So my question to you is are you green and growing or ripe and rotting? No, you are not a vegetable or a piece of fruit, but you either are taking action to improve yourself and your business or you are not. The difference is like that between talk and action. Knowing what to do and doing it are not the same.
You also need to think about whether whatever your doing is achieving your desired results. If not, why do you keep doing it?
If all I can do is write about what to do, but not do it, that is to my detriment. Sure, I like writing on these type of topics, which is why you are reading this today. But my goal is not to be a writer, but an attorney who is constantly trying to expand his network and develop meaningful relationships with the people I deal with. By doing so I have better control over my professional path and create opportunities.
One of the things I like best about what I do is meeting and working with all different types of people including other attorneys (really), accountants and other professionals, business owners, and many others. The diversity in the people I deal with keeps me engaged, interested and energized to keep networking. It keeps me trying new things in my effort to expand my network and develop interesting work for me and my colleagues. I always say if we were all the same the world would be a boring place, which I truly believe.
So are you the ripening banana looking better day by day or the old one on the counter no one wants to touch? It may only be a metaphor, but it is true that you either are improving yourself or not. If you do not do so you are destined to the life of the worker bee, which is not necessarily a bad place to be. But if you want to be higher up the food chain, no matter if it is in your profession, your company, or your industry, start by expanding your network and see where it can take you.
You might be able to baffle people with you know what initially, but it won’t last if you are all flash and no substance. If you make a sale by saying the right things, but don’t have the employees or equipment to correctly and timely get the job done, it will be the last time you work for that customer, or anyone that customer tells of your failure. You likely will lose business you will never know you lost. That is how reputation works.
Substance comes a number of ways. It can be through experience, or learning, or building on past successes. But every step you take forward will be lost if you are all smoke and mirrors. The point is not to mislead people about what you can do or your experience. You may get away with it once in a while, but it will hurt you in the long run.
And therefore you will hurt your reputation. Once your reputation is tarnished, it will follow you for a long time.
So respect yourself. Respect the hard work it takes to become a person of substance. If you do, you are heading in the right direction, and have or are building substance.
Don’t be a sloth! Delay rarely helps in any situation. We know disorganization leads to disaster. It not only can make you late on your commitments, it can adversely affect your business and personal life.
We live in a “what have you done for me lately” world that demands that expectations not just to be met, but exceeded. You can do this by setting expectations you know you can meet and hopefully exceed, because you are the one in charge of setting the expectations. Don’t meet them and your clients, co-workers, your boss, will see it as a negative. Why isn’t it done yet? What did you not get to because of your delay on one project?
So how do you do this? It depends on you. Will lists and calendaring items keep you on track to meet or exceed expectations? Do you need another person, an accountability partner, to help keep you on track? There are many tools to better organize and keep on task. You have to know yourself well enough to know what will and won’t work for you. Of course, you then have to put what will work in motion and commit to it.
So what can you do today, this week, this month, to better organize yourself and set yourself up for success on meeting and, hopefully, exceeding expectations? Answer this question, work it and see how it benefits you in business and generally.
If you are not sure where to start, I suggest you find someone you know who is successful and organized and see if they will formally or informally serve as a mentor for you. For insight on mentoring, I suggest you review my recent blog post “Why Mentoring Matters?” http://businesslawguy.com/2015/08/26/why-mentoring-matters/
Most of us had a formal or informal mentor, or maybe even more than one, over the years, who helped us along the way. What you learned may have related to your professional life, or to more general life issues, or both. But either way, the importance of a good mentor mentee relationship cannot be ignored.
The basis of the mentor mentee relationship is support and trust. It is an exercise in listening for the mentor because a mentor is more of a facilitator or guide, not simply an instructor. And it is not only the mentee who benefits from the relationship. This relationship helps both parties with their own self-awareness and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. By participating in such a relationship, you evolve in many ways that benefit both parties in the long run.
So, depending on where you are professionally or in life, seek out a mentoring relationship now. It will help you grow as a person and, whether you are the mentor or mentee, allow you to play an important role in another’s story.
If you are not sure where to start, feel free to reach out to me.
You have to do what you say you are going to do. Period. If you don’t, people you deal with will not trust what you say and probably not bring you their business or deal with you in the future.
Part of commitment is trust. Are you overselling just to get the job? What are the odds that if you do, you have any chance to succeed? The answer is simple, slim to none. And once you lose someone’s trust, all is lost.
This doesn’t mean you always will be able to meet your commitments. Once you know you may have a problem meeting a commitment, Let the other party know right away. Things happen. Reset expectations. It really is a situation where honesty is the best policy. It will earn you respect even if the other party doesn’t like the change in schedule or expectations. They will know you are a straight shooter.
But try not to let it happen often, or you run the risk of having the people you deal with doubt the commitments you make.
An example is that I committed, when I started this blog, not to overwhelm your inbox with emails posts. I believe I have stuck to that.
This is my first blog post in a few months. In Arizona, everything seems to slow down during the summer until early to mid-August, when school starts. By then, a lot of people are back from vacation, focused and ready for a good run to the end of the year.
I hope you have had a great summer! Here is to a productive Fall 2015!
A friend recently was telling me about a long-time co-worker who not only resigned, but did it in a way that burned all bridges and goodwill with the former employer and most co-workers at a good sized company. I understand people get mad, disagree and are frustrated at times, and certainly when leaving a company, but even when your are dealing with the short-term, you have to think about the long-term. If you don’t, your actions today can seriously affect your future opportunities. In business acting on your emotions can have a long lasting effect.
You may never even know you lost a fantastic opportunity. It just won’t be there among your options. This person I mention above has done that because the actions on the way out affected a lot of people who won’t forget when this person’s name comes up in the future. I am sure it felt good to get things off of their chest, but what did it really accomplish? Phoenix, like elsewhere, is a big city that in business is like a small town. And people remember being told off longer than someone providing constructive criticism on their way out the door.
So what do you do when you dislike the actions of your employer, co-workers or even clients or vendors? You have to chart the smoothest course you can. Sometimes it means not saying what’s on your mind in way you would like to. I am not advocating that you brush serious issues off of the table. I am simply saying that it is better to act on thought than emotion in these situations.
Remember, reputation takes a lifetime to build and seconds to destroy. Don’t let it be you.
Some of you may be asking, what does he mean? Some of you may be saying, life/work balance, good luck! What I mean is being on the edge of having fun, vacation, just not working for a day, etc. What I’m really talking about his life/work balance.
We all work hard. At least I like to think that we do. One of the things that helps me stay focused at work is the knowledge that I have planned breaks, whether taking a mental health day, a short or long weekend or a weeklong vacation with my family. It helps me focus and be productive in my chosen profession.
We all have different things that motivate us, but it is important to have balance in your life. You cannot work all the time, the same as you cannot play all the time.
How do you achieve this balance? I wish I had the answer for everyone, but that is for you to answer for yourself. What creates balance in your life will be different than what creates balance in my life, let alone for anyone else. But it is important to figure out what provides that balance for you. If you already have, or even start now, you are on your way.
Now, get back to work!
Yes, I know the title is a bit cheesy, but it is April 15, and, of course, I mean something else: Why is it so hard to be successful?
Life is hard. Work is hard. Business is hard. Being successful is hard, let alone getting “ahead.” And working hard doesn’t mean you will be successful or get ahead, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
You need to put in time and do so smartly, whether in your business or personal life. Doing so is investing in yourself and your business. How do you do this? It depends what you do for a living.
For me, it can mean a lot of networking, including face time. For the person running a small business, it may be the same thing, but with suppliers or people who can connect them to suppliers to try and get better product or pricing. And for any of us it could be the person at the golf course, who can get us a better tee time if they like us. It works in all parts of your life.
So put in the work, even though it is taxing!
And I hope this tax day was not too painful for you!
It may be All About That Bass this year, but will any of us remember Meghan Trainor next year?
No one plans to be a one hit wonder. Whether in music or business. We are overloaded in every field of business and all professions. The goal is to sustain your business or career over time.
You do this by nurturing relationships and doing both short term, mid-term and long term planning. If you are not sure where to start, ask people you know who have had sustained success. Be open to suggestions and trying new things, maybe even doing things outside your comfort zone.
And try new things. The path that works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. But you don’t know unless you try things and determine what works for you.
If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Self-confidence comes from inside you, not from others. And confidence and cockiness do not have to go together. If you think you know everything, you don’t.
If someone is tooting their own horn too much, it is likely they really are insecure. Most successful people play down their accomplishments. So do you want to spend time with the insecure egotistical person who only talks about themselves and how great they are, or the self-confident person who you can actually network with or want to do business with?
Just because you have self-confidence, it doesn’t mean you always will win, but you will give yourself more opportunities. That is because it really all goes back to relationships.
So tell yourself how great you are, but don’t tell me!