. How do you assess your value, your differences? What is your unique selling proposition, your USP?
Try these ideas to stimulate your thinking:
- Let your customers define your value. Ask them. Prompt them. Survey them. Understand why they buy from you again and again. Use their words to solidify your offerings.
- Engage your employees, family and friends in a 360-degree review. Note how their perceptions of your business differ from your own.
- List your differentiators in plain language. No adverbs. No descriptive adjectives. Just the facts.
- Stimulate your thinking and energize your business with a focus group in which a panel of outsiders led by a facilitator talks about your business.
Look at examples
Look at exceptional businesses. Corbett Barr, an Internet entrepreneur and ThinkTraffic blogger, touched this subject with “10 Examples of Killer Unique Selling Propositions on the Web.”
Define with a ‘How-to’
Bob Bly, veteran copywriter/consultant, offers three tips on creating a unique selling proposition:
Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Each must say, “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.” Your headline must contain a benefit – a promise to the reader.
The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. Here’s where the “unique” in Unique Selling Proposition comes in. It is not enough merely to offer a benefit. You must also differentiate your product.
The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product.
Read Bly’s full post, The 3-part Formula for a Winning USP.
Incorporate your USP to overall marketing strategy
Marketing and leadership speaker, David Meerman Scott, puts it another way. In his free Marketing Strategy Planning Template he asks “How are you remarkable?” “What value do you bring?”
The template walks you through proof: credibility indicators, guarantees, testimonials, etc.
Each of these three experts bring different approaches to the question of differentiation. Now that you’ve identified your differentiators, how will you showcase them for the world?
Today’s post marks day four in a 45-day master marketing plan. Take your business to a new level in just one hour a day. Focus on one topic. Learn more.
Seriously. It’s that easy.
While paths may vary, the outcome – action – never changes. Until one begins, there is hesitation. In the words of Johann Wolfgang Goethe:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”
Situation: You’ve put off working on your marketing for some time. Pick one:
“I’m too busy.
“Really, I have to manage billable hours in this economy. When it slows, I’ll work on my stuff.”
“You know, I don’t really know what to do or I’d do it.”
“I’m researching the best solution for me. “
“Seriously, I’m up to my eyeballs. What would you suggest?”
“_______________” (fill in the blanks sounds more like me.
- Circle one excuse that applies to you, or write your own.
- Rewrite your excuse/thought:
- I’m too busy but I’m willing to dedicate one hour per week (15 minutes each day – or, some specific amount of time to my marketing.
- I’m thrilled to have work now. I know if I put a solid foundation in place I’d have even more opportunities.
- I don’t know what to do and I’m willing to learn.
- I’m going to begin. Action NOW works best for me.
- If I only took the time I spend thinking about this subject and used it, I’d be ahead. Starting now, I commit….
- Consider the Six Week Marketing Master Plan. Hundreds of coaches, consultants, freelancers, and service providers like you have made the commitment to devote one hour per day to up-level their business. Some make dramatic strides forward as a result.
When I met James he was a consultant who had earned $5,000 in the previous quarter. He studied The Six Week Marketing Master Plan and incorporated some of the ideas included therein. One of those ideas involved a marketing commitment. James worked diligently on his company. Six months later his quarterly earnings increased 300% and he attributes that to the commitment involved in week one. Learn more: http://www.sixweekmarketingplan.com
Disclosure: The Six Week Marketing Master Plan is an e-book I produced as a result of training hundreds of entrepreneurs for marketing today. I collaborated with Maria G. Nozza, a freelance graphic designer, owner of DesignPreneur who has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs with branding. Maria specializes in visual graphics and continues to study web marketing. I specialize in sales-building D.I.Y. (Do-It-Yourself) smart marketing strategies that combine public relations and social media. Learn more.
Initially, I resented turning off the smart phone and leaving my high speed connection behind. In retrospect, I’m thrilled to experience re-fueling.
For those who can’t resist the lure of the electronic, my recommendation is to go where it’s not. With no cell coverage and nothing but a dial-up, I left my usual world behind. (Kicking and screaming, I’ll admit, but behind, nevertheless.)
Even after returning to “civilization” on day six, I managed to continue my recess from the digital world. Minimal check-ins assured me that no disasters were in the making. I decompressed further.
Today (after 10 days out of touch) I’m powering through a list of deadlines and projects. Call me crazy, but that usual high shoulder computer hunch is gone.
Thanks to a vacation read of personal development expert Brian Tracy’s new book, “No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline,” I am more clear about priorities and on the lookout for the easy deterrents (excuses) I typically put in my own way.
“No Excuses” is divided into three parts: 1.) self-discipline and personal success, 2.) self-discipline in business, sales and finance, and 3.) self-discipline and the good life.
For those who like their personal development information in small, bite-size pieces, this book is perfect. It’s organized in an easy-to-understand style. Subheads highlight each of the 21 chapters. An action-list of questions follows, underscoring the information and reinforcing steps you can take to implement your own “no excuse” results.
I found the book quick to read, appropriately thought-provoking and persuasive enough to make me re-examine my self-discipline.
Motivational phrases such as, “If it is to be, it’s up to me,” are encouraged to promote responsibility.
All information is presented in Brian Tracy’s straight-forward, no-nonsense style through stories and examples, including some of his own experiences.
You could be disappointed if you’re looking for a quick fix. There’s none of that in No Excuses. Instead, a familiar conclusion:
“The first and best victory is to conquer yourself.” – Greek philosopher Plato (428-347 BC)
“No Excuses” from me today. How about you?
Cedar at CedarFIT uses kettleballs to create an intense workout for exercise participants. Prior to bootcamp at CedarFIT, I avoided kettleballs. My distrust came from a lack of knowledge and understanding of the training method. Once Cedar explained the efficiency I would gain with the tools, and I actually experienced the benefits, I became a fan.
The experience showed me how easy it is to rule out new methodology based on “we’ve always done it this way.”
A conversation with my coaching friend Karen Van Cleve highlighted the importance of verbiage in moving forward.
“I must,” and “I have to” comments summarized her view of the day. Would “I choose work better?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “must supersedes choice and I must get this done.” Karen talked with me about the brain and its function in connections. Her program, “Do it Yourself Brain Surgery” supports people to change the patterns in their brain and thus change their behavior.
Two small illustrations showed up this week to force me to look at marketing a different way.
In spite of feeling flexible, I realized my own beliefs could use a jolt of change. So, I encourage you to create a new pattern for yourself. Take the time to make a different connection. Is there a belief you need to challenge?
If you’re tired of the status quo and determined to generate a different result, when will you begin?
Fifteen minutes applied consecutively makes a significant difference over time.
I first understood this concept when I applied the 15-minute rule to a needlepoint project I detested. I set a timer and resolved to stitch for 15 minutes. Every day I could see the boring blue basketweave expand. In a matter of weeks, the piece was complete.
“Hmmmmmmmmmmm, I thought. That worked well.”
I expanded my “daily” notion to another impossible task: losing ten pounds. In a now-familiar ritual, I took 15 minutes to set my menus, plan my exercise and visualize my success for the day. I made a dramatic change within a 13-week time frame, meeting my goal and proving once again the power of small daily time increments.
When I read The Artist’s Way, I discovered a different version of my approach to success. Author Julia Cameron walks the reader through essays, offers tasks each week and suggests writing a minimum of three pages a day. The three pages consciousness stream of writing took longer than 15 minutes, but the effort forced me through a creative block and highlighted success through the daily application of self to task.
You’d think by now that I’d have the lesson down. In spite of previous successes, I too have to be reminded:
“Never underestimate a quarter hour increment.”
Just this week I agreed with my mastermind group to apply the power of 15 to a new challenge. Our discussion revealed difficult or stopped projects for each of us. We’re now on a 30-day quest. We committed to each other and put in a penalty for failure to meet the goal. So, is it working? Yes. I can report four pieces of progress for each of the four days to-date.
In a world with too little time one simple fact remains: daily work adds up. The power of compounding small increments is often underestimated.
Grab fifteen minutes almost anywhere: arrive slightly early for an appointment and take 15 while you wait on a luncheon partner; close your email program and take 15; get up 15 minutes earlier and take 15 for your project.
Do one small thing each day and you will move forward.
NOTE: Last November, I challenged myself with a 60-minute increment. The result was the Six Week Marketing Master Plan. The ebook, designed for small business owners without a marketing department, walks you through every step of a marketing plan in just a few minutes a day. Ready to try for yourself the power of 15?
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to slip out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” –M. Scott Peck
When did you last feel uncomfortable in a business situation? How did you respond to that feeling?
Karen Van Cleve, IAC Certified Coach, Results Coach for Robbins Research Company and owner of Live Well Coaching, prompts people to notice how they approach discomfort.
For example, if you have put off a decision because the time isn’t right, consider chunking the problem into smaller details. Karen suggests asking, “Why is now not the time?” Or, you might say, “Is there a legitimate reason to wait?” “Is there something I am trying to avoid?”
If you feel you need more time, ask, “Specifically, how much more time do I need?”
“Where will the time come from?” For example, if you think that things will be different in the month of May, define “What specifically will be different in May?”
Children offer us the biggest mirrors for defensive behavior: anger displayed with tears or pouting expressions, blame that includes shouting, excuses or stonewalling. Emotion in these situations covers for something uncomfortable.
Every day dozens of entrepreneurs hang out their shingle. Some dive right into the fray, savoring the action from day one.
Others perfect their collateral, work on materials for behind-the-scenes, continue to research some aspect of the industry and in general, avoid doing the sales to move their business forward.
Does one action seem more natural to you than another? Recognition and awareness of your patterned response is the first step to changing it.
When you notice feelings of discomfort, pause and define your moment.
In the words of Brian Tracy,
“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”
Sales guru Lenann McGookey Gardner, author of “Got Sales” provided a riveting demonstration about listening in an open question and answer session.
Her voice soft, her manner alert, Lenann interacted with participants. She got them involved, requesting permission to pick up a piece of paper, referring to facts divulged in earlier comments, using humor to poke fun at herself and point out a reaction for the group.
The professional came through at every point, from examples of leaving the perfect voice mail to calming the antagonistic prospect.
My light bulb moment came when Lenann talked about “pain.”
“The act of spending money causes pain,” she said. “These people are angry, even nasty, sometimes.”
“When you hear pain, ask about it.”
In “Got Sales” Lenann gives specific examples of what pain is:
- Things she’s having trouble with right now.
- Things she has had trouble with in the past.
- Things she is afraid she’ll have trouble with in the future.
- Things she has heard have caused trouble for other people like her.
“Selling is bringing his pain into your prospect’s front-of-mind awareness and getting him to focus on it. Pain is actionable when the prospect is aware of it and conscious of how much it’s costing him, whether that cost is monetary or just in reduced peace of mind.”
“People live where their pain is. Talk about their pain, and most people will get fully engaged in the conversation with you.”
Do you talk about the pain? Or, do you prefer a different approach, such as talking around it?
In a recent column entitled “Optimism not best cure” Corporate Curmudgeon Dale Dauten, syndicated columnist, said:
“If your company is failing and you need to find an optimist to cheer you up, you now know where to look – the bankruptcy court and the unemployment office are full of them.”
Dauten might have said: “Go where the pain is.” It just wouldn’t have sounded as good or read as well.
Pain can be pretty uncomfortable. It’s messy. It makes for tense conversations …unless you see pain as your friend, as a signal to discover more.
When you bump into pain, you have the prospect’s attention. Don’t waste it.
Measuring excellence seems like a low priority when short term survival is in question.
In today’s economy, firms are stretched thin: thin margins, short staffs and impossible deadlines.
Defining target customers works as far as it goes. The problem is the difference between targets you seek and the ones you take?
While the black and white answer comes easily in print, in practice it may not be as seamless.
Benchmarks in marketing, sales and finance make the difference. Each of these elements play a part in your success. Your definition now makes future decisions easier.
If the question is, “Do I miss a deadline or hire an additional contractor?” both marketing and finance come into play.
As a service provider, for example, my customer service dictates the success of my business. Hiring an additional contractor may shave margins this month, yet save a customer for the future. This type of short-term sacrifice for longer-term gains relates to personal value choices.
We’re all familiar with those who say anything to get the order: the web designer who tells you the site will be up tomorrow and then disappears for two weeks, or, the trainer who accepts a series and then takes another, better-paying position that conflicts with the first.
If the question is, “What does your word mean?” clarify the process with boundaries. Impossible promises such as “Sure, I can have the proposal by this afternoon,” do little to win additional business or even respect.
Examine the question before it becomes an issue. Boundaries to consider include any promises you’ve made in person, on voice mail, or in writing:
“We return all calls within two hours.” (NOTE: If, during a rough week you take a longer time to return calls, do you change the message or do you simply run out of integrity with your word?
“Your appointment time is x.” A coach I know explains that appointments are non-negotiable. She answers the phone even if she’d prefer to be quiet. She’s on. Her business must move forward.
“I’ll deliver the proposal on Tuesday afternoon.” If you can’t make the deadline, do you call ahead to move it? And, if you move the deadline, what then?
When does a boundary become a moving target? (I blog three times a week. I check social media three times a day. I publish one newsletter a month.)
And, when does that moving target impact your credibility?
Your word is your brand, one of your benchmarks. How does the reality of your word impact your business?
As Vancouver 2010 draws to a close, here are seven lessons for marketers to consider:
The value of practice. Olympic athletes train all their lives for a moment in the spotlight. They practice daily, drilling the basics of execution. In contrast, many in marketing expect to win instantly, sometimes never even repeating a campaign, let alone practicing it.
The importance of the game. Regardless of adversities, disappointments, or less-than-favorable conditions, the game goes on. Sports performance is not a given: favorites fail, miracles happen, unusual circumstances change outcomes. Yet, in marketing, performance is expected and many times the marketer is experimenting rather than executing a plan.
The advantage of focus. Rather than competing in every sport, athletes specialize. The more narrow the focus, the greater the chance of success. Many marketers feel they can do everything, thus hampering themselves with experimentation, and a lack of consistency and planning.
The lesson of competition. Consider Evan Lysacek of Team USA who won gold in men’s skating. Russia’s Yevgeny Plushenko sputtered, moaned and displayed every sign of a sore loser. Lysacek continued to take the high ground, saying favorable things about his competitor even when goaded to do otherwise by news commentators. As a marketer, how do you react to the competition?
How competitive pressures change performance. Some competitors do well under pressure. Snowboarder Shaun White bested his own performance to win gold in the men’s halfpipe finals just because. Men’s aeriel skier, Jeret Speedy Peterson performed the difficult hurricane trick to even though it did not earn him a higher score. Dozens of other performers in similar situations had disappointing results.
How crowd favoritism affects perfection. Curling or Nordic skiing doesn’t generate the excitement or public awareness as hockey or figure skating. Yet, these sports have a place as part of the Olympic whole. Similarly, the behind-the-scenes efforts of a customer follow-up plan may not draw raucous approval in the boardroom, while a series of Tweets could do that. The moral? Judge your marketing on its true worth, not its general popularity.
The advantage of support. Look at any event and see the coach, the parent, the spouse, the supporters behind the athlete. In the Olympics, as in marketing, your success is determined by those who surround you. From coaches with the wisdom of their own wins to family who believe in you, support makes a significant contribution to success. To market your business effectively, find your support.
What “Olympic moment” will you put into your marketing?