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]

Work at Home Success

Hello COREageous Entrepreneurs!

Even if you are off-site, you can keep yourself and your team on track!  Darren Hardy, author of two of my favorite books “The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster” and “The Compound Effect” and executive coach who led a partially distributed team for 25+ years, and a 100% virtual (and global) team for 5+ years which has multiplied 20X, shared a very helpful and timely link with me called “Leading Virtual Teams Successfully.”

Go to : DarrenHardy.com/VirtualTeams

It includes a list of follow up resources:
>How to lead productive virtual meetings.
>Best practices for video conferencing.
>How to set up your morning routine.
> On-boarding and internal training resources.
>And more.

Enjoy! Stay healthy and busy!

Need a coach to help you follow through with these suggestions or to customize a unique plan for you? Contact me 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]

Altitude for a Better Attitude

On a recent flight to Chicago from Boston, I was annoyed, annoyed to the point of having to flip my sour outlook. I needed to apply the same advice I employ with my coachees. But to see how I got to that point, I have to share how miserable the experience was.

It’s 5:00 a.m. at Logan, winding long lines with no visible endpoint, crappy and over-priced food with the only decent coffee shop a long haul from my gate, and the security guy who went through every suitcase. The only humor here was the crowd of people standing around waiting for their luggage to be cleared and gaping at the often shocking and hilarious contents of people’s bags. I’m waiting to read about the person who wins a mega-suit for a breach of confidentiality. Add to that the crowded gate area and the parents who couldn’t have cared less when their kid threw a foam football casting my $5 muffin to the floor. The flight was delayed and no one smiled, including me.

Then I said to myself, okay, enough! There’s humor here, time to find it. Well, humor may be a stretch, but positive? Yes there’s plenty of that. (I recall the Dalai Lama saying that when you force a smile, you feel more positive. He’s right about that.) First, I’m lucky to have a flight and a mission to accomplish. Second, I’m sane, healthy and strong for my age. My husband is a gem. I was lucky to have a great education and speak two languages. My clients are making great strides, and that gives me purpose. I wrote a popular book that’s helping people, and I’m working on a new one. Modern technology makes it safer to fly. I have two hours to sit, look out a window with few distractions and think. That is a luxury. Perhaps in the future, quiet undisturbed time to think at a high altitude will be a sought-after commodity meant to “uplift” sagging spirits?   And, that muffin, for some cosmic reason, was not meant for my consumption today. A little fasting is good for the soul.

Need to re-frame your outlook? Get a lift from CoreCoaching. Contact me at [email protected]  

Let’s Have Some Fun Being Accountable

If you ask your staff, What are you doing to get more done?, you’ll get a some blank stares and some good answers like: I limit social media, filter email, turn off my phone, shorten conversations, etc. The follow-up question results in more blank stares: How well are those efforts paying off?

Because I’m known to be somewhat of a task master, when I say to my clients – Hey, this exercise will be fun! I get a few smirks. It has elements of surprise and learning that helps the bottom line, and makes for good group discussions, so it’s within the realm of “fun.” Here’s how it works:

Each staff member cuts out five 4 inch strips of paper. They write a day of the week on each strip, mix them up and put them in an envelope. For four weeks, at the end of the work week, each person closes their eyes and picks out one day of the week from their envelope. If they pick “Wednesday” they need to recall what they did for every hour on Wednesday. If they don’t remember, they can look back on their plan for the week (assuming that they had a plan!!) to see what work was accomplished or how they spent their time. At first, the reports are pretty dismal, the average report ranges from 30-40% productive use of work time.

This exercise has many advantages: It makes people more conscientious about how they use their time at work. It helps one see the value in making a plan for each day. Knowing that Friday is coming up soon, and not knowing which day will be pulled, improves the consistency of their efforts. It also helps one use the anti-distraction strategies more consistently and judge their effectiveness. This exercise also makes leadership clarify expectations for productivity.

I shared this exercise with three different companies.  By the 3rd week, at all three facilities, productivity overall kicked up between 20-30%! Now, that’s fun!

Give it a try at your startup, and let me know the results!                                        [email protected].

 

7 COREageous Ways to Beat Founder Loneliness

It’s well known that founders are at risk for anxiety and depression. An aspect of entrepreneurship that’s rarely addressed is ‘loneliness.’ The ‘loneliness’ that founders describe is not about living alone or being physically isolated. My clients’ loneliness is more about having to keep doubts and failures secret because they are not living with or surrounded by other self-starter types who “get it.”

A lack of trust, a fear of rocking the boat, losing support or weakening morale combine to create a form of loneliness unique to entrepreneurship.

Here are excerpts from a letter sent by a COREageous subscriber, a founder of a travel design company whose description of ‘founder loneliness’ speaks for many of my clients. He asked for ways to manage the loneliness he experiences much of the time:

The fact is that I really can’t share my frustrations with anyone inside the company. I have to be so careful what I say to someone, even my co-founder, because somehow that information gets distorted and passed to everyone in the company as it only creates an endless cycle of damage control…

 I feel like I lead this double life:  my startup and my marriage. I can’t let the two cross paths, meaning I can’t unload on her (every night).

I’d like to share my concerns with my board, but I’m afraid they might lose faith in me, or second guess the project if I do…

My free time and money is limited. How can I deal with this loneliness and keep moving forward?

Here are 7 ways to help busy and cash-strapped entrepreneurs beat loneliness:

1.Reach out anonymously to other entrepreneurs online. You are not alone.

2. Find camaraderie outside of your startup playing on a team, joining a church group or a teaming up on a community project that lifts you up.

3. Share your thoughts with a non-dependent family member you can trust 100%.

4. Find an entrepreneur coach or a mentor. Just an occasional venting and problem-solving session can do wonders.

5.Watch videos and listen to podcasts of entrepreneurs you aspire to − preferably those who had a lot of hard knocks along the way.

6. Journal your concerns and frustrations. Writing them down gets them out of your head, clarifies your thoughts and leads to creative solutions and next steps.

7. Don’t give up.

Feeling anxious, depressed and lonely as a founder? CoreCoaching may be the outlet you need to share concerns and brainstorm solutions. Contact me at [email protected]

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