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Past COREageous Entrepreneur Blog Posts

A New View on Sleep

Do you see sleep as an inconvenience, a waste of time, being lazy? I did too! I admire folks who perform at their peak with only 3-4 hours sleep. Towards that end, but to no avail, I meditated, took Chi Gong classes, and listened to Jocko. Alas, there was no disputing...

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Take a Time Out to Listen

As a kid, I loved hearing John Madden’s bellowing voice on Sunday Night Football. I knew nothing about the sport, but Madden’s infectious enthusiasm had a way of making me put down my homework and run downstairs to the TV room to see what was so hilarious or...

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Shut Out Self-Doubt

Happy Holidays to All!   As we, the COREageous, prepare for 2022, let’s deter the scourge of many a startup – a founder’s unfounded self-doubt. Here are four ways to show self-doubt the door: Give yourself a fair fight. Think of situations in which you were successful...

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Decision-Making Dilemma?

Perhaps it’s the end of the year, the anticipation of the New Year, distraction or something, but a complaint that frequently crops up in coaching these days is: trouble making decisions. How you feel about a decision should, no doubt, be recognized. But, at some...

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Self-Care Entrepreneur Style

'Self-care’ means different things to different people. Glen is a 62-year-old whirlwind of a founder. His family and doctor are always telling him to balance his life with more self-care, e.g., meditation, more sleep, and daily exercise. What they don’t understand is...

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Tips for Better Partnerships

Brett, a founder from San Francisco, writes: I need to partner up with other entities to support my housewares business. I’ve got a few options, but I’m cautious after hearing about failed partnerships. Any suggestions?

Successful partnerships with vendors, companies and investors come from building trusting relationships and doing your research. 

Partnerships are more than transactional interactions, they are relationships. It could take many months to build a trusting one, but it’s worth the wait. What kind of partnership would yield mutual benefit? Is the potential partner aligned with your mission and values? Will they work as a team or just be cogs in a machine? Would they agree to experiment with small batch orders or modest rounds of funding and work out the kinks before scaling up?

Next, do your research on a potential partner. Vet and vet some more. Go visit their factories and get references from customers. How responsive, collaborative and consistent is their communication? How do they behave with other customers in bad times? How did they stay operational during the pandemic?

Finding lasting partnerships is key to growing your business.

In business and in partnerships, mindful communication is everything. Have you a business relationship that could use a communication tune up? Contact me at [email protected] 

 

Find Freedom in “No”

Look in the mirror. Press the tip of your tongue up behind your teeth and make an ‘N’ sound. Then round your lips into an ‘O.’ Does this utterance sound and look familiar? Reviving this simple sequence of two sounds (“NO”) will give you great power: more free time, less stress and more focus.

We mastered the use of NO around age two and used it quite liberally up until we started going to school. NO became associated with all sorts of negative things, and then we began to use it less and less.

Take a look at your schedule. If you are overwhelmed, it’s probably because NO is a tough word to spit out. YES is so much easier to say – we get more smiles, more votes, less conflict and we please everyone for the moment, except ourselves.

I’m not saying to be a Negative Nellie. Just think first about what you agree to do for people. It’s just not worth the guilt and shame we pile on ourselves when we over commit.

Practice saying ‘no’ several times in the mirror (with a smile, if you must) or its relative phrases, “No, not now” or “No thank you, my plate is full” until it gets as comfortable as saying “Yes.”

Listening to ourselves is a valuable skill. Learn how. Contact me at [email protected]

Improve Your Awareness of Time

It is one of the most common concerns that come up in coaching. For some, hours seem like minutes, and vice versa. A faulty awareness of time passing or the inability to gauge how long something might take results in late arrivals and missed deadlines. Those left waiting interpret this behavior as rude and unreliable.

Here are 4 ways for the COREageous to improve time awareness:

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule that aligns as close as possible to the sun setting and rising. A farmer’s schedule (early to bed and early to rise) has been shown to regulate circadian rhythms and optimize one’s sense of time.
  • Keep an analog clock, an hourglass or a device called a Time Timer within your field of vision. This way, as you work on a task, you can see time passing in a more tangible or pictorial way.
  • This exercise is a way to pace yourself and build a sense of what a 20-minute chunk of time feels like. Choose a task or a list of things you want to get done within a 4-hour period of time. Set a gentle alarm to sound off every 20 minutes. Marking time in this way serves another purpose. If you get distracted, the alarm will remind you to get back to the task. With practice, you’ll begin to anticipate the 20-minute alarm.
  • Past experiences, a closer assessment and asking clarifying questions before scheduling a task may give you a more realistic estimate of how much time you need to set aside for it. Add another 15–30-minute cushion, just in case your time estimate falls short.

Need help getting things done, done well and on time? That’s executive functioning in a nutshell. CoreCoaching can help. Contact me at [email protected]

A Founder Wishes to Connect

Drew, a founder from Boston, wrote:

Rebecca, How do I connect better with my team? People perceive me as a smart and nerdy guy to work for, but not fun enough to invite to gatherings. My strengths gave me the tools to start my company, but Covid, competition and other business concerns make me realize that it’s important to relate better, beyond a technical level, to my team. P.S.I can’t afford $$$$ outings .

Drew, you are correct! COREageous leadership requires connection. My mentor, Dr. Edward Hallowell refers to the need to build strong relationships as your company’s “Vitamin C” for Connect.

Accept that you may never be seen as “the fun boss,” and frankly, as a leader that may not be in your best interest. I sense that you would like to strengthen the bond between you and your team. Here are some affordable ways to build healthy connections:

Every few weeks bring your staff together (or do a one-on-one) for an informal walk or a group coffee chat at an outside location. Ask about their interests, where they are from and what’s going on with them. Forget yourself and listen with curiosity. You may not find football or trips to Disney very exciting, but it is interesting to see what floats their boat. This effort, perhaps a bit outside of your comfortable zone, signals that you care. If asked, share your interests. Look for commonalities. Until now, you may have been somewhat of a mystery to them.

If that’s a stretch, walk around the office once a week. Spend a few minutes with each person to see how they are doing. If that’s too personal, ask for feedback on their project.

These simple steps can build closer bonds and greater dedication to your mission. Not sure if you’ll be included in board game night, but you’ll be more approachable and that is where connection starts.

In business “communication is everything.” What are your gifts and gaps in communication? Let’s discover together. Contact me at [email protected] 

How the SEALs Reach Their Targets

The movie, G.I. Jane with Demi Moore, sparked my eagerness to learn about the Navy Seals and their training. How they prepare their minds and bodies for combat is beyond inspiring and has become core to my coaching practice.

Staring Down the Wolf, by Navy SEAL Mark Divine, is a must read for my COREageous entrepreneurs. Particularly in these uncertain and trying times, it takes COREage (your physical and mental strength) to persevere and succeed in spite of obstacles. Here are a few tips from Divine’s book to entice you to get the book and read more:

Combat fear.  Use Box Breathing as a way to calm your mind, reduce stress hormones and sharpen your focus. Divine begins his day with 20 minutes of Box Breathing. 5 repetitions is a good start. Slowly inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 4-5 seconds and exhale through your nose for 4-5 seconds. After my workout I stand in front of a mirror with a strong posture and Box Breathe for 5 minutes. It fortifies my intentions for the day.

Visualize the outcome. If you are a current or former client of mine, you know the emphasis I put on visualizing your optimal self — our target. More expedient than hacking away at disparate and overwhelming goals, visualization trains your neurobiology to change towards our target. It may be deterring distraction, following through, staying organized, etc. Divine reports profound outcomes with visualization. “Visualization exerts a strong gravitational pull. Picturing a bright post-Covid future in your mind’s eye will turn it into a destiny instead of a wish.”

Focus on your priorities for the day. Divine uses “front-sight focus,” a fundamental shooting tactic perfected in SEAL training as a metaphor for tackling only the high priority tasks for the day. In CoreCoaching, it means having strict prioritization criteria for deciding what and how you’re going to execute the most crucial tasks for the day.

These tactics, if practiced daily, will kick up your motivation and help you break through the self-imposed limits to achieve your vision. 

Want to put these and other COREageous tactics to work? Contact me at [email protected]

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