Why You Need to Be BORED

When was the last time you were bored? I’d be willing to bet that you can’t remember. If I’m right, it’s because, in 2018, no one ever has to be bored. That smartphone super computer you carry around in your pocket or purse guarantees it.

Don’t know what to do next? There’s always an Instagram feed to look at, a text to answer, an email to delete, a cat video to watch, a news headline to click on or a Fortnite game to beat. Thanks to technology, none of us ever have to be bored.

How great is that, right? Actually, it’s not so great. We – you, me, all of us – need to be bored once in a while.  That space between active thoughts is where we get our best ideas. Want to prove that to yourself? Answer this question. Where or when do you get you best ideas? (I’ll wait for you to consider your answer).  Got it? Here we go…

I’ve posed that question to thousands of leaders over the past several years. The number one answer is, “In the shower,” followed by “When I’m working out,” and “Commuting.” No one has ever answered, “At my desk in front of my computer,” or “Thumbing through my smartphone looking at Facebook.” You get your best ideas when you’re not actively engaging your brain with something else to pay attention to or think about.

This topic is on my mind because of a conference call I just had  with a group of executives.  We were having a random discussion while one of their co-workers was compiling some data. One of the women on the call mentioned that on the previous Saturday she noticed that she was actually bored. It was the rare day when she didn’t have a ton of family commitments to attend to or a presentation or some other project that she had to fine tune for Monday morning back at the office. She told us, “I actually didn’t know how to handle it when I had nothing to do.”

That’s because she’s been so used to having her foot on the gas that she’s become physiologically attuned to the feeling of always being busy or mentally occupied. That’s great for dealing with all of the stuff on your daily plate. It’s not so great when you need to get up on the balcony to process the patterns or look around the corner to consider what’s next. When you don’t leave any space or opportunity to be bored, you’re a lot less likely to make visits to the balcony where you can see the bigger picture or possibly come up with the next game changing idea.

So, how do you create the space to be bored? It’s simple really. Quit filling up your interstitial (Yes it’s a word, look it up if you like) moments with more input. Going for a run or cleaning out the garage? Take out the ear buds. Standing in line at Starbucks or Coffee Bean? Leave your phone in your pocket or purse. Driving home from work? Turn off the radio, let it be quiet.

Give your brain a break and allow yourself to be bored. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you come up with.

Don’t take the easy way out. Here is a lesson from history!

This is a very hard lesson for people to learn.  Society has made it so easy for people to take the easy road these days.  Parents, do yourselves a favor and do not give your kids the easy way out, teach them that hard work does pay off.  The world is a tough place, accept it and work to reach goals!  A lot of you out there know that I was a history major so I like to use it as a tool for coaching.

I believe history can teach us a lot. Throughout history, there are those who made good decisions and those who made bad ones. The former reaped the rewards and the latter suffered the consequences. In any case, there are useful lessons that we can learn from their experiences.

titleI will share with you a lesson I learned from the story of Alexander Severus, a Roman emperor from 222 to 235.  I became interested in this particular emperor because his assassination started the Crisis of the Third Century.

As it turned out, he was assassinated by his own troops. But how could that happen? Why did the troops kill their own emperor? Well, the short answer is that the emperor chose the easy way and his troops didn’t like it.

Germanic tribes invaded the Roman Empire during the time Severus was emperor. The emperor marched out his troops to meet the invaders. The troops were ready to fight and defend their land. But what happened? When they were near the enemy, the emperor chose to bribe the enemy instead. He tried to buy them off using the empire’s wealth. Instead of facing the challenge, the emperor chose the easy way.

The troops didn’t like it. In fact, they were angered by it. They looked down on him and eventually decided to kill him.

It’s tragic, but it also contains a profound lesson: don’t take the easy way. Don’t take shortcuts when you face a problem. It may look easy and attractive, but it’s not without its danger. What you should do instead is face the challenge and do the right thing. It might be painful and take a long time, but the reward makes it worth it. Here are two kinds of reward that you will get if you do the right thing:

1. Lasting success

By taking the easy way, you might seem to achieve your goal (peace, in the case of the emperor), but it won’t last for long. Since taking the easy way means you never solve the root of the problem, the problem could resurface at any time. On the other hand, if you take the more difficult route and solve the root of the problem, you will get success that lasts.

2. The respect of others

When those around you see the way you handle your situation, they will respect you. They will look at you as someone to learn from. You might even become an inspiration to them.

Doing the right thing is easier said than done, but it’s something we can all learn to do. Remember the story of the emperor: don’t take the easy way. March into your battles courageously and solve the root of each problem.

Why taking risks comes with huge rewards!

I had a great 1.2.1. meeting this morning with a young member of our staff and the topic or risk came up….and no not the board game.

If you ever want to achieve the life you’ve always dreamed of, you will have to start taking positive, calculated risks.  It is a must to take chances to achieve anything great in life, however many are scared to take the initial leap.

As with any risk, there is always something at stake.  In most cases, when it comes to your business, you stand to lose money, time, and your reputation.  On the flip side those are the very same things that you stand to gain, right!??  The benefits of taking risks will enrich your life and your business or career much more rewarding.

One of my very good friends and clients worked for the county for almost 10 years before deciding to start his own business.  I helped him pinpoint his true passions and create a plan to profit from them.  After moving to a new state, instead of searching for another civil servant position, he took his skills and experience of being an urban planner and translated them into a viable business for himself. Nervous about launching out on his own, he expressed this was the biggest risk he had ever taken and worried about where the income and clients would come from. However, after being in business for one year, he has already landed multiple contracts and generated a six-figure income. After taking the risk of quitting his job and launching his own firm, he’s much happier and experiencing life on a new level.

 

THE BENEFITS OF TAKING RISKS.

    1. Taking risks opens you up to new challenges and opportunities. Push yourself to learn a new skill, such as public speaking, which comes in handy as a business owner.
  • Taking risks empowers you to establish new limits in your mind. We all have boundaries or a comfort zone where we’d like to stay and many have misconstrued visions of what we think we deserve or are capable of accomplishing. When you take risks, you can eradicate that thinking, establish new boundaries, improve your outlook on life and your ability to achieve on high levels.
  • Taking risks can cause you to become more creative. When you put yourself out on a limb, with a no-excuse approach, your natural problem-solving skills kick in and you’re open to new ideas and are willing to try something new.
  • Taking risks can result in a positive outcome. Not every life step can be carefully planned out. You’ll never know if you can succeed unless you venture out into new territory. Is there a risk involved to do something totally new? Sure. But the reward is there too. When you give it your best shot and put all that you can into achieving the goal, you are more likely to make it happen.
  • Taking risks help you to clearly define what you really want. Calculated risks are taken with careful thought. Yet the fact that you are taking a risk pushes you to make things work. Surely you will first have to determine if the reward is something you really want enough to take the chance. If it is, then move ahead and don’t look back.

 

  • Once you have become accustomed to taking risks, you break free from the average way of living and thinking. Instead of fighting to stay safe you gain the momentum and confidence needed to welcome new opportunities in your career or business. Risks build your self-confidence and self-respect, empowering you to feel stronger and more confident in taking on new endeavors. When you are open to new challenges you position yourself to profit a whole lot more than you would just staying the same.

Taking chances requires some blind trust in most cases. Nothing is really guaranteed. However, you have to trust your instincts. Sometimes your gut is leading you down an unknown path but inside you know that something big is on the other side. Go for it, you’ll never know what all you can accomplish until you do something you’ve never done. Take the risk you’ll step into some of your biggest rewards.

It’s Not My Responsibility!

When I am going to facilitate a meeting or a training session, I arrive nice and early to set up the conference room to create a positive environment for all of the participants.  At the conclusion of the day, I make sure the room is tidy for the next facilitator.  However, even if I use the same conference room multiple times a week, each time I show up, the room is a disaster.  Why does this keep happening?  Simple answer is: Because no one person is in charge.

When an organization does not take the time to identify and assign responsibility for every task, right down to the details such as who is in charge of the conference room cleanliness or putting the office supplies away, it wastes time and creates confusion and frustration for its employees.  Communication is the key to undoing all of this confusion.  Communicate clearly and clarify roles and responsibilities for everything; and yes I do mean everything.  Here are some examples where time can be wasted when the responsibilities are not crystal clear.  This should help get you and your organization started.

  1. A task will not get done if two people think that the other is responsible for doing the task. To ensure there is clarity, check with the other person to confirm that he/she is responsible for the task. Better yet, management needs to communicate the responsibility and clarify this directly with the person(s) to whom they have delegated the task.
  2. If two people think they’re both responsible for a task, the task will get done twice (or perhaps not at all). As in example 1 above, communication is the key to ensuring that this timewaster does not occur.
  3. If one person is assigned a task, but others who need to involved in the task are not aware of this assignment, the others may not cooperate. Think about projects. If resources are assigned to projects, but those resources (employees) are not aware they are to complete tasks on the project, the tasks will not get done. Again, communication is key. Assemble all those who need to be involved in the work and communicate and delegate responsibilities. Then clarify directly with the resources that they understand and will undertake their responsibilities.
  4. What occurs when more than one person is in charge? Confusion and, perhaps, conflicting instructions. This is similar to example 2 except that in this case, the task may get done differently twice.

If the above situations sound familiar, then get clarity about your role and what responsibility and authority you have for a given task. Never assume that someone else is in charge or that you are in charge. Overlapping or confused responsibilities serve only to waste time.

Do not let your employees say. “It is not my responsibility!”  If they do, FIRE THEM.  It starts with you as a leader.  Lead by example.

What a mentor can do for you…

The word “mentor” has its roots in Greek mythology—Homer’s Odyssey to be exact—but the importance of this concept to career success is no myth. An experienced colleague, known as a mentor, can provide invaluable help to you as you begin your career and advance in it.

When you are starting out you obviously know very little. Don’t be offended it is nothing personal. It’s not you, just your lack of experience. You’ll probably make a lot of mistakes and you may miss out on many opportunities, but you can limit how often this happens by finding yourself a good mentor.

You have a lot to gain by developing a relationship with a seasoned colleague who is willing to share his or her wisdom with a protégé (that would be you). A mentor can guide you through tricky situations and can provide helpful advice about growing your career. And don’t worry about this relationship being too one-sided. Your mentor will hone his leadership skills by helping you.

What Can Your Mentor Do for You?

 

  • Your mentor can help you navigate tricky situations you may encounter at work and can help you figure out what to do about them. Whatever you’re going through, there’s a good chance he/she has been through the same thing or knows someone who has.
  • He/She can help you score coveted invitations to industry events and introduce you to influential people in your field.  I find this to be one of the best upsides to having a mentor.  Networking is key!
  • Your mentor can alert you to new job opportunities that only those in his/her position may be privy to.  If your mentor consults for major companies, or is in a top leadership position, they may just offer you the position knowing that you are working towards growth and are hungry for a better opportunity.
  • He/She will know what skills will help you do your job better and can tell you how to acquire them.
  • If you are offered a promotion within the same company or a new job at another, your mentor can help you decide whether or not to accept it.
  • He/She can help you decide when to ask for a raise and then give you advice about how to do it properly.  Everybody wants to make more money, right?!?

How to Find a Mentor

Now that you’ve learned about what a mentor can do for you, you probably want to find one as soon as possible. If you are lucky enough to work for a company that has a formal mentoring program, you might be matched with someone when you start your job. Some companies that have such programs don’t make these matches automatically, so if you aren’t introduced to someone shortly after your first day, inquire about whether such a program exists.

If the organization you work for doesn’t have a formal program, then you will have to look for a mentor on your own.  At MCDA we have top consultants from all types of industries that are willing to mentor the right people.  We have leaders from Aerospace, Agriculture, Business Development, Sales, Medical, Hospitality, etc.  Call us today and we can pair you up with the right person for YOU.

Tips for Having a Successful Mentor – Protégé Relationship

  • Choose a mentor whose goals are similar to your own.
  • Find someone who is in the same career as you.
  • Make sure your mentor has an adequate amount of time to give to this relationship. Can he/she meet with you on a regular basis? Is he/she receptive to answering questions or helping with issues as they arise.
  • Take the initial step in establishing contact with a potential mentor since you are the one who will benefit the most from the relationship.
  • You must find the time to participate in the relationship with your mentor. For example if your mentor wants to meet with you before or after work, don’t make excuses about not having enough time. Make time.

Eventually you will be in a position to give advice to someone who is just starting out. Honor your mentor by paying it forward and doing for another person what he or she did for you.

Is your coach fully committed?

In talking with new clients their number one complaint about previous consultants is that they feel neglected.  They feel their coach is not committed to them and that they have not been able to establish that one on one trust that they seek.  Coaching is a privilege and we do not take it lightly here at MCDA.

Coaching is a focused two-way communication, a meeting of equals challenging assumptions and listening intently to each other.  Coaching happens in both formal and informal conversations, short or long, scheduled or unscheduled.

A coaching conversation is not merely a chat, a mere exchange of opinions or advice. It is not where people trade rumors, gossip, play political games, or network.  A coaching conversation is one where you intend to listen carefully, understand needs, and fully commit to help people succeed. People should come away from the conversation inspired, empowered, engaged, and equipped with the necessary mindset and tools to be better and do better.

Coaching is a special opportunity. It involves the extension of trust from one person to another at levels and in ways rarely seen in other areas of personal and organizational life.

Being someone’s coach is both an honor and a responsibility. It balances both individual advocacy and confidentiality with honest and transparent inquiry.

Coaches are not there to consult, advise, or tell others what to do, but rather to help them on a road of insight and discovery by using a series of powerful coaching questions.

Are you ready for 2016?

Football coach Tom Landry once said, “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

What is the vision/goal of your company? Revisit your mission statement and follow these 10 New Year’s Resolutions for your business for 2016.

1) Update Technology

Is there an old computer that is a constant pain in the ass?  Do you have a printer or copy machine that is jamming up every couple of minutes?  Dump that piece of crap off at a recycling center and get yourself something new.  The time, irritation, and repair costs that you are wasting are simply not worth it.  Put your money and time into new electronics that can make your business run more efficiently.  Check out Staples, Amazon, Quill for year end savings deals.

2) Learn About Current Technology

Are you a business that sells products? Do you use a POS system? There are so many amazing capabilities that modern apps and programs provide. Not only can you synchronize and access all of your databases from any location, but you can reach countless potential customers with these new and ever improving management tools.

3) Mix Up Your Marketing

One of my favorite quotes is, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Try different marketing outlets and strategies to broaden your audience and to reach more potential customers.  Consider looking at a marketing consultant if the budget allows for it.  You have to stay ahead of the competition and stay the market leader in your niche.

4) Get Out of the Back Office

As a business owner, you may be drawn to spend your time alone in your back office attending to the nuts and bolts of your company. Once a week try to spend an hour checking in with your employees and customers during the daily interaction to ensure that the frontlines of your company are operating smoothly.  You will be shocked at the things you can learn walking around for an hour here and there.  The more employees see you, the more respect that you get when you need to push them for a project deadline, etc.  It never hurts to get your hands dirty every once and a while as well.  Learn what they are doing, show a genuine interest in what they are doing, engage them.

5) Never Stop Learning

Webinars are a quick and fun way to keep learning.  Attend a conference that is local, read blogs (like this one! HA) and subscribe to industry magazines.  Spend some time each month researching new strategies, tools, and some technologies.

6) Take a Break

8 in 10 employed Americans said they are stressed out on the job with heavier workloads and low pay. I’m sure that if this survey focused on small business owners, that number would increase to 10 out of 10. Just taking a walk around the building or unplugging when you get home can make all of the difference in your physical and mental health.  I know that this is easier said than done but try to find that outlet.  Don’t push yourself to the point of breaking down and losing it.

7) Delegate

So how in the world are you going to accomplish numbers 3, 4, and 5 when you have so much to do? Delegate. You can’t do it all, but you can train others to come along side you.  You need to really focus on building that team around you, have a team you can trust and who you can rely on.  Teach them, mentor them, coach them to what you need them to be.  Be cautious not to micromanage them.

8) Create Achievable Goals

“I will increase my clientele by ______.” New clients are the lifeblood towards the future of your business. “I will increase sales by ____.” Striving towards a measurable goal of how much you want to increase sales gives you something to aim for plus it pushes your team towards an actual, feasible goal.  This is a pretty simple formula, how can you measure them to a goal if you do not set one.

9) Social Media Savvy

Do you know how your customers are finding you, what people are saying about your business online, and are you reaching potential customers through online vehicles? Creating a strong internet presence can strengthen your company’s selling power in this ever-growing cyber age.  If you are not a tech savvy person, make learning a goal but rely on your kids to show you tips and tricks, or maybe engage a younger member of your staff to show you the ropes.

10) Stay on Track!

Most people throw away their New Year’s Resolutions before they can turn their wall calendar to February. Running a business is a marathon, not a race, so each step forward counts. Creating measurable goals with reasonable timelines will keep your business moving forward.

You can make 2016 the best year yet for your business, your employees, and yourself. With a new year comes a new start, and now is the time to start planning for success! By implementing these new year’s resolutions for your business, you’ll be sure to start 2016 on the right foot.  Remember we are a phone call or email away to help prepare you for the new year or to help you stay on track!