Focus, Focus

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” Tim Ferris

BlogPic-boost-productivityI love this quote by Tim Ferris, which I have also heard put this way: work smarter, not harder. We may spend a great deal of time working, but that does not mean that a lot is getting done. Productivity is the word we use to designate the quantity and quality of work that we produce. We want to produce better results with less effort.

The way to do this is to limit distractions. For myself, I can honestly say that I need some isolation to get my best work done. Even when I am working on team project, I need some time away from the team to produce my individual contributions. This time must be time that is spent without a lot of distractions.

Time-wasting activities are not only limited to interminable phone calls, emails and chats. They can also be “leisure” activities that creep into our work time. For example, it is almost impossible for me to get any work done when I am sitting in front of the television with my laptop. It is not because I am really watching the show; the television may just be one for background noise. However, every time a show or even a commercial comes on, my attention is pulled away. This means that I am spending far too much time in “mini-breaks” of even a few seconds. Every time my attention focuses on something else and I have to come back to the task at hand, I am essentially restarting my thought process. This is an incredible time waster that will eventually show up in productivity.

There is nothing wrong with leisure time, but make it real leisure time. Allot a certain number of hours per week for relaxation and fun, and do not let that relaxing activity creep into your daily work life. A time and place for everything, as our grandmothers would probably say!

The answer may not be the one you want to hear, but it is relatively simple: limit wasted time watching television or playing video games. Remain productive!

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Choose Wisely!

From The Moment We Wake Up Till The Time We Go To Bed,
We Are Continually Making Choices.

CHOOSE

Sometimes we choose wisely, other times we choose randomly. It is very important to know what our goals are if we want to be able to choose the right path forward. I love the story of Alice In Wonderland because there are so many truths contained in that children’s book! If you remember, at one point, Alice comes to a fork in the road and asks the Cheshire Cat, “Which road do I take?” When the cat asks the very reasonable question, “Where do you want to go?” Alice

Truer words were never spoken! Another way to put this is to say that if you have no idea where you are going, how do ever expect to get there? You can take the scenic route or the direct road, but you will not even know when you have arrived. Many people set goals in exactly this way: “I want to make more money.” That is not a goal. If I make $10 today and $11 tomorrow, I have made “more money” but neither amount will feed my family for a day! However, if I say, “This year I want to make $10,000 more than last year,” we now have a concrete, measurable goal that we can chart progress toward and know when we have arrived.

The most important thing to remember when we are considering “forks in the road” is that we are responsible for our choices. JK Rowling, a lady who is no stranger to success, said, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” If you believe this statement, it means that our choices actually reflect our inner person, no matter what the outside looks like. In fact, our outside will come to reflect our inside based on our choices to a large degree!

If you are at a fork in the road, set your sights on a goal. Work toward that goal and ignore the other things around you. If you do this, you will find that you are quickly moving toward a better you before you even realize it!

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Let the Past Stay in the Past

As Human Beings We Can Have A
Tendency To Dwell On The Past.

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We think about how we could have done things better or changed our actions to bring about a different result. I have been sitting around so many times picturing a conversation that has already happened and coming up with other, more brilliant things to have said. And to what end? This obsessive dwelling on the past is not helping anyone.

We cannot go back and change our actions; we can only look to the future and focus on real actions that could change our lives for the better.

Sometimes people stay focused on the past because they think it will define their future. They believe that whatever choices they made in the past have set them on one particular path that they cannot change. This is absolutely not the case! We must all stay optimistic about what the future holds, for we can always change our circumstance in some way.

As Buddha once said, “No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again.” All you need is a little encouragement and a positive outlook, focusing not on the past but rather the future and all of the possibilities that it holds.

There are so many people who have gone on from humble beginning to achieve great things. They never let their past define who they were going to become in their future. It is important to maintain a positive attitude because you can never be sure where your past will lead you.

The past can certainly be helpful to you in some cases, but it never has to be something that closes doors for you. As long as you stay positive and work hard, you can always find a way to bring about the future you would like to have, no matter what you have done in the past.

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If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Try, Try Again!

In this photo provided by the White House, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy is pictured in the first family's White House living quarters, June 19, 1961. (AP Photo/White House/Mark Shaw)

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis became the First Lady at age 31, but her greatest accomplishment, according to her, was becoming a mother. “If you bungle at raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much,” she said. While Jackie identified herself as a wife and mother first, she did go on to become a famous New York editor after the deaths of her husbands. Her persistence allowed her to maintain focus all her life on self-improvement.

Jackie once said, “What is sad for women of my generation is that they weren’t supposed to work if they had families. What were they going to do when the children were grown—watch the raindrops coming down the windowpane?” She has a valid point. If your life is outwardly focused—on your kids, your husband or even your job—what do you do when those things are gone?

There is also another lesson we can take from Jackie’s life. Your greatest asset, whether in personal relationships, business or any other area of your life, is your ability to choose a task and stick to it until it is accomplished. You will be amazed at how much you can get done just from sheer tenacity!

Bethany Hamilton, the young surfer from Hawaii who at age 13 had her left arm bitten off by a shark, is a shining example of sticking to your goals no matter what. She was back on her surfboard a month after the near-deadly attack and won the Explorer Women’s Division of the NSSA National Championships. Persistence paid off for Bethany, and it will for you too!

Showing persistence and maintain focus are key to achieving your goals. I do not know what your particular goals are, but I can promise you this: you will never reach them without persistence. The world is not designed to push you toward your goals; rather, the world pushes you away from the things that are good and exciting in your life. You have to push back against the current and ensure that you have the right attitude of tenacity and persistence to reach whatever goal you have in mind!

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NOW is Your Time to Be Empowered

There is one thing that defines a woman who is successful in her business and personal life…

Empowered

… and separates her from women who are not successful. Empowerment is the term we use to describe a woman who has been given the tools to succeed and has used them to attain her goals.  The empowered woman is a woman who is working hard and achieving the things she wants to achieve and who is enjoying success as she moves from one goal to another.  You may think that this does not describe you, but it could!

According to Steve Maraboli, “The empowered woman is powerful beyond measure and beautiful beyond description.”  If you have ever seen a truly empowered woman, you know that this is true.  Empowerment lends a beauty to a woman that she does not possess otherwise.  Therefore it should be a goal for every woman, no matter what her walk in life.
However, many women believe that being empowered is an accident.  They think that some women are lucky enough to be placed in situations in which they receive support from their family and employer and somehow become a great and successful business guru.  Actually, nothing could be further from the truth!  “To empower” is an action word, and it occurs when a woman takes control of her own life and her own destiny.

This is not to say that we do not have some control over empowering others as well.  When we empower someone through our words, actions or attitudes, we give them the ability to direct and control their own lives.  Empowering someone means setting them free to be what they were intended to be!

In order to enjoy empowerment, however, the empowered woman must take responsibility.  This means that she takes on the task of handling the things that directly affect her life and her goals.  Being empowered is not about being controlled, but being in control!  You have the power inside yourself to be whatever it is you want to be.  Do you want to lose 20 pounds?  Make $500,000?  Be a part of a successful company?  Have a supportive and nurturing relationship?  Whatever your goals are, they are in your control.  You make choices that determine whether you are empowered to achieve these goals or not.  Start today making the choices that empower you to reach your dreams, whatever they may be!

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What Are You Reading?

Ambitious And Successful People Read All The Time.

READ

What books are you reading to improve your knowledge? Of course, I hope that one of them is Ambitious Woman, my newest book!

David Bailey says, “The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.” Reading is the doorway to so many new thoughts and experiences that its importance cannot be underestimated.

It is hard for us to imagine that, only a few years ago, reading was not a common talent, particularly for women. No one really thought that taking the time to teach most children to read was worthwhile. Instead, they thought that teaching children a skill or a trade was paramount, as these children would have to earn a living very soon and would need those reliable skills to do so. It is easy to understand why people took this attitude but it is difficult to imagine how much those children’s lives would have changed if they had been taught to read. Who knows how many doctors, statesmen and leaders were lost simply because no one ever bothered to teach them to read?

When I think about this, I am so grateful that I was born and grew up in a time in history when teaching both boys and girls to read was taken for granted. There is no doubt in my mind that the ability to read is the difference between success and failure and the foundation for our lifestyles. We are all given the chance to expand our minds, but some of us refuse to do so for the silliest reasons possible: lack of time, lack of motivation and lack of interest.

It is important to clear this up immediately: reading is not optional if you want to be successful. I am not talking about reading quarterly reports, either! I am talking about the type of reading that takes your mind in a different directly, stretches your goals and introduces you to ideas which you may never have thought of before. That type of reading is the type that you want to do on a regular basis.

You can start with my book, Ambitious Woman, but do not stop there. Keep on reading and expanding your horizons!

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Live An Accountable Life

When You Live An Accountable Life,
You Not Only Take Responsibility
For Your Own Actions But Also For Those Of Others.

This may seem like a tall order, but it is important in your overall success that you understand the real meaning of “The Buck Stops Here.” Jeffrey Benjamin said, “Delegating responsibility does not diminish personal accountability.” Think about this: if you delegate responsibility, you must still be sure that you take responsibility for the outcome of the work and that means holding others accountable as well.

accountability 

In order to delegate but still maintain control, I like to have what I call an “accountability partner.” This person is someone who reminds you of your own responsibilities and you, in turn, remind that person of his or her responsibilities. This keeps everyone “honest.”

Think about this in terms with which most of us are familiar: diet and exercise. When you go on a diet or start an exercise regimen, it is easy to “cheat.” Therefore, many people choose a partner with similar goals and share their daily struggles with that person. If one person feels like cheating on the diet or skipping exercise, the partner is there to shore him or her up. This is a great way to find success in personal endeavors. Similar methods are used to stop bad habits like smoking or even to earn money for a worthy cause. The recent “ice bucket” challenges are a great example of this!

However, in business, an accountability partner has an even more important job. When we tell someone else what we are going to do, it is difficult to fail to follow through because, ironically, we are often more worried about what other people think of us than what we think of ourselves! Accountability to others helps us develop good habits, remain consistent and ultimately reach our goals. Therefore, it is very important to share your goals with the people around you. Explain that you want them to hold you accountable for meeting your goals and allow them to have input on your timeline and the reasonableness of your plans. If you have the support of your peers and if they are holding you accountable, you are far more likely to reach whatever goals you set for yourself.

Will you be my accountability partner?

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Taking Your Business Seriously

John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence. People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” But what does that mean exactly? That means taking your business seriously.

Blog 1 - Taking your Business Seriously Image

So, let’s talk about how seriously you take your business – do you make sure to use your influence to improve other people’s lives? Do you spend time developing leadership strengths in other people personally and professionally?

Do you focus on the personal and spiritual growth alongside the professional growth of those you’re leading? If you strive to become a leader that people buy into, I’d say you’re pretty serious about your business!

People see that you are serious about your business and they see the successful results.  If you are successful, people are drawn to you and want what you want. They begin to take you seriously and listen when you talk to them about a business opportunity. It is then, and only then, they buy into the vision.

Do you want people to take your business opportunity seriously?  Then you MUST take your business seriously! You cannot treat it like a hobby or a pastime and you must develop others while you develop your business.

Begin using your influence now and become a leader people buy into. Success follows.

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Failure is not Final

We Have All Failed At Something Before.

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Whether it has been a small or big failure, it is never a pleasant feeling to realize that you have not succeeded at something. However, failure is not final.

Just because you do not accomplish a task the first time does not mean that you will never find success in that area. You simply have not accomplished it yet, but given another opportunity you might be able to achieve what you set out to do. Failure is something to learn from; it is simply a stepping-stone to move you onto your path of success. Even if you fail at something, you have learned from that attempt, allowing you to take what you have learned and apply it to your next try. The important thing is not to give up.

Even famous people who we see today as being geniuses whose every discovery came easily to them failed at some point. Thomas Edison famously tried thousands of time before he was able to make the light bulb work. When asked about this failure, he would simply tell people that he had come up with thousands of not to make a light bulb. He kept trying and eventually was successful in creating the light bulb and is now remembered throughout all of history for this achievement. He believed in what he was doing and knew that eventually he could be successful.

Later on, Edison remarked, “Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” He truly believed, as do I, that you should never give up trying to achieve your goal. You never know how close you are to accomplishing what you set out to do, and if you give up once you hit a roadblock you will never know. All you need is some positivity and a change of outlook in order to continue pursuing your end goal. Always remember, if at first you don’t succeed, try try again!

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