Archive for July, 2009

Cocky vs Confidence

July 30, 2009

There is a big difference between being cocky and having confidence.

Cocky is bold, brash, and brazen along with sassy and saucy. There is self-confidence well hidden under the behavior but it manifests itself rudely most of the time.

Self-confidence is confidence in oneself and in one’s powers and abilities. It’s being secure and having assurance in oneself. Self-confidence is sexy. Self-confidence is classy.

When we look at many athletes, we only see their cocky side; their swagger, the sly smirks on their faces, revealing arrogance and pride. What we often don’t understand is, that’s just a misguided mask of “real” self-confidence without a place to rest.

What’s more important for an athlete is possessing true confidence; when he knows for certain his abilities and strengths and how to fully utilize them. Every athlete needs an abundance of confidence to rise to the top in his sport.

As entrepreneurs and business people, confidence is absolutely essential to our business success. We need to know who we are, what we are capable of and what talents we have to successfully execute our tasks. Take a few minutes to complete the following exercise:

  • List your three top character traits.
  • Complete the sentence: I never shy away from _________.
  • List your three most valuable strengths.
  • List five life-talents you have (what you’re naturally gifted at).

See…you’re pretty terrific, huh? Stand tall in who you are and what you do best. Focus on those things and more abundance of every kind will flood into your life.

We should still also seek to improve our weak points and develop into a better, more balanced, enriched person. Focusing on our weaknesses though will stall our game and cause us to lose yardage. There I go with football analogies again, but you know what I mean.

Being cocky turns people off. Being confident attracts people to us.

Give confidence a permanent home in your heart and mind today.

Time for a Time-out

July 23, 2009

A time-out in football is a break in the action by either team or an official. It gives both teams a few seconds to gather themselves and strategize their next plan of attack. It can be prompted by the officials to give them time to analyze a play and make a determination. It gives the fans a lull in their adrenaline rushes.

A team can prepare for time-outs by orchestrating plays that gain large chunks of yardage. A team can also conserve their time-outs by simply moving the ball down the field and scoring.

When was the last time you took a time-out to evaluate your business plays and to plan your next system of action? How often do you take time away – a personal retreat – to analyze, strategize, prioritize, and harmonize?

I urge you to take at least one day a month to get away from your desk or workspace to clear your head and re-set your personal business clock. Then, take at least one weekend a year to go somewhere relaxing and have your own personal retreat.

If you have a family to care for, it might just be a day trip. You can prepare for your own time-out by orchestrating client work flow for maximum efficiency and productivity.

Analyze – What’s working and not working in your business? Which marketing efforts are producing the most results? Which efforts are more trouble than they’re worth? Is it time to outsource some mundane tasks to free you up to use your strengths more effectively? Do you need to eliminate some non-productive tasks? Draw a line vertically down the center of a page and make a list of your answers.

Strategize – Make a list of what you want/need to accomplish in the next year. Use strategic planning to map out the most important projects that need to be done to take your business down the field to the next level. Make a list of what you can do to not become intellectually and emotionally stagnant in your business and life.

Prioritize – Write down  three important action steps you want to accomplish tomorrow. Next week. Next Month. Next year. Arrange the list according to priority – what will make the big play for you? Do those first.

Harmonize – List ways you can bring more balance to your life. What can you build into your daily schedule to aid in balancing your work and life? Taking an hour a day to stretch and exercise? Taking 15 minutes to meditate or read something inspirational? Taking 5 minutes to just breathe deeply? We humans are at our best when we have a balanced, harmonized life. After all, we take time to eat and brush our teeth. Make harmony a daily routine.

Instead of putting yourself on a chair in the corner, take a drive away from your workspace to re-focus on what’s important in your business and life. Accept a break in the action.  De-toxify yourself from the daily addiction to adrenaline. You’ll return refreshed, renewed, and revived to take on new challenges with relentless pursuit.

Is it time for a time-out?

Mixing it Up on the Playing Field

July 11, 2009

A basic fact about football is that an 11-inch long ball bounces funny. How does a coaching staff develop a strategy that compensates for an odd-shaped ball that bounces funny? Depends on the coaching staff. Some like to run, some like to pass, some like to mix it up.

Teams that can both run and pass are the most successful. Teams that can play effectively in icy weather as well as scorching weather will have a better chance at victory. Teams who have superb running games in cold weather will most likely dominate, just as teams who play in domes on artificial turf will have an edge with faster players. Of course, it also depends greatly on the talent of the team. Combinations are important: Consider the former combined talent of Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, Brett Farve and Dorsey Levens, Joe Montana and Roger Craig.

The best way to plan a game strategy is first to know the “personality” of your opponent, both strengths and weaknesses, and then for the offensive line to ask the question: What do we do best, run or pass? After all, those are your only choices to move down the field, no matter what your strategy.

On the business field we must ask ourselves what our strategy is on a daily basis. We need to know as much as possible about our opponent (competition) and how a strong game plan can dominate our arena.

Ask yourself the following questions to analyze your game and make it the best it can be.

What do I do best?

Am I focusing on those things?

Are you reading industry-specific playbooks to further your field knowledge and motivational books to keep you and your team going?

Do you use combined talent with those you partner with?

Do you mix it up on your playing field by choosing a combination of running and passing strategies (creative problem-solving) outside the box?

Do you conduct business on a mundane and predictable basis?

The truth is: Life bounces funny. There’s never just one way to accomplish a task or solve a problem. Start using a run/pass game to mix it up on your playing field and I bet you’ll find the spark you need to win daily success.

Protecting the Dream by any Means Necessary

July 11, 2009

In the old days of football, receivers used a substance called Stick-Em, a sappy concoction that would make the ball stick to their hands, allowing them to make one-handed catches easily. These days, possession receivers will sometimes wear gloves that have sticky palms so when a leather ball on a dry day hits them, the ball sticks on the glove, making it easier to catch.

Coaches are always admonishing players to protect the ball by any means necessary. We’ve all seen the horrifying plays when a great pass is intercepted by the opposing team. Or maybe when a running back is not protecting the ball well and it’s stripped away from him in an instant.

It’s the same thing with your dreams. The ball represents your dreams and when you watch a football game, it should remind you to protect your dreams by any means necessary because you see what can happen when you lose the ball.

Let’s face it. It’s exciting to birth a new vision or dream and by nurturing it and feeding it, we watch it grow and develop, just as we would a child. It’s ours and it’s special.

I have found that not everyone is worthy of sharing my dream with.

People with small minds, content to live a life of mediocrity, will scoff at your dream. Others will remind you of mistakes you’ve made in the past and admonish you to forget your dream and play it safe. Still others will attempt to rip that dream out of your hands with relentless pursuit.  Maybe it’s because it reminds them of their own lost dreams or because of insecure jealousy or a cynical outlook at life.

It’s important to have teammates in your life who will aid and defend you as you move your dream forward. Share your dreams with people who truly value you and who will help protect your dream with unflinching devotion.

When I think of moving a dream toward the goal line, I think of Barry Sanders who played with the Detroit Lions. Swivel hips himself, Barry went every direction on the compass but he always ended up going toward the goal line. With his ballet-type moves, Barry was a delight to watch in replays over and over in slow motion.

You may have to move in different directions in pursuit of your dreams but as long as you’re moving toward your goal line, you’re doing well and you will win your game.

So, protect your dream by any means necessary. It’s YOUR dream and you deserve to see it fulfilled.