Archive for January, 2010

Half-Time

January 30, 2010

Whether a team is winning or losing…it’s inevitable…half-time WILL come. It’s a time when sports announcers  banter with each other and aggressively give their take on what’s happened in the first half. It’s a time when advertisers unashamedly flaunt their wares with multi-million dollar ideas. It’s also a time that coaches have to lay groundwork for the second half of the game.

Coaches are well aware that they have only 15 minutes at half-time to:

  • Analyze the competition and make necessary adjustments
  • Refresh, rest, and rehydrate the team
  • Motivate and focus on team strength’s
  • Keep their game face on while players offer feedback

Half-time often comes to businesses too. You’ve gone through the opening kick of start-up, you’ve toiled through the downs of marketing attempts and client interaction, and have more than likely reached the goal line of an increased client base and referrals.

Now, half-time comes and you find yourself needing to do all the above bullet points. I’ll break them down so you can go into your second half, revived and ready to give your all.

  • Analyze the competition and make necessary adjustments. Have you looked at your competitors’ websites lately?

Their call to action? Special offers?

Are there any adjustments you can make to keep yourself ahead of your competition?

Perhaps a website copy analysis? A press release to announce your latest product/service offering? A revised auto-responder to draw in a greater number of respondents and increase sales?

  • Refresh, rest, and rehydrate. How many hours a day/week do you work? I’ve consistently worked more hours than I ever have since I’ve been an entrepreneur. I attend a 6:00 a.m. resistance/strength training class to energize me for the first part of the day. I take an afternoon break during my body clock’s dip time, then it’s back to work until around 7:30 or 8:00 p.m.

The more I move up the field as a self-bosser, the more I realize I need to aggressively take time to relax and refresh myself. I have to make a conscious decision to get up at least once an hour and stretch, I need to re-fuel with food every 3-4 hours, and drink plenty of water.

I’m talking to myself when I tell you to take a break and read for 30 minutes. Go for a short walk. Eat a little chocolate (I don’t have any problem with that one). I’ll often take Friday afternoon off to pick up my 6-year old granddaughter for a sleepover. Of course, the piggyback rides and chasing games serve to exhaust me to new heights.

  • Motivate and focus on your strength’s. You’ll find plenty of ways to motivate yourself, you just have to look around. A simple Google search will produce millions of results of motivational content to uplift and inspire you. Also, make a list of your strengths.

It took those strengths to start your business and it takes your strength and talent to manage it. After all, what do football players think about…how inadequate they are? That they have no talent? Huh, I don’t THINK so or they’d have a one-way ticket out of the NFL.

  • Keep your game face on while others offer feedback. If you want to improve your business, you’re going to have to ask for feedback from your clients, your peers, and your mentors. How do you react to feedback when it’s less than what you expected? What if the feedback comes from a trusted source and is still not what you wanted to hear?

Do you keep your game face on or fall apart?

Do you get mad and hurl negative comments back?

Do you wince and glare with nonacceptance of critical comments, even when they’re meant to improve your game?

You can do whatever you want to with your game face in private but keeping your game face on in public is essential to show that you’re a professional – teachable and humble.

Half-time can be a time of commiserating, re-hashing mistakes, mishaps, or a symphony of woe-is-me’s, or it can serve as time well spent. How will you spend your next half-time?

Player Down

January 12, 2010

Player down are the two words no coach, player, or fan wants to hear. When Al Michaels, Phil Simms, or any other announcer says those dreaded words, all action stops – our eyes are glued to the field in hopes the injured player gets up and walks off on his own accord. Trainers rush. Medical personnel hover.

Of course, there is the dreaded fear of “the cart.” Definitely not a good sign.

Throughout a football player’s career, he may suffer injuries such as multiple concussions, broken collarbone, broken ribs, broken nose, broken thumb, broken legs, torn ACL/PCL’s, groin pull, hip pointer, turf toe, shoulder dislocation and torn rotator cuff, not to mention all the hamstring, calf and back mishaps that can happen.

As entrepreneurial business people, we believe “Player Down” would never be part of our vocabulary or experience. But it is.

We can and do suffer injuries of the heart due to discouragement and disappointment.

We can suffer broken trust when we deal with not-so-honest vendors or clients.

We can suffer dislocation of our time when we lose focus and go in a direction that isn’t in line with our goals and objectives.

We may even need “the cart” when we’ve experienced a major setback.

Just as a player can’t avoid sudden injuries (after all, it’s the nature of the game), we can’t prevent outside circumstances beyond our control from dealing a crushing blow on our business or personal life. Players have a team of experts immediately at their side, to tend to their injuries and provide the safest, fastest way back to wholeness.

What can we do to recover from our own cry of Player Down?

1. Stop. Be still. Breathe. Acknowledge it happened. Give yourself the gift of time to gather yourself.

2.  Forget the stiff upper lip, be honest that it hurts, try a little transparency and give the key people in your life a chance to uplift and encourage you.

3.  Put one foot forward. When you put one foot forward, the other one will naturally follow…in forward motion. Step out to the library, a new networking group, a cooking class, or just around the block. Do something or go somewhere you wouldn’t ordinarily go, even just for a few minutes.

4.  Keep yourself on the active roster. Travel somewhere you’ve never considered before (even a day trip), change your scenery, eat somewhere new. Get your endorphins involved by daily walking and gym time…keep your body in motion.

5.  Just let it go. Holding onto hurts and heart/trust injuries holds you captive. Re-hashing and re-living setbacks prevents you from using that same energy on new, positive directions. I’m not saying a major devastation or loss is not painful. I’ve had plenty to deal with during my 53 years. But, once you’ve felt all there is to feel about it, what purpose does it serve to stay down?

It’s time to just let it go and move on to living new life chapters, in full color. Greater self-discovery will present itself along the way if you let it.

Once you’ve come to terms with whatever happened; acknowledge, be transparent, keep your forward motion, make sure you stay on the active roster, and then just let go. Really enjoy what new opportunities, people, and discoveries come your way!