Five ideas to boost sinking motivation

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  • Quote: -Jeffrey Bezos

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The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?’

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(Exerpt, bold emphasis text added)

Here are five ideas to fix flagging motivation:

  1. The hardest part of a task is getting started. The key to getting started is to set specific goals. An article in Psychology Today points out that non-general goals can shatter the motivation barrier, “Breaking a long-term goal down into doable doses that you nibble away at every day is the best way to stay motivated, reduce negativity, combat depression and (most importantly) achieve the goal.”
  2. Keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed. This study from 2011 shows one in three people are overwhelmed by technology. Almost everyone attempts multi-tasking. Reserve time to do the task you have set for yourself – and nothing else. Even if that means turning off your auto-email notifications, closing those open social media tabs on your screen and not checking texts.
  3. Feeling paralyzed by the quantity of work you have to do will smother motivation. You have a to-do list, but don’t know where to begin. Here’s my secret: I draw empty boxes next to my tasks. When the task is completed I get to put a very satisfying check in the box. That keeps me motivated, because I really love checking those boxes. Other people plan their tasks starting with items they enjoy, then sprinkle the less intriguing tasks throughout the day (perhaps not during the 3 p.m. productivity burnout).
  4. Often people get stuck because of fear. Perhaps they are afraid they aren’t good enough, or don’t have the time or skill. Acknowledge those fears and doubts and work past them – you will liberate creativity and motivation. If your fear is of failure, don’t let it stop you. Remember that failure can be the key to success.
  5. The most important secret to maintaining motivation is taking care of your body. You won’t feel motivated and energized if you have not eaten and are behind on sleep. A quick walk during lunch, or exercise in the morning, will build your energy and help you be motivated throughout the day. Allow yourself to take time off. Those breaks are vital to your mental health and to feeding your well of creativity.

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When Should Walk Away from a Deal

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Blog Content:FE_PR_130415_gold425x283

  • Quote: By:Donald Trump

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“Sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make.”

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When Your Start-Up Should Walk Away from a Deal

In the early years of a company’s life cycle, an entrepreneur’s ambition can be a double-edged sword. The drive to align quickly with marquee customers to establish credibility can sometimes cloud your judgment. At my company, TransPerfect, we have mostly been served well by our mantra of 20 years: “Listen to the clients and respond to their needs.” But we have also learned that the desire to please a potential client at all costs can actually be a setback if you fail to fully evaluate all potential outcomes.

In our formative years, one of the vital lessons I had to learn was how to recognize when an opportunity was not a good fit for us. Signing the wrong deal can cost you time and money — two things entrepreneurs can’t afford to lose. How can an entrepreneur eager to build their firm recognize when a deal is a bad idea? Here are some lessons I’ve learned to keep in mind.

1. When there’s no escape clause in the contract. When we were a smaller company, a major retailer approached us with the promise of $15 million in business from a huge translation project. At first, our team viewed it as a way to put our company on the map, and we wanted to show how committed we were to winning the business. We formulated a plan to scale quickly, adding new personnel and even a new office location to cover all the work that would be coming in. Not long after incorporating all of these changes, the retailer pulled the plug on the entire project due to economic reasons. We realized that the contract we signed hadn’t included any volume guarantee or kill fee, and as a result, we were not able to recover the lost revenue or the expenses involved with the staffing actions. That experience was a cold dose of reality, not only because of the revenue at stake, but also because it brought to light our own naiveté as an eager startup. But looking back, I can say that we learned a valuable lesson about preparation, caution and responsibility, and as a result, our company is stronger.

2. When you don’t have the resources to complete the job to your standards. A major news publication approached us with the project of Spanish language translation for its largest magazine title. The speed needed to turn around a completely translated project on the publication’s timetable would have required us to commit a full-time team of linguists to the project. After some serious analysis, we realized that taking the business on those terms would have meant compromising our high-quality translation standards. We thanked the publication for considering us and wished its team the best.

3. When it involves a bidding war. Years ago, a law firm asked us to translate a large international project. We wanted to work with the company because it was a major firm, so we offered our best price for the scope of work. However, the firm informed us that it had received a much lower bid from a competitor. We had carefully examined the level of work required and found it hard to believe that another company could handle it for such a small budget. As much as it pained us, we expressed our concern about the quality of work produced for such a low fee and wished the firm luck. The firm ended up returning to us a week later with a horror story: the less-expensive competitor had botched the job. At that point, we began the project on our terms. Since then, the firm has become a regular client, and we’ve been conducting increasingly larger volumes of translation on a regular basis.

4. When taking the deal might compromise your reputation. Compromising for the sake of a potential client’s happiness is one thing — but yielding your principles to the point that your quality of work is impacted is quite another. For example, if a potential client wanted us to provide translation and localization for an international ad campaign using only machine translation without a team of language experts, we would have no choice but to walk away from the opportunity. Our experience tells us that the technology of machine translation just hasn’t progressed to the point where we can deliver a finished product that the end client would find acceptable. It might be tempting for a start-up to accept a large, lucrative project if they only consider the dollar amount and the boost that would give the business — but that is a short-sighted decision. If you expect your company to have staying power beyond this one deal, remember that your professional reputation is worth protecting.

For a young, hungry business, the idea of walking away from a deal is anathema, especially when the budget involved is significant. However, especially in a company’s early days, its leaders need to build more than the bank account. The choices your organization makes about how and with whom to do business will set the foundation for the company’s future — its reputation, its quality of work, and its ultimate success.

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How Smart People Collaborate for Success

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Blog Content:Magic Spot

  • Quote: By: John Kuypers, Who’s The Driver Anyway? Making the Shift to a Collaborative Team Culture
  • Article: From http://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/how-smart-people-collaborate-for-success_Printer_Friendly.html. Inc.’s article on collaboration focuses on a difficult topic. Generally, as leaders, we don’t want to go through the steps and end up acting more like a dictator rather than a leader. The format presented in the article provides a foundation for highly constructive collaboration which should lead to great results. As a leader, NEVER forget point seven.

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“If you first take a minute, an hour or a month to let go of feeling annoyed, frustrated or critical of the person or situation that may be driving you crazy, you set yourself up for much greater leadership and personal success.”

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How Smart People Collaborate for Success

Solo performers can shine, but working together can yield greater results. Here are seven tips for improving collaboration.
By Kevin Daum | Jun 21, 2013

Most experts agree that collaboration in business consistently provides greater accomplishment. When it works, the combined brainpower of intelligent people can solve complex problems and achieve amazing results.

Still many people hesitate before engaging others in their process. It’s understandable. Most people have horror stories of a collaboration that went bad. And often it seems a hassle to manage the needs and personalities of others when stakes are high and time is short. Still, effective collaboration can create breakthroughs and make leaders shine. Remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Here are seven tips to help you master the art of collaboration and make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

1. Choose Participants Carefully

Successful collaboration begins with picking the appropriate people for the task at hand. Don’t just ask for volunteers or draw straws. Give careful consideration to the skills, experience, motivations, and compatibility of the people you invite to the group. Depending upon the scope of the project, you may want all like-minded people or a blend of perspectives.

2. Remove Quiet Politeness

What good is working with a bunch of smart people if they won’t be honest and sharing? People need to be willing to open themselves and be challenged. Creative conflict is powerful and productive. Find innovative, fun ways to stimulate passionate debate. Reward openness and authenticity with admiration. Real groundbreaking ideas only surface when people go all in and get vulnerable.

3. Establish Communication Protocols

People collaborate better when engagement is structured and simple. Setting up specific communication guidelines helps your participants focus on the ideas rather than worrying about missing something or chasing people. Determine in advance who will talk to whom, when and how often. Let people know which channels are appropriate. Perhaps create a specific place on your intranet or use collaboration software to centralize interaction. Get full buy-in and clarification on the rules so it’s clear to all when a violation occurs and it can easily remedied.

4. Use a Specific Ideation Process

It’s important to put method to the madness. Random brainstorms with little or no structure will exclude some from the process while allowing others to dominate the conversation. Do your homework and learn effective facilitation techniques that will surface creativity. Outline in advance the people, processes and resources required so your participants are free to focus on the work and not the logistics.

5. Give Requirement and Permission

Nothing is more frustrating then working in a group where contributions are unequal, or worse, unreliable. Develop clear guidelines for responsibilities and build in accountability. Articulate deadlines and consequences if someone falls short. Make sure people know they have permission to speak up if others are not pulling their weight. Better to have the small distraction of rancor early on then a systemic failure near the deadline. Quickly remove non-compliant people before they destroy the trust and morale of the group.

6. Work with Respect

Few go into a collaborative project with intentions of being disrespectful; yet it often happens, verbally or non-verbally. Disrespect is shown by being late, missing deadlines, being unprepared, hogging the conversation, quiet politeness or distraction by irrelevant discussion. If everyone shows respect by focusing each minute of activity on the common objectives of the group, the required time will be short and the results will be plentiful.

7. Broadcast Recognition and Gratitude

Give praise, credit, and affirmation often, loudly and where they are due. If others in your office see the positive attributes of collaboration, they will be encouraged by your leadership to make effective collaboration pervasive and help establish a culture of developing groundbreaking results.

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Tony Robbins: How to Change Your Life

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Blog Content:Grow

  • Quote: From Apple Inc. (Though it seems more like a toast to me.) Absolutely love it.
  • Article: From Seeds of Success — Success Magazine’s weekly newsletter. Each point made is a gem. From “don’t live in No Man’s Land” to the advice of pausing and accessing what is working.

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“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

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Life coach Tony Robbins has noticed patterns in what makes people succeed or fail, what makes them happy or sad, and what creates a life of meaning and fulfillment versus a life of frustration and despair. To transform yourself and your life, Robbins says:

Don’t live in “No Man’s Land,” that place where you’re not really happy, but you’re not unhappy enough to do anything about it. Don’t passively accept what comes your way; drive your life toward what you really want.

See things as they are, not worse. Then see it better than it is, and then make it the way you see it.

Don’t avoid failure. Failure is necessary for real learning to occur. Overcoming obstacles gives us psychological strength—the very thing that forms character.

Don’t focus only on achievement. Extraordinary accomplishment does not guarantee joy, happiness, love and a sense of meaning. You must also focus on fulfillment.

Decide what you will no longer stand for and what you’re committed to. Clarity is power.

Take massive action. You have to be willing to do the things you don’t want to do. You have to build a momentum that consistent action produces.

Notice what’s working and what’s not working. When it is not working, change your approach. Keep changing until you finally achieve what you are committed to.

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5 Keys to Inspiring Leadership, No Matter Your Style

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BALANCE FIRST

BALANCE FIRST

Blog Content:

  • Quote: By: Lao Tzu
  • Article: From http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227012. As is obvious by now, I appreciate the concise layout of an article that has clearly defined action points. The content covers a lot in only five points. I am amazed how often step four is not addressed. My dad often said “Respect is not given, it is earned.” Additionally, as the picture to the right illustrates, in leadership, as well as in many areas of our life, balance is crucial.

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A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.

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5 Keys to Inspiring Leadership, No Matter Your Style

URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227012

Forget the stereotypical leadership image of a buttoned-up person in a gray suit hauling around a hefty briefcase. Today, standout leaders come in all shapes and sizes. She could be a blue jeans-clad marketing student, running a major ecommerce company out of her dorm room. He might be the next salt-and-pepper-haired, barefoot Steve Jobs, presenting a groundbreaking new device at a major industry conference.

“Our research indicates that what really matters is that leaders are able to create enthusiasm, empower their people, instill confidence and be inspiring to the people around them,” says Peter Handal, chief executive of New York City-based Dale Carnegie Training, a leadership-training company.

That’s a tall order. However, as different as leaders are today, there are some things great leaders do every day. Here, Handal shares his five keys for effective leadership:

1. Face challenges.

Face challenges

Great leaders are brave enough to face up to challenging situations and deal with them honestly. Whether it’s steering through a business downturn or getting struggling employees back on track, effective leaders meet these challenges openly. Regular communications with your staff, informing them of both good news and how the company is reacting to challenges will go a long way toward making employees feel like you trust them and that they’re unlikely to be hit with unpleasant surprises.

“The gossip at the coffee machine is usually 10 times worse than reality,” Handal says. “Employees need to see their leaders out there, confronting that reality head-on.”

2. Win trust.

2. Win trust.

Employees are more loyal and enthusiastic when they work in an environment run by people they trust. Building that trust can be done in many ways. The first is to show employees that you care about them, Handal says. Take an interest in your employees beyond the workplace. Don’t pry, he advises, but ask about an employee’s child’s baseball game or college graduation. Let your employees know that you’re interested in their success and discuss their career paths with them regularly.

When employees, vendors or others make mistakes, don’t reprimand or correct them in anger. Instead, calmly explain the situation and why their behavior or actions weren’t correct, as well as what you expect in the future. When people know that you aren’t going to berate them and that you have their best interests at heart, they’re going to trust you, Handal says.

3. Be authentic.

If you’re not a suit, don’t try to be one. Employees and others dealing with your company will be able to tell if you’re just pretending to be someone you’re not, Handal says. That could make them question what else about you might be inauthentic. Have a passion for funky shoes? Wear them. Are you an enthusiastic and hilarious presenter? Get them laughing. Use your strengths and personality traits to develop your personal leadership style, Handal says.

4. Earn respect.

4. Earn respect.

When you conduct yourself in an ethical way and model the traits you want to see in others, you earn the respect of those around you. Leaders who are perceived as not “walking their talk” typically don’t get very far, Handal says. This contributes to employees and other stakeholders having pride in the company, which is an essential part of engagement, Handal says. Also, customers are less likely to do business with a company if they don’t respect its values or leadership.

5. Stay curious.

5. Stay curious.

Good leaders remain intellectually curious and committed to learning. They’re inquisitive and always looking for new ideas, insights and information. Handal says the best leaders understand that innovation and new approaches can come from many places and are always on the lookout for knowledge or people who might inform them and give them an advantage.

“The most successful leaders I know are truly very curious people. They’re interested in the things around them and that contributes to their vision,” Handal says.

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Jeff

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