Sales pro’s – It’s good to talkJune 22nd 2011
Salespeople are often seen as solitary beasts, preferring to work alone as sole contributors to their particular territories and targets. Sales managers and directors, too, often run their teams as tightly run ships that are largely off limits to the rest of the company. It’s partly why sales has been seen as a ‘black art’ and not the replicable, scientific set of processes and skills that we now see playing out in modern sales theory and practice. While there are those high performers who still run their own operations and refuse to share their expertise and knowledge, they may not be tolerated for much longer as firms strive for wider, replicable top-class selling across the salesforce.
In turn, there is a much wider discussion now about the current practice and future of sales and marketing, with a ramp up in books and articles on many aspects of the disciplines, more training courses, more seminars such as the ISMM’s own series (which are increasing in frequency this year), and of course many online resources such as blogs, forums such as LinkedIn and copious comment and research from firms such as Miller Heiman, Huthwaite, Forrester, Gartner, IDC and others.
Of course, the internet has to some extent sparked the interest in exchanging information, but it is much more a driver of change in itself – the advent of so-called ’sales 2.0′ and all it means in buyer behaviour has provided a huge amount for us to talk about as the traditional world of selling changes dramatically. There are many other changes in recent years that also impact on sales and marketing – boom and bust, buyer professionalism, company regulation, privatisation, education in schools and colleges, demographics, customer service expectations, venture capital trends… the list is endless and feeds much debate and discussion.
Then there are all the traditional issues and questions, such as are salespeople born or made? Is sales talking to marketing and vice versa? How do you make the step up to sales management? And so on. The truth is that these questions are being hotly debated now more than ever, not only because a new generation of professionals needs the answers, but also because the way that the issues are addressed do change over time.
It’s evident from discussions on the ISMM’s LinkedIn group – membership of which is now over 1,000 after a few months of promotion – that both traditional and new issues are indeed in vogue. People still want an insight into improving presentation skills, getting sales reps to do their reporting, overcoming blockers to personal progress, how a salesperson’s job is defined, cold calling, and so on. But there is also strong interest in topics such as the latest CRM systems, new conferencing tools, how prospects are buying in the current business climate, new lead generation techniques, social media (of course), and much more. Notably, there is still ongoing interest in researching the factors that make a good salesperson, suggesting that the attributes in 2011 are probably different to those in the 1980’s.
In addition to seminars, executive forums and of course the yearly Successful Selling conference (which now has workshop sessions), the ISMM has also started a number of regional networking groups. These are just starting to take shape but there have already been successful meetings with themes that reflect ‘hot’ issues that many sales and marketing people are facing now.
It seems that sales has moved from being a relatively isolated profession to one where people are finding a lot of value in networking. Many successful junior salespeople have of course always latched onto mentors and coaches, usually in their company, but the less formal environments of online forums and networking meetings offer a much more diverse experience, often from very senior professionals working in different industries.
For salespeople working in smaller companies, in particular, such networking can be invaluable when dealing with complex issues in a long sales cycle, for example. Further, large sales organisations can be surprisingly inward looking and can benefit from fresh thinking from outside. In any case, another factor that has certainly increased in recent years is extended or virtual teams in bid and delivery work, with constantly changing partner companies and freelancers involved in each deal. Networking also serves to drive new business as well as to discuss issues, as few firms can afford not to look for talent that helps win more deals.
The talking will no doubt continue apace.
Taken from our magazine Winning Edge.
Published six times a year, Winning Edge is distributed to all members as one of the benefits of membership.
Tags: meetings, networking, peer, sales
Creating Cults, Finding Randomness & Maverick GeniusesJune 9th 2011
Image by the99percent.com
1. How Do Maverick Geniuses Get Created?
Since it was founded in 1861, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has boasted a stunning capacity to produce graduates who go on to found profitable, innovative companies. “If the MIT was a country, it would have the 11th highest GDP of any nation in the world.” In this piece, The Guardian takes a look at what gives MIT an edge. Not surprisingly the school’s curriculum focuses on doing, not dreaming:
From the moment MIT was founded by William Barton Rogers in 1861 it was clear what it was not. It was not like the other school up the river. While Harvard stuck to the English model of an Oxbridge classical education, with its emphasis on Latin and Greek as befitted the landed aristocracy, MIT would look to the German system of learning based onresearch and hands-on experimentation, championing meritocracy and industry where Harvard preferred the privileges of birth. Knowledge was at a premium, yes, but it had to be useful.
2. Does Great Hiring Mean Creating A Cult? (Yes.)
Via Sebastian Marshall, I recently stumbled on this piece by veteran entrepreneur Steve Newcomb, which dispenses some wonderful, no-nonsense advice on how to hire well and how to work through your anxieties as a business owner. Don’t be deterred by its length, the whole thing is worth reading.
Steve on managing your start-up anxiety:
Whenever people ask me how I make it through, I always say the same thing. Sit down and write down the shit storms that you are worrying about and divide them into two list. Those that are under your control and those that aren’t. Then focus on the list that you can control. If you stare at that list long enough you’ll realize a commonality. That the solution to every single one of them begins with having a team that is rock solid, one that isn’t afraid of challenges and one that believes in you as a founder. If you do this one thing right, it will steady you and calm your mind enough to face and conquer any challenge.
Full article at the99percent.com
Beyond the Sales Team: A Whitepaper by Huthwaite InternationalJune 8th 2011
Huthwaite International have released a White Paper which examines the findings of an independent survey undertaken recently, which seeks to separate myth from reality in the critical aspect of the seller/buyer relationship and looks at what organisations are doing to adjust to a shifting commercial landscape.
Download or view, HERE
Tags: sales team, whitepaper
What Motivates Sales People? Results / Analysis / CommentaryJune 2nd 2011
There continues to be debate about what motivates a sales person, or indeed any professional. Does how the sales person is compensated make a big difference? Does marketing drive sales or sales guide marketing? Why are there no (or few) professional qualifications for sales people? Is it all about the money? (Read this post before you answer.) How come there are no standard measures? How can I get the most out of the sales team I have?
The results to this year’s survey are in, and whether you agree with my analysis of the results or not, the important action for you to take right now is not to sit back and go “Hmm, that’s interesting”, but rather to think about what it means to your organization.
The poll that I used on LinkedIn was simple with one question and four possible answers:
What motivates sales people?
- Compensation or Incentives
- The thrill of the chase
- Making progress or winning
You may have seen in a previous post the summary of the early results. This was the second annual survey on this topic and the results are interesting. 481 people responded to the survey – which, for those who don’t like the answers and wish to dismiss the results as being insignificant, is more than the 384 sample size required to provide a 95% accuracy assessment, according to a statistical significance calculation.
Full story HERE
Tags: motivation, sales
A Blueprint for Social Media ContentMay 18th 2011
A fascinating insight into Corporate Social Media based around the story of The Wizard of OZ.
From DemingHill -
During the final week of our recent “Winter that would not end” here in Cleveland, I had the opportunity to curl up with my wife and two tweenagers and enjoy what the Library of Congress has named the most-watched motion picture in history, “The Wizard of Oz.” Even though 72 years have passed since its premiere in 1939, the lasting legacy of this iconic Technicolor musical as a cultural landmark and generational touchstone is so powerful, that even superlatives laced with hyperbole still feel vaguely inadequate in describing its impact.
While screening this classic for the first time in a decade, I was captivated by the elegant proportion of the film, exquisitely balancing colorful and colorless, pacing and pausing, dialog and dancing, script and song, and countless nuggets of ageless wisdom scattered amongst an alternating comedic/dramatic backdrop and fast-moving plot. It was while weighing these counterpoints of memes and themes that I paused to consider whether there might be some timely lessons for social media content lurking within the timeless dialog and melodic interludes of this cinematic masterpiece. As it turns out, in capturing the universal human struggle within the classic storylines of good vs. evil and young vs. old, this movie provides a perfect metaphorical framework for distilling the foundational principals of effective social media content and endearing online community conduct.
Upon arriving through a twister of fate in the Land of Oz, Dorothy struck out on a journey to the Emerald City, and in the process befriended an unlikely band of fellow travelers. In each case, her generous instincts were to “give first” – helping the Scarecrow get down from his post to avoid getting attacked by crows, helping the Tin Man by oiling his joints, and offering to help the Cowardly Lion with his self-esteem issues. In giving first, Dorothy created a community dynamic of generosity and, dare I say, refreshing nobility. When each of these characters were confronted with this spirit of caring, their natural response was to reciprocate, with each internalizing her attitude of gratitude and making it their own.
Your social media content and exchanges should be marked with this same generosity of spirit and this same posture of giving. By thinking first about how you can serve the needs of others by bringing something of value to your community, you set in motion a positively reinforcing chain of value-adding reciprocity, wherein the needs of all parties will be met.
Be Going Somewhere
Dorothy was on a singular mission to get back to Kansas, and throughout the entire movie everyone she met quickly learned of her passionate desire to reach the Emerald City, to meet the Wizard, and to ultimately return home. In clearly stating where she was going and why she was going there (and after consistently “giving first”), she quickly created a loyal following of people committed to helping her reach her goal. Your strategy for social media content must reflect this same laser-focused mindset. If you are crystal clear about not only WHERE you’re going but WHY you’re going there, you enable people to understand both your direction (destination) and your desire (motivation), the combination of which assures the momentum necessary to get there, while attracting others to take up your cause.
Be a Thought Leader Not a Thought Manager
An obscure author penned these words in a 2005 blog entitled “Leadership Unleashed,” http://digitalcasserole.blogspot.com/2005/05/leadership-unleashed.html
“A manager is someone you follow because you HAVE to, whereas a leader is someone because you follow because you WANT to. Think about those pet owners you’ve seen walking their dog on a leash. How satisfying is it for the dog OR the owner, knowing that, if the leash wasn’t clamped tightly around the dog’s neck and held firmly by the owner, the dog would immediately bolt and never look back. Now contrast that with the joy and freedom of a dog and an owner out for a walk without a leash, free to run and play. The net result, a “walk,” is still the same, but the experience is incomparable; transformed from pride-swallowing drudgery into a mutually satisfying exchange. You don’t follow managers – you report to them, you obey them, you cc them. Most managers are only “in charge” because they “hold the leash” and have the ability to reward or punish those beneath them. A true leader is the one with the confidence to remove the leash, in fact, to not even OWN a leash, confident that their vision and direction is so compelling that people will follow voluntarily, convinced and motivated on an individual basis that, by following, ALL will be better off.” And later, “Managers say “Go,” leaders say “Let’s Go!”
Throughout the entire movie, Toto was never on a leash. However, what’s interesting is that while Toto spent the first part of the film constantly running away, once Dorothy decided on her quest, Toto never chose to leave her side – and this phenomenon was seen replicated in the others as well. Dorothy was on a mission, she knew where she was going, she communicated not only the where but the why, she created a culture of generosity by giving first, and she showed how each individual could benefit by joining her. As such, she was a perfect example of what it means to be a servant leader – and what happened? Each character internalized her vision and made it their own – to reach the Emerald City. In fact, “We’re off to see the Wizard” became the guiding unifying refrain throughout the entire film for reinforcing and focusing their efforts on their one, common, shared goal. Notice, too, that it wasn’t “I’m” off to see the Wizard, but rather, “We’re” off to see the Wizard, and their whole-hearted buy-in to her vision was evidenced when the Scarecrow and Tin Man propagated Dorothy’s goal, inviting the Cowardly Lion to join them – in joining Dorothy – to meet the Wizard of Oz.
This model perfectly encapsulates the way community really works – both offline and even more so online. If your content or digital communication attempts to manage people, or FORCE them to do something, their natural response will be to resist – that’s just how we humans are wired. However, if you create and communicate a compelling vision to achieve something of value, invite others to join you in the journey, and design a model whereby others also personally benefit by participating, you demonstrate true leadership and are rewarded in return with true community. The “Like” and “Retweet” practices are perfect examples of this, whereby people voluntarily choose to share information of interest or value that they’ve Stumbled Upon with those connected to them, as a way of advancing the message or vicariously advocating that content.
Have a Brain
Scarecrow: “I haven’t got a brain…only straw.”
Dorothy: “How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?
Scarecrow: “I don’t know, but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?”
An obscure author once wrote, “I believe that, just like some people shouldn’t be singing in public, some people shouldn’t be writing in public either.” Online blogging and publishing has turned the Internet into one giant Karaoke contest, whereby anyone with a computer or smart phone has the ability to broadcast whatever thought comes out of their head or mouth to a worldwide audience. This is both good news and bad news. It’s bad news because it creates exponentially more noise and clutter online, but it’s good news because the bar is now so low that the contrast with genuine talent will be much more pronounced.
You social media content needs to drip quality, not only in the creativity of the concepts, but also in the construction of the content, to reflect a refined wealth of insight and intelligence. I’ve written over the past five years under theSoundbite Laureate pen name, a moniker hand-picked for use in the Internet age, as it communicates and combines timeliness with timelessness, sizzle with steak, satire with science, and searchability with sensibility, as it relates to my personal writing style within the emerging “infotainment” sub-genre. To be effective, your content must also aspire to achieve that delicate balance, combining critical keywords with compelling content to reach and add value to your communities.
Have a Heart
Wizard of Oz: “A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”
Wow, if that quote doesn’t move you, I don’t know what will!
I don’t want to belabor this point, as it is pretty straightforward, but for some reason it is often these simple ideas that are the hardest to understand. Social media content gets messed up by so many organizations because they try to sterilize it, reducing all of their communication and exchanges to corporate “brochure-speak” in an attempt to mitigate risk. What happens instead is just the opposite. In an effort to contain risk by revealing as little of their true brand voice as possible, their efforts backfire and, in fact, actually increase risk by becoming so benign and un-engaging that the market instead turns away, in favor of a more personalized experience elsewhere. The lesson here is that we all have a heart, and we shouldn’t be afraid to reveal it, because it is only when your audience connects with the pulse of your message that they can become the valuable and passionate brand advocates, brand evangelists, and brand ambassadors that you desire.
Wizard of Oz: “You, my friend, are a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate impression that just because you run away you have no courage; you’re confusing courage with wisdom.”
For your content to be relevant on the social media landscape, you need to have the courage to stand for something. There is no such thing as a “jack of all trades” anymore, because there are just too many trades! Don’t be a generalist. A niche has power. I’ve had the opportunity to write a litany of business plans over the past 20 years, and have found that the process of deciding and specifically declaring what you DO always has the added ancillary benefit of determining what you DON’T do. Effective planning and strategy creates focus, enabling you to zero in on that finite set of things that you do really well, and those are the things that will define and resonate with your audience.
Career placement counselors will tell you they’d much rather work with a candidate looking for “An accounting role in the real estate industry” versus a candidate looking for “A job that pays.” Sure there will always be LION’s and Tigers and Bears on LinkedIn, but don’t let that impact your courage to take a stand and be counted as a specialist in your unique area of domain expertise.
If you say the words “Wizard of Oz” out loud, it comes out sounding surprisingly like “Wizard of Us,” and perhaps that homophone was not by accident. Like Dorothy, we have the power to go home anytime we want. You have the ability to connect with that single, authentic, unique brand DNA script, the one that accurately reflects who you really are, and is consistent with your inner self. That is the brand voice and the persona that needs to be consistently communicated in your content and throughout your entire digital footprint – even if it’s not perfect. Sure, it’s tempting to say, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” as we inflate our profiles, sensationalize our achievements, and photo-shop our pictures, but at what cost? And whom are we really trying to impress? I don’t know about you, but I would much rather connect with someone genuinely reaching out for help, versus someone projecting to the world, “I’ve got it all together, and don’t you wish you were me?”
In the movie, just like in life, there will always be good witches and bad witches, and when you’re authentically creating compelling social media content – passionately sharing your heart and brain – and doing it with courage, you will always have Likes and Dislikes; supporters and detractors. Expect it. Plan for it. Deal with it.
Wicked Witch of the West: “Just try and stay out of my way. Just try! I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little blog, too!”
Don’t try to be everything to everyone, because you won’t succeed, and you’ll drive yourself and everyone else crazy in the process. Be yourself, have integrity, and let the chips fall where they may.
It’s All About Story
At the end of the day, the secret to the longevity, popularity, and staying power of The Wizard of Oz is the fact that it’s just a great story, and if there’s one thing human’s love, it’s a great story. At the Content Marketing Institute’s annual Content Marketing World Conference (which I will be attending in September here in Cleveland ) Founder Joe Pulizzi has selected the centerpiece of great content – “The Power of Story” – as this years’ theme, and has invited some of the best storytellers in the business to present and lead over 30 breakout sessions and panel discussions. The emotion and connection resident within even the most primitive storyline opens up the floodwaters for brands and buyers to bond over shared emotions and interests, and it is this consistent fulcrum of “story” which serves as both the elixir and catalyst for activating our universal predisposition towards social interaction and community.
By focusing your firms’ content on the creation of great stories, you tap into the power resident within the telling and retelling of shared memories and experiences, and in the process, achieve all of the individual objectives listed above. If your story is authentic; if you story has heart, a brain, and the courage to stand for something, and if you clearly articulate where you’re going and “give first” along the way, you establish that essential trust and credibility necessary to position you and your firm in an influential leadership role within your niche or industry – with a loyal following of brand advocates and raving fans – and do so all from the comfort of your computer.
Remember, there’s no place like home…page.
Tags: corporate, instruction, social media
Infographic: Ever wondered how Affiliate Marketing works?May 18th 2011
Click image to view large.
From CoolInfographic -
Recently I designed How Affiliate Marketing Works for Internet Marketing guru Rae Hoffman-Dolan and her site:Sugarrae.com. You can see the high-resolution version here.
After spending over a decade in the Internet marketing industry, I think I often forget – and have failed to address – the most obvious question most folks new to the industry have about affiliate marketing.
When I appeared as a guest on Weapons of Mass Marketing earlier this week to discuss the topic of marketing affiliate programs, the hosts evidenced the importance of the often overlooked question by leading off their interview with a variation of it…
“HOW DOES AFFILIATE MARKETING WORK?”
No numbers, no statistics, no data visualizations. This infographic is visualizing a process, and I do many of these for clients. Business processes, strategies, workflows, business models, flow charts and explanations of how things work.
In this case, characters on a simple path visualizes a process of 10 steps. Way more interesting than a text numbered list in a blog post don’t you think?
You should follow Rae on Twitter: @sugarrae
Tags: affiliate, infographic, marketing
A Counter-Intuitive Approach to Making Complex DecisionsMay 18th 2011
by Maarten Bos and Amy Cuddy
When we heard that Barack Obama had chosen to sleep on his decision to authorize the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, we were pleasantly surprised. After all, “sleeping on it” is exactly what scientific research would prescribe when facing a complex decision, but it’s not often a path that leaders in high-pressure situations would take. Not surprisingly, perhaps, some pundits expressed outrage over Obama’s choice to press pause on the decision, calling him “feckless” andaccusing him of “leaving advisors hanging.”
Thankfully, few of us have to make decisions whether and how to kill terrorist leaders in our day jobs, but we all are faced regularly with complex situations that need our decisions. Oftentimes these situations are the ones we feel need a decision right away — either because of external pressures or because our “gut instinct” arrives quickly. But is sleeping on it the best way to make complex, high-impact decisions? Or is immediate decision making the best course for these situations?
In our experience as social psychologists studying human behavior and decision making, we think the evidence is clear: Sleeping on it was the scientifically sound decision for Obama and is the right course of action for anyone facing a challenging quandary. Maarten Bos, the co-author of this post, recently led an experiment that shed new light on the underlying mechanisms of why this is true — especially for complex decisions. The results were recently published in Journal of Consumer Psychology.
Bos and his co-authors found that during periods when the mind is “distracted” or not consciously focused on an issue (for instance during sleep), there is an active process that accurately weights the pros and cons of relevant decision attributes. Participants in the experiment were presented with information about cars. Some cars possessed many positive but irrelevant attributes, whereas others possessed fewer positive, but important attributes. Those participants who decided immediately chose the cars with many but unimportant attributes, whereas participants who were first given a task to distract them from the decision chose the quality cars. In short, sleeping on a decision allows us to differentiate between the vital and the irrelevant aspects, ultimately leading to higher quality decisions. Our unconscious can process large amounts of information — as long as we give it time to do so
So, what is the best way to approach complex decisions? We recommend you do these three things:
1. Take in all information. Obviously, before you can make a decision, you need to have the information. We should use our conscious mind to gather and encode all the necessary facts pertaining to a decision. Usually, some options can already be discarded in this stage — options that clearly violate a “decision rule” for instance “this apartment costs twice as much as what I can afford”.
2. Sleep on it. Now that you have all the necessary information, you need to process it. Because your conscious attention is limited, you should enlist the help of your unconscious. Conscious processes often disturb unconscious processes, so you need to distract your conscious mind.
3. Check the facts. Your unconscious can process large amounts of information, but it is not as precise as conscious thought. There is no amount of distraction that will help you answer an arithmetic question. Therefore, after you have made a choice unconsciously, you should check the facts of your decision consciously. Does your decision do any (serious) damage? Attributes are often interdependent – the value of one attribute influences the value of another: Do all the attributes of the choice, taken together, violate a decision rule?
Obviously, literally going to sleep isn’t always an option in the middle of the workday, but you can achieve a similar effect by going running, listening to music, or doing any other task that distracts you from the decision. After a period of distraction, one option usually feels better than the other(s). After you’ve gone through the three steps above, that’s the option you should choose.
So while the thorniest of problems naturally feel like the ones you should burn the midnight oil on until you’ve reached a decision, the science suggests a different approach — one that produces better decisions and better rested decision makers.
Tags: decision making, organisation, productivity
25 Instant Stress RelieversMay 18th 2011
Written by Melanie Kozlan, Four Green Steps
Hiding from the world under your pillows? Finding yourself having small panic attacks or just need to relax? Forget binge-drinking and saving up for Club Med, we have seven surefire ways to soothe your inner stress monster!
1.Take 30 minutes a day to organize yourself.
Making time to organize will make sure you are organized. Being organized will help you manage your time and make an endless task-list seem less intimidating.
Taking the time to eat properly will likely cut your stress in half; you’ll feel better and have more energy. Taking care of yourself is basically the antithesis of stress because you’re focusing on bettering yourself rather than spreading yourself thin. Try some of these delicious vegetarian recipes.
3.Consider a detox diet
Try a revitalizing detox to free your body of harsh chemicals and feel lighter, better and like-new.
4.Do something nice for someone else
Do-gooding is the selfless secret to decreasing your stress status. Not only will you gain karma, you will temporarily free yourself of your circumstances and have gathered a refreshing new perspective.
5.Free Association: Busy your hands & free your mind.
Perfect for anytime you need to relax or when you find yourself obsessing or distracted. Grab a pen (or your keyboard) and write yourself tired. Just write without thinking for twenty minutes, you will exhaust your stressful thoughts and generally feel better. Therapists recommend doing this on a daily basis, but it is also great when you find yourself mulling over isolated stressful incidents or are nervous about an upcoming event.
6.Sleep! But don’t oversleep!
You can’t sleep away your stress or hide in bed. Similarly, you can’t stay up all night and get everything done (or at least, not well). Get your rest, even take a 20 minute nap if necessary but don’t go to extremes!
Exercise is the ultimate stress reliever because you simultaneously release endorphins, increase your energy and build confidence. You’ll instantly feel better and be better-suited to handle any upcoming problems or projects.
8.Take a bubble bath
Bring the spa to you and soak away your worries. Plus it cuts down on your water and energy intake compared with taking a shower.
9.Take a walk
The quick break and fresh air will re-energize you and clear your mind.
10.Get up earlier
The extra half hour won’t make a significant difference on your sleep but it will make a difference on your attitude for the day. You will be more relaxed and better prepared; people who wake up earlier tend to accomplish more because you’ll have an “Up and at ’em” approach to the day.
11.Do something creative
Paint, garden, cook, feng shui, write haikus… No matter what you choose, doing something fun and hands on will make you feel self-satisfied and have a positive perspective for dealing with other things.
Music can easily lift your spirits and pose a stress lubricant for any situation (traffic, work, cleaning, jogging, cooking…) Listening to cheesy music and/or singing along is an instant stress destroyer. It’s impossible to take anything seriously when you’re listening to Richard Cheese or Wham!
13.Limit your internet and cell phone use.
Technology makes it incredibly easy to keep in touch with people. It is also an incredibly easy way to drive us crazy! If you find the sound of your phone making you cringe there are two easy ways to handle it: Turn it off for a few hours or change the ringtone to something that always makes you smile. Limiting your internet use is the best way to cut down on mindless procrastination and free your time for better things.
Laughter is underrated, particularly when dealing with everyday stress. Laughter lets us take life less seriously and gain an instant happier perspective, so make sure laughter is part of your schedule. Listen to stand up comedy at work, have a marathon of a funny show or re-watch your favorite funny movies. Or just practice your fake laugh until you laugh for real!
15.Call a friend
Even if you are addicted to text messaging, taking a break to call a friend will help get your mind off things and remind you that you don’t have to face the world alone! Plus it’s always great to catch up and shake off some stress.
16.Cut down on caffeine.
It may seem necessary to tackle your to-do list, but caffeine will only raise your anxiety and too much will make you feel cracked out and more stressed. Opt for herbal teas, cancel that extra shot of espresso or stick to decaf.
17.Start your day positive
Make a habit of doing something you love first thing in the morning, can you think of a better way to start your day? Instead of rushing to work, watch an episode of your favorite show, read, do yoga or anything that will put you in good spirits for the rest of your day.
If done wrong, you’ve wasted time and are more aware of your problems. If done right (and regular) you will feel in touch with yourself, relaxed and confident. Take ten minutes to just breathe, relate to yourself and clear your mind.
19.Concentrate on what you want to happen and not what you don’t
Take mind over matter and create a can-do mindset rather than a ‘I hope this doesn’t happen’ attitude. You’ll feel much more productive and less hopeless when you focus on what you can do and what you want rather than the worse case scenarios. Or take the Boy Scout method- rather than worry about the worst scenario, prepare for it!
20.Make time for what makes you happy
Dealing with a heavy workload when you’re happy and when you’re miserable are unthinkably different things. Make your happiness a priority and will benefit other areas of your life by pure consequence (unless what makes you happy leads to an unhappy excess).
Despite fear of falling into a rut, routine is the most basic way to fight stress. You’ll feel organized, healthy and more capable of handling anything thrown your way. A lack of routine can make everything feel messier than it needs to be.
22.Make time for friends and family
It will help you feel connected and not get lost in the everyday stresses of work and city-life. Make stress wait, not your loved ones; there is always opportunity to be busy, worried or anxious, so don’t worry about letting it take the backseat to the people you want to see.
Whether through yoga or just stretching out your limbs first thing in the morning or during break, loosening up will help your body (and mind) both energize and relax.
24.Don’t make things bigger than they are
Put things into perspective, it may seem like a huge problem, project or decision now, but how important will it be in a few months when you have new problems, projects and decisions? Don’t turn to Nihilism, but understand Kierkegaard’s greatest wisdom of life “Nil Admirari’ (Marvel at nothing) everything is the same even when it’s different!
Possibly the most effective way to instantly decrease stress, don’t be shy with hugs! It sounds silly but try it and watch your troubles disappear!
via Yahoo Healthy Living
Tags: health, productivity, stress
Creating Your Marketing RoutineMay 10th 2011
From BPlans ‘UpAndRunning‘, by Cindee Stephen
Think about the last time you made a big change in the way you run your business or perhaps even in your personal life. It’s hard to adjust your day to day habits. Sometimes we are even at a loss where to start. The same tends to happen with our marketing. Perhaps you have worked with a strategist like us to help you build the right marketing system for your business, but don’t know how to actually implement all these changes going forward. There seems to be so much ongoing content, “tweets” and updates to the website. It can all be overwhelming unless you can make certain elements part of your day to day routine. Here is a roadmap to your marketing routine
- Make the time. Let’s face it if you had a hot prospect that was looking at spending a considerable amount of money with you, you wouldn’t ignore them to go get toner for your printer. Yet when it comes to marketing – by far our biggest prospect for earning a considerable amount of money for the company, it always remains low on the priority list. So start treating it like a hot prospect.
Action: Book a recurring appointment with your marketing in your work calendar every day for at least 30 minutes and then once or twice a week for 1.5 hours each.
- Create your tasks. I love my Tasks feature in Outlook. It allows me add a task, make it recurring and prioritize it. I can even share it or allocate it with others. You can’t just expect, after all, to sit down to do your marketing and then wonder what the heck it is you’re going to actually do.
Action: Using a task program (or a spreadsheet) start by listing what you want to accomplish this quarter. Then back this up into monthly tasks, weekly tasks and possibly even daily tasks.
Full Article @ UpAndRunning
Tags: small business
How to Measure Your SuccessMay 10th 2011
Everyone measures success differently. Some people measure it by their net worth, others define themselves by their job title and career, and still others gauge it by their possessions, such as their house, cars, and jewelry.
While these may be outward signs of success that you can point to and show people, they may not be satisfying your deepest desires.
Success is often defined by our outside influences. But it should be defined by our own desires.
When we think of the trappings of success, we are often really thinking of other people’s perceptions. We do what we think we have to do so that other people look at us and feel envy – wow, what a nice car/job/bank account balance. If we were all hermits living completely alone, odds are we wouldn’t be pursuing those unnecessary luxuries quite so vigorously.
By viewing success from the viewpoint of another, we mire ourselves in someone else’s idea of success – and lose control over our personal destiny.
This lack of control can put us into debt as we purchase things we can’t afford, pursue an unfulfilling career path, and constantly chase what other people think success means.
The other downside of this approach is that it’s impossible to win. There will always be something more that you think someone else expects you to do. If you live by someone else’s expectations, you’ll never achieve “success” – you’ll only find more and bigger and harder-to-attain expectations.
When we personalize success based on our desires, we become content.
We don’t often think about success in terms of other people’s perceptions vs. our own, so take a minute to do an exercise with me and figure it out.
Write down everything you’ve done so far in your life that makes you successful from your point of view in one column and what makes you successful from the point of view of others in another column. Some of the things you come up with will fit on both lists.
Full Article @ MenWithPens
Tags: small business