Authentic expression

What the headline says is, I’m myself come hell or high water.
You, anyone reading this, needs to make that shift; if you haven’t. From, valuing other people’s opinions – of how you are living and what you are doing – and ask yourself what you want. When you’ve found those dreams, often buried under tons of excuses, you’ve found yourself. If you haven’t found yourself, you’re living by someone elses rules; and, really not making anyone happy by it, either; because noone in the world wants you to feel like that. It’s in your head – and the more you believe it, the more others will act as if it was true (because they have the same mental demons; that cause them to walk around like zombies and sheeps).

But, all it really comes down to, is this: if you’re not being you, then who the hell are you being..? Realize that, whatever you’re doing right now – that ISN’T what you want deep down – is a lie. A lie to whom? You, and anyone around you; because you’re not expressing your real feelings and thoughts and opinions. You’re not giving, to others, what you really are. …Who are you? Those dreams that come up when the mental noice is silenced.

My life has been very tough, a whole lot of times – and, sometimes, almost constantly for years (two last years, when trying to make this whole make-money-online thing work, have been really tough pretty much constantly). BUT – what I’ve found is, that real person  inside you never disappears; like a radio station you’ve forgotten the frequency for, all you need is tune into whatever it is you really burn for; what, which exists in your life or could exist in your life, would actually make you want to get up in the morning? All you really need is ignite that spark and, in your day job and everything else, just keep it lit. How? That will happen automatically once you’ve found that; realizing, what it is you’ve found, will become a burning need.

Honestly, I wrote all that as much because I need it, right now, as anything else. You see – you always have this big-dreams-personality waiting underneath all the excuses. I really think that, regardless of how high the pile of stinking mental garbage – of excuses and not living you – has grown, the real you is still hidden there, underneath.
Right now, my journey back to me circulates around building an online business, that allows me to travel the world, be who I want to be around people I’m attracted to, and just enjoy life. This business, needs to be based around making money by being me. Is that posible? Ask Rick Schefren; the guy behind more internet marketing gurus than anyone else. But – of course, the you making money, needs to be the real you; burning for what you burn for, living on your own terms; rather than the zombie-you. Whatever anyone has told you, you is what will make you money. If anyone, reading this, have tips regarding how to build this business – let me know!

I will consistently update you guys on what’s happening, what is going well and what is sucking (technical stuff, definitely) regarding this business-building. I will provide money-making tips, also, based on what some world-class ethical money-making people are teaching :) . If you, too, want a freedom business <a href=”www.moneymakingwithsimon.com”>go here for the perspective you need</a>

I’m really not sure what I’m going to write about, here. I’m out to give value, and give of myself; but not sure what the subject will be… Some of my interests are music, guitar playing (have my own method that, if you want me to, I could share), working out (could share an awesome home-workout method if anyone’s interested?), women, socializing, sports, traveling (it happens all too seldomly…) and…well, people really:) . What would you like to hear about?

A Brief Story on Perspective and the Valuable Lesson I Learned Saturday

You never know what someone’s going through.

I had a situation this weekend that I feel compelled to share with you.  I learned a valuable lesson on Saturday.

I was driving with my kids in the back.  They were in their car seats (they’re 2 and 3).  We were near the town square, driving on a pretty busy road.  There was a car in front of me about 30 yards.  The speed limit was 35 (not fast) and there were oncoming cars about 150 yards away.  The guy behind me sped up and passed me.  As he cut me off getting back into our lane, he nearly caused a big time accident with the oncoming cars.

I honked my horn and raised my hands to let him know that what he did was crazy.  I’m somewhat embarrassed to say this, but I followed this guy down the street as he pulled into his condo complex.  I’ve never done anything like this before, but the fact that my kids were in the car triggered something in me that was out of the ordinary.

When I pulled up next to this guy, I simply told him that what he did was ignorant.  He acted like it was no big deal and said I was driving too slowly.  There were some intense words traded back and forth, as I asked him if it was really that big of a deal to get home 5 seconds faster.

I then asked him if he had kids, as my point was to show him why I was so angry (because my kids were in danger).  At this point, this gentleman’s voice began to tremble and he was getting choked up.  He proceeded to tell me that he and his wife had just found out they can’t have kids.  He didn’t elaborate, but at that point my heart sank.

You see, I’m not disappointed in myself for confronting him, but it taught me a valuable lesson.  You never know what someone else is going through.  Maybe this guy had a bout of anger as he was driving and he decided to pass me.  I’m not condoning what he did, but I felt really bad about what he was going through.  I told him that I’d have him and his wife in my thoughts and prayers.  In a weird way, we had a connection.  He apologized and I did as well.

Next time you find yourself confronting someone, remember that they may be going through something traumatic in their life.  You just never know.  This experience has made me appreciate my kids that much more.  I’m reminded that having children is not a right, it’s an amazing blessing.

6 Ways to Get in the Zone

Do you know how to get in the zone? If you watched the US Open golf tournament, you saw an amazing performance by a 22 year old phenom, Rory McIlroy.  It was an awesome display of ruthless execution and laser-sharp focus.  The part I found most impressive was the rhythm McIlroy exuded.  It was as if he was in a flow state the entire tournament. He walked the same in between shots; his reactions were very similar after each shot.  Even the way he twirled the club after a perfect shot (which he had a lot of).  We can all learn a valuable lesson here.  Rory seemed relaxed all four days.  As I stated, he also had the focus of a champion.  Performance, especially at an optimal level, is very much related to your ability to relax and to focus.

David Allen talks a lot about this ability to relax to attain “mind like water” state as we perform at work and in life.  It takes time to learn this.  At first you may know what you have to do, but the execution is a whole other story.

To get from “renting” this flow state to “owning” it, here are some tips I’ve learned throughout the years:

  1. Have a plan – GTD at its core.  The more concrete and up to date your plan is (i.e.  Your goals/projects/actions), the more flow you’ll experience.
  2. Work in increments – I talk about this often.  Time yourself – work in chunks.  30 minutes on, five minute break.  Or, find what’s right for you.
  3. Take breaks and disconnect – Jack Nicklaus used to turn his brain off in between shots and focus on something other than golf.  I have a feeling Rory was doing the same.  Jim Loehr talks about this in The Power of Full Engagement when he first studied tennis players.  The one’s who had consistent rituals in between points allowed themselves to get back to this flow state when the new point started.
  4. Focus when necessary – Rory was focused when he had to be.  Each shot.  He got up, didn’t waste time and executed.  Channel this when you need to get after something.  My soccer coach in college used to say that once you get inside the chalk line at practice, everything changes.  It’s okay to goof around and turn your focus elsewhere, but once on the field, you’re focused.  I liken this to sitting at my desk.  That’s why I get up to take breaks every 30 minutes or so.
  5. Leverage momentum – When you’re banging out tasks, keep going.  Soon, one task turns into five and then ten.  Next thing you know, you’re executing and making things happen.  This is flow at its finest.  My Cross fit workouts are a perfect example.  It’s a set workout and you’re working out for a certain amount of time.  You go from one rep or exercise to another, leveraging the prior one to execute the next one.  There’s no thinking involved, it’s instinctual.  You just go.
  6. Breathe – Breathing is something we all need to observe more.  My normal breathe gets pretty short, especially my out breathe.  This causes stress.  Try extending your breathing.  A simple 2 minute exercise is breathing in for five seconds, holding your breathe for five seconds and breathing out for five seconds.  You will notice a more relaxed feeling.  When in the zone, you will typically have a lower heart rate.  This is simply attributed to being more relaxed as you perform.

If you ask anyone that’s been in this flow state, whether it’s an athlete or knowledge worker, they will tell you that time stood still. The more you can get into this state while working, the more productive you will be.  Notice when you can’t get into this state.  Maybe it’s a task or project that you’re really not committed to.  Maybe you should work on something else.  Of course, there’s times you just have to gut through some tasks that are must do’s.  Find what your 80/20 projects are and spend as much time as you can on those. That’s where you experience relaxed productivity.  For me, it’s business development projects/tasks at work and it’s writing when it comes to 1440.  I try to spend 80% of my time on these.

Think about this – what have you done that’s makes time stand still? Find more ways to spend your time in those types of environments.  This is the key to optimal performance at work/life.

Overcoming Challenges

Imagine having to drink your own urine to survive. Imagine breaking your own arm and feeling euphoria because it will help you survive. Imagine having to amputate that arm to live to see another day.

I had the privilege of seeing Aron Ralston speak in person recently.  For those that aren’t familiar with that name, you’re probably familiar with the story.  In 2003, while hiking through the Utah canyons, Aron’s right arm got trapped between a boulder and a canyon wall.  After 127 hours of captivity, he managed to escape by severing his arm with a dull pocket knife.  His story was the basis for the recent Oscar-nominated movie, 127 Hours.

I’ve been to many conferences and seen many $50,000 speakers.  Most are really solid, but Aron was the best I’ve ever seen.  His story….the perseverance and will to live are amazing.  As he said, we all have “boulders” in our lives.  And, we all have to find our way out from underneath these.  Although it’s hard to picture yourself in his circumstance, we can all relate to these “boulders” of life.

What I learned from Aron:

Our greatest challenges are many times our greatest gifts

It was amazing to hear him talk about the fact that he wouldn’t change a thing.  In fact he stated that this was the “greatest thing that ever happened to me.”   Aron continues to climb mountains and engage in extreme adventure.  With one arm and one claw, he is still crushing it.

You will face challenges time and time again.  They’re all tests.  What are you going to do about it?  Pack it in?  No, you’ve got to keep moving forward.  Step by step, inch by inch.  You can’t help what’s happened in the past, but you can control how you approach your circumstance today. Whatever you’re going through, take that one step forward.  You will be amazed at what one positive step can do for you.  It’s simply a matter of viewing your challenge as a tragedy or a blessing.

Vision is crucial

During his final day, he almost gave up.  He was out of water.  He had a vision.  It was of a little boy sitting there, a blue eyed boy.  He was visualizing his future son.  I get chills writing about it, because he showed a picture of his one-year old son (with blue eyes).  Leo is now one and was named after the courage he gave Aron in the canyon. It was this visualization that gave him the drive to keep going.  He said that once he had that vision of his son, he knew he was going to survive.

It’s a great lesson.  When you’re facing challenges, visualize yourself succeeding. Athletes do this all the time.  If you’re nervous about an upcoming presentation, visualize yourself giving the talk of your life.  Look back at a time where you felt great, exuded confidence and delivered.  There’s something extraordinary to visualizing success.

The will to love is greater than the will to live

During his ordeal, he thought a lot about his family.  His parents; His sister’s upcoming wedding and all the times they shared.  His future son.  His future wife.  All of these propelled him.  Sure, the will to live helped him get through this, but he said that his will to love was the real catalyst to survival.

It’s not what you do, it’s who you are

Aron talked about “eulogizing relationships, not accomplishments.” One of the things that got him through the 127 hours was videotaping himself and leaving a message for loved ones.  During these sessions, he realized that any accomplishment he had wasn’t close to the importance of his relationships.  Thankfully, he’s able to see that through for the rest of his life.

“I was going to see it through to the end.  You don’t get there when you quit halfway. “

There was a point in time where Aron Ralston almost gave up.  He was “standing in his grave” and on the fifth day he figured that was it.   He already surpassed the two days he thought he could survive, but he felt the end was near….going as far as to carve OCT 75 to APR 03 and RIP on the surface nearby.  You may be at this point at some time in your life.  Use the lessons from Aron to get passed these challenges and you’ll be better off for it.

So, what boulders are you facing?  What about your loved ones?  Pass this on to someone you believe this can help – you can use the email link below.  Thanks!

Four Quadrants of GTD

The GTD folks have put together a tremendous assessment that gives you some insight into your proficiency.  It’s a series of a questions that ask you anything from basic daily management stuff (your runway) to much higher level stuff (your higher level horizons – purpose, vision, etc).  For example, one question is “I keep up with my workload” and you rate it on a scale from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree.  This is a runway type question. Another example, at a higher level, “The key areas of my work and life are in balance.”  I’ve included a screen shot example below.  It takes you through a series of questions like this and at the end gives you an assessment.  With this, you get a great description of your results, as well as some ideas on how to improve in certain areas.

There are four quadrants.  Visionary/Crazy Maker, Captain and Commander, Responder/Victim, Implementer/MicroManager.  The X axis identifies your “Control”.  This is essentially how you manage your daily activities.  The Y axis identifies your “Perspective”, or the higher level horizons.  The key is to have the proper mix of both.

Like with any 2 x 2 chart, the ultimate goal is to get to the top right quadrant, this being Captain and Commander.  Getting here means you are working on the right things that align with your Purpose, Vision and Goals. This shows you what the quadrants are:

Here’s the key.  You will bounce around this chart.  And, no, I don’t mean every couple of months.  You will bounce around daily.  You may get to the office and have your day planned, your focused on moving your key initiatives forward (Captain/Commander), then all of a sudden your boss calls and wants you to present an update on a project you’re working on – in 30 minutes!  You move down to the bottom left quadrant (Responder) to get this accomplished.  At the end of that meeting, your boss asks you to put some thoughts together on another project that may be coming up (Visionary). You get the picture.

If you read my last post about Perfection, this is really a follow up to that.  You can’t be hard on yourself.  You will move from one area to the next.  As I said in that post, it’s all about having the confidence to get back to a place where you’re working on the right things.

I’ve included a link below if you’d like to take the assessment.  You might be surprised at where you’re at.  The quadrant above is actually my history of taking the assessment.  Although I’d love to be at the top right (Captain/Commander) all the time, it just won’t happen.  That’s the beauty of your work and life.  We’ll be presented challenges every day that test our abilities.  Do you have the confidence to weather the storm?

Are you addicted to perfection?

I refuse to use the word “busy” because in this day and age we are all in the same boat. This year has been an enlightening one for me so far. Truthfully, I decided a couple months ago to take a step back from the constant search to improve. I found myself constantly reading books on getting better at work and life. Also, consistently reading GTD material and listening to podcasts, etc. While this worked for a long time and I tangibly saw the benefits of my learning, I found that it became a vicious pursuit of perfection. The pursuit of perfection is what most of us are after. It’s a noble pursuit. However, it can be an addicting one as well. You can really equate it to a drug addict or alcoholic in some ways. I found myself constantly reading. Finishing one book and picking up the next. Constantly thinking about how to achieve this or to achieve that. At the end of the day, this pursuit of perfection is all about a future state. I found it very difficult to enjoy what was happening in the now.

As I got to this saturation point, I literally stopped reading, stopped writing and stopped researching ways to get better. I didn’t stop working hard, both at work and life, but I decided to just work for the now. To really see if all that I’ve learned and have applied via GTD and other methods was working w/out constantly needing a “coach” around. It’s almost like a golfer who always has his swing coach with him, or his trainer, or his mental coach. While all serve a great purpose, can that golfer produce results on his own? Can he go to the range and figure out how to change his swing w/out someone telling him? When he pulls his drive into the trees late in a round, is he mentally strong enough to recover and execute on his own?

The long and short of it is this. The time that you spend away from the chase is more important than the daily pursuit of whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. I firmly believe that. When you take a day off of work, don’t check your blackberry. When you’re on vacation, disconnect as much as possible. When you go to your kid’s soccer game, don’t even bring your phone with you – leave it in the car. When you’ve been working your butt off at the gym all week, take a day off and eat whatever you want. It will make it that much easier to get after it the following week. If you’re married and have kids, step back and don’t feel guilty about going away for a weekend with your husband or wife. It will make you a better parent and partner.

The same goes for GTD. Back off a bit. You don’t have to be perfect. Your systems are going to get out of whack. You’re email’s going to be out of control at times. Your office inbox is going to overflow. The key is to trust what you’ve learned. Trust that you can back off and apply your knowledge to getting yourself back on your game. It’s in this trust that the potential stresses of the craziness subside.

Be well and, again, thanks for sticking with me during this hiatus.

Outcome and Action Thinking

The two most important things to know when accomplishing any task is what the successful outcome is and what the very next step is. In GTD terms this is the “desired outcome,” or “project,” and the “next action.” Stephen Covey says you need to “begin with the end in mind.” If you don’t know where you need to go, you have no way to know how to get started. Think about it, if you’re going on vacation and you have to drive quite a ways, you would use a map wouldn’t you? That’s the beauty of a navigation system. You start by entering the finishing address (your desired outcome) and the very first instruction it gives you is the first action to get you on your way.

I actually like to take it step further when thinking about what I want to accomplish. I first think about what I want to accomplish (the outcome), then, what the very next physical action is. As we all know, many times there is more than one action to accomplish any project. I simply take a blank sheet of paper and start with the outcome at the top, the next action at the bottom and the build the other actions needed to get to the top. I find this clears my thinking and enables me to dive into the next action. A crucial piece to this is to file away this document in a project folder or in an automated format so that you can reference this when you’re planning the ensuing actions.

Let’s look at an example. It’s tax season. We all have to file our taxes by April 15th. The Desired Outcome is to “File Taxes,” that simple. I was a little stuck as to what all I needed to get this accomplished, so my next action was actually to brainstorm what would go into this. For this one, I mapped out from the top down. My brother is a CPA and does mine for me, so sending him my documents was the second to last step. Prior to that, making copies of all of my pertinent documents. Prior to that, gathering each document. Before that, I wrote down every category of document I needed (W2′s, Business Expenses, Donations, Mortgage Interest Statements, Capital Gains Documents, etc). Once I got through this, the next action became “review 2009 tax folders.” Thankfully, GTD teaches a simple, yet must-have reference filing system. Throughout the year, I file every donation receipt, every business expense and every document I receive that I will need for tax season. This makes the process pretty much stress-free. Once you build this out, it’s amazing how the stress disappears and you stop thinking about “all” you have to do. It can really be overwhelming if you don’t break it down into manageable steps and then identify the true next action so you can get started.

How to make a successful career in telesales

Although the field has received some bad press in recent times, there is no denying that telesales is a thriving industry in which to sell a product.

Although the basic wage for the majority of telesales jobs is often far from generous, it is still possible to make an incredibly decent living in sales jobs which have a quality commission structure.

Lighthouse

Top telesales staff can earn a salary above the UK average on commission alone as the majority of sales companies will allow your performance-based earnings to be uncapped.

However, telesales can be far from an easy industry to succeed in. Below are few skills which can be developed in order to build a successful telesales career.

Show Persistence

When it comes to telesales, UK businesses love employees who show persistence. Top sellers are fully aware that telesales is a numbers game and will not allow the vast number of rejections falter them in the quest for a sale. Remember the more no’s you trowel through the more positive responses you are likely to eventually find. Ask a sales manager what the average rate is for the sales team, then aim to beat it.

Be Likable

Although the majority of customers will show telesales staff immediate red lights, there are some that can be swayed from a no to a yes depending on the attitude of the sales representative. The best telesales staffs appear both likable and knowledgeable. Adopt a friendly tone on the phone at all times and make sure you know your product inside out.

Ask for business

One mistake a lot of telesales staff make is to wait for customers to say ‘I’ll take it!’ without taking the steps themselves to ask for the business. The most confident sales representatives use the ‘assumptive close’ by assuming that a customer is buying the product before they have even given a positive response.

There a plenty of jobs available in telesales for the right person so anyone who is set on a career in the field may even have the luxury of looking around to find the right company. Most sales staffs are attracted to companies who offer a competitive commission rate and a quality product.