A COVID Question For You

Although COVID-19 has been tragic in many ways, it has created numerous opportunities as well. I was curious to see, aside from the vaccines and possible cures in the works, what positive effects were occurring on a personal level. Last night, I wrote to a dozen of my COREageous Coaching alums and asked them to complete this sentence:

If COVID-19 had never happened, I would not have_______________________.

I received over 25 thoughtful responses – thank you to those who contributed! But to keep this post short, I chose five to share:
Vickie: … had the time to realize that I was spinning the business out of focus, trying to be too much to everyone. I met with my team (remotely) and got consensus to return to the roots of our purpose. They were pleased, I was relieved.
Peter: …had the time to seriously connect with my best clients, only to find that one of them was ready to move on to a competitor! I listened to him and to his concerns; I let him yell at me, then it was over. I gave him my word that I’d fix the problems by the end of the week. He was back on my roster, we’re good. He appreciated the call. Awesome.
Maya: … had the opportunity to create a contingency plan in case something like COVID or worse struck again.
Hunter: … ended a particularly unhealthy and troublesome relationship that was hurting my business and me personally.
Phillip: …reunited with my 94 year old father after 5 years of silence. He was very angry when I announced that I was leaving a very cushy job to follow my passion; he didn’t get it. Still mad, but we talked. It’s better now.

In these next 2 or more weeks, the time is ripe to re-focus, repair and re-invent yourself and your small business. What can you do to make the best of this bizarre period of time?
CoreCoaching may be the answer. Contact me at [email protected]

How the COREageous Cap COVID19

During these challenging times, COREageous entrepreneurs and their teams:

• Put their thinking brain in charge of their emotional brain and make smart decisions.
• Put politics, past transgressions and personal vendettas aside.
• Spend time perfecting their product or service in preparation to come back.
• Communicate frequently with vendors, customers and investors.
• Build alliances with the community and companion businesses.
• Cultivate skills through training and coaching that enhance teamwork, sales, communication and emotional intelligence and management skills.
• Stay upbeat and positive. Find humor and share it with others.

Use this time to make your startup stronger and more competitive! Contact me for online help at [email protected]

How to Use Your Three Week Staycation

If you are one of the lucky or unlucky ones (depending on how you see it) who have a three week or more hiatus from work, this is the opportunity you have been waiting for to get stuff done! Consider this five step approach:

1. Look at your to-do list and prioritize. Decide your prioritizing criteria. What factors will you use to tease out the top 3 most important tasks on your list: time-sensitivity, hi personal value, health-related, affordability, access to the needed resources? If you select a task according to your priorities, the greater chance you have in starting and finishing it.
2. Assign the top three items to week 1, the next three items for week 2, etc. For each of the three tasks you chose for the week, list the steps from start to finish.
3. Assign some rough time durations to each step.
4. When is the best day or the best time of the day to do each task? Consider your energy level, the availability of the resources or the people you need to help you.
5. Carve out blocks of time for each step or group of steps in your calendar.

Looking at the schedule you have created, think about how great it will feel to accomplish so much, because you had a plan. Even if you only finish one or two of your top tasks, it’s a darn sight better than what you would have done without a plan!

Need some help in following through with your top three tasks? Quick! Contact me ASAP before your Staycation time runs out! [email protected]

Meditation for the Meditation-Averse

There are many people who don’t find meditation relaxing. As a matter of fact, for these folks, meditation can be anxiety-producing. Quiet space can become a vacuum for worrisome thoughts to seep in and flood one’s mind with a torrent of terror.

Here’s a meditation method that helps the meditation-averse. It is centered on the breath, brings one into the present and challenges one’s focus at the same time. This form of meditation takes up a lot of mental space and allows little room for the usual culprits to find an opening.

1. Find a quiet spot to sit up tall with shoulders relaxed (not too comfortable of a spot to make you sleepy) and close your eyes.

2. Start with 10 breaths by slowly breathing in through your nose on breath #10 and breathing slowly out on #10. Do the same with breath #9, #8…to #1.

If you lose your place, or other thoughts sneak in, that’s ok, just go back to the breath # you remember. You won’t want to start over, so the object is to keep the count in your head as you breathe. Gradually, work up to 15 – 25 breaths for a sitting.

If you still find your mind drifting to unhelpful thoughts, then make it more challenging. Count each breath backwards as before, but when you inhale do so on a count of 4 (about 4 sec), hold your breath for a count of 7 (about 7 sec) and exhale for a count of 8 (about 8 sec).

This method requires a bit more “thinking” than the average meditation guru would recommend, but it can help meditation-averse folks get the benefits of traditional meditation.

Need more ways to regulate your emotions and improve your focus? Try CoreCoaching. Contact me at [email protected]

The Chronic Interrupter and Over-talker

These folks talk incessantly, often off topic. They see that you want to make a comment or ask a question and talk over you about something else interesting to them. Some people get so deeply into their monologues that you, as the listener, may feel invisible.

Interestingly, this anxious behavior mounts in the presence of authority figures (parents, bosses, etc.) who are typically judgmental or punitive. These over-talkers are avoiding the topics that may elicit shame or blame. Conversely, when they are surrounded by their peers in more accepting situations, this behavior is reduced. As a founder or manager, there are ways to help the over-talker be less anxious and fearful.

  1. To help them get comfortable with you, have more frequent conversations on lighter topics that do not arouse this fear response. Let them know the lighter topics to be discussed in advance of the conversation, if possible. Reinforce any positive restraint to over talk.
  2. For heavier discussions, get responses to these concerns writing.
  3. When an exchange must occur in person and the over-talking persists, mention your frustration – you may need to talk over them until they stop talking! Tell him or her that because you want to help these conversations be more productive you will signal (raising an index finger or standing up) your desire to speak.
  4. If they ignore the cues and appear totally helpless in curbing this behavior, the most helpful thing you can do is suggest they seek professional help.

Social anxiety is a common communication problem. It can be highly dysfunctional and prevent a person from contributing to the team in a positive way. Look into CoreCoaching. Contact me at [email protected]  

A Tight Ship

A Tight Ship (definition): A well-managed and disciplined organization. This expression, dating from the second half of the twentieth century, alludes to a vessel whose ropes are taut and seams well caulked, indicating that it is well managed.

The SIX FUNCTIONS OF TEAMWORK embody the notion of A TIGHT SHIP: (Five of these functions are found in Patrick Lencioni’s book called The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – a must read for entrepreneurs)

First, a small business can be highly functional, valuable and competitive if every crew member continually works to strengthen their core. This means all worries and personal problems must be left at shore. A competent crew member is physically and emotionally ready for the journey — well-rested, nourished, energized, focused, ready to step up and able to manage the stressors along the way. A strong core within each crew member fosters a “tight ship” mentality. The other five functions of a team provide for smooth sailing.

All hands on board trust one another and depend on each other for the success of the journey. Without trust the mission will be stalled by shaky stops and starts, disloyalties, lost time, mutinies and burnout that impede progress towards the goal of the expedition. The Captains (the executive team), with their over-arching duties and responsibilities, must be a cohesive unit and ONE with the journey. They trust their Chief Mates (managers) and crew to secure and steady the ship in the following ways:

Healthy conflict is welcomed as one shipmate may notice a problem or disagree with a directive. Crew members are encouraged to speak up for the sake and safety of the mission. It’s up to the Chief Mates and the Captains to listen to these concerns and coach up a crew member to avoid escalation of the conflict. The Chief Mates need to have the authority to recommend that a crew member gets sent back to shore if the conflict is unresolved.

The crew is committed and dedicated to staying afloat and making the trip successful. Friendships are important, but keeping the ship stable and moving towards its target is the crew’s priority. To be anything less could jeopardize the mission. However, crew members who share this priority can be a very powerful asset when extra effort, sacrifice and going above and beyond the call of duty is required. Friends who support each other for the success of the mission make friendships stronger.

Each shipmate, for the journey to endure and be successful, must be accountable for their actions. This includes following the chain of command, meeting or exceeding expected job performance, conserving resources by carefully watching costs, managing distractions and eliminating sources of strife like skipping on their shift or skimping on their duties.

Tight ship teamwork depends on the managers’ ability to optimize results and secure a competitive edge. A tight ship is strong, agile and reliable, able to take on new missions or to rapidly change course as needed in today’s business world. New trends and policies may require a shift in direction to avoid stormy seas or to weather the competition. It is the responsibility of the Captains to remain focused and vigilant in their roles, and rest assured knowing that the Chief Mates will keep the ship tight.

Does your small business run like a tight ship? If not, I can help. Contact me at [email protected]

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