Five Things You Are Doing Now That Stop You From Achieving Your Personal Goals


Five Things You’re Doing Now That Stop You From Achieving Your Personal Goals

While working on goals is a conscious decision, you may not realize the things you are doing unconsciously that are preventing you from achieving your goals.

We all try to recognize the importance of setting goals throughout our lives to get things done; but among those of us who actually set goals, only a minority are actually able to achieve them.

This is strange, considering the fact that many people actually set up small and achievable personal goals.

What’s keeping you from achieving your goals?

Before you sit down and think about your goals, one useful tip I can impart to you is to ensure that you are working on smart goals. And I’m not just talking about wise goals; I’m also referring to the SMART method: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and within a Timeframe.

But don’t worry, even if you’ve already started working on some goals, it’s not too late to reassess them. You can still examine what changes you can make for each of them to be SMART.

Establishing healthy personal goals will contribute to personal as well as professional development; as everyone can benefit from a well-rounded leader. But more importantly, you should also be aware of things that you may be doing now that is preventing you from achieving your goals. Here are some things to think about.

1. Comparing yourself to others

Maybe you aren’t fulfilling your goals because you keep putting on the brakes as you compare yourself to others. We all do things at our own pace, and shouldn’t be comparing how quick or efficient we are in achieving something.

Each person has their own unique challenges to overcome. Seek inspiration from other people, instead of feeding on greed and jealousy as these attitudes will do nothing but stifle you.

2. Working on too many projects at the same time

While it’s easy to start many personal projects that you believe will benefit you in the future, you might not be able to finish them.

It’s good to be a person of many ideas, and who wants to achieve many things. But if you put too much pressure on yourself to do too many, you’ve lost the battle before you’ve even begun.

You must realize that time is limited, and you should work on the goals you can achieve first. When you have finished, there will be enough time to continue working on other personal projects.

There is a time and space for everything; just don’t try to do everything all at once.

3. Having a negative attitude

Pessimism is the worst quality to have if you are trying to achieve personal goals.

If you think that you won’t be successful, it definitely is the biggest hindrance to achieving your goals.

For some people, working on an optimistic attitude takes time and work, but it will be the best investment you can make for your own personal growth.

4. Inactivity

Behind each personal goal is a certain set of actions that you need to do, or habits to be formed, in order to get them done.

For example, if you are looking to become healthy, you need to integrate nutritious food habits into your daily lifestyle. This means eating fruit in the morning instead of bacon, and replacing your coffee with green tea, and so on.

You must work on your actions so as not to fall behind on your personal goals.

5. Working without a higher purpose

Most people think that goals are simply writing objectives down on a piece of paper, and ticking them off as they go along. This could not be further from the truth.

In order to achieve your personal goals, you need to understand exactly why certain goals are relevant to you, and how they can help you become a better person. Without a higher purpose, it becomes easy to give up on your goals.

Knowing your purpose and why you want to achieve what you want to achieve will keep you motivated to stay on the journey when the going gets tough.

Goals are work in progress

Now all you need to do is to work on any of the five you recognise in your life. This will help you develop a new mindset and approach to achieving your goals.

But don’t be too hard on yourself; goals are a work in progress. By eliminating the negative things listed above, you are already halfway through achieving your goals.

What’s stopping you from achieving your goals?

How to Set and Implement Your Personal Goals

Before we talk about the benefits of having goals, let me ask you this question? Have you got things you want to achieve with your life? These are goals. So why not take some time to write them down.

How to Set and implement Your Personal Goals

Setting goals, and figuring out how you are going to achieve those goals, is important in ensuring that you are successful in all areas of your life.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals ~ Henry David Thoreau

Benefits of goal setting

So here are some of the benefits of goal setting: goal setting can provide a number of benefits. These include:

1. Clarity and Focus

By setting goals, you narrow your focus on action that is relevant to achieving your goals, ensuring that you waste as little time as possible on action that does nothing in helping you progress towards attaining your goals.

2. Increased effort

Goal setting encourages you to increase the amount of effort  you put in to achieving your goals. Since you have a clearer idea of what you want to achieve through goal setting, you are therefore more likely to put in the extra effort to strengthen your chances of reaching those goals.

3. Increased Persistence

You are more likely to persist at working towards a set goal, and less likely to drop out if you meet setbacks. Setbacks give you an opportunity to review your goals. If the goals are still relevant, your setback can become a stepping stone to achieving your goal.

4. Less stress and anxiety

Goal setting removes the stress associated with not knowing what you want to achieve in life. By charting your goals, you are much better able to control your future, meaning that you don’t suffer much of the stress and uncertainty about your future direction.

5. A happier outlook

People who set goals end up being happier than those who don’t due to the fact that they feel a higher sense of purpose and control in their lives.

6. Increased self-esteem

Setting goals allows you to boost your self-esteem. With set goals, you receive a boost from making concrete progress and achieving your short term and medium term goals, You get a sense of achievement by meeting your shorter term goals/

So how do you go about setting and implementing your goals?

Setting Goals

While by no means easy, the process of setting and implementing your goals can be best achieved by taking the following steps:

#1. Figure out what you truly want with your life

Knowing what you want to achieve is the first and most important step in setting your goals.  Have a vision for your life. Visualise where you want to be at various stages of your life and the relevant goals that you would have liked to achieve. Remember, it’s important to set goals that are important to you personally and not others.

#2. Break it down

It is important to break down your big goals into smaller steps. These steps are your shorter term objectives. Breaking down larger goals into smaller ones also make it easier to create action plans on how you will achieve your goals.

#3. Write down your a plan or vision

Writing down a concrete plan on what actions that you intend to take to achieve these goals is the next step in goal setting and implementation.  As you develop a plan, you determine which goals are most important and which ones deserve the most time and energy. You will also determine exactly what specific actions and strategy you will be taking to achieve these goals.

#4. Set Deadlines

Setting deadlines for your goals and related actions is critical in effective goal setting and implementation. By setting deadlines, you are far more motivated to working on your goals in the most efficient manner possible, ensuring that you procrastinate as little as possible. Setting deadlines also allows you to measure your progress as you take steps towards achieving your goals.

#5 Seek Support

Getting the support of friends and family who will assist you towards achieving your goals can greatly contribute to your success in reaching your goals. Find support from those close to you in achieving your goals and get them to “buy in” and support you in implementing your goals. Such support can also serve the purpose of accountability. Your coach can offer the support and encouragement you need.

 #6. Get a successful mentor

Mentors can offer direct or indirect assistance. You can get direct advice from successful people, or indirectly through the motivation provided by their success. As Anthony Robbins said, “Success leaves clues, follow it”. Read books, listen to audio and video programs, attend seminars and get the benefit on offer from those who have been successful at what you want to do.

#7. Regular Review

It is important to have regular reviews of your goals and your progress in attaining your goals. Even if you have already set up the previous steps, it may be easy to lose sight of your goals as time passes by. By regularly reviewing your goals, you can monitor whether you are on target with your goals. If not, you can then adjust your actions in order to meet your goals.

#8. Be flexible

Every now and then, life will throw unexpected circumstances into the mix. You should always be flexible with your goals and your actions. Often times, circumstances occur which you didn’t or couldn’t possibly anticipate or plan for. Being flexible will your life easier and help you to be at peace with the unavoidable change to your goals.

#9. Make contingency plans

While there are circumstances that may come into play that you did not expect, it is always important to take reasonable precautions against adverse circumstances. For an entrepreneur, having someone who can take over your business or your work for you in cases of emergency is one example of contingency planning. Contingency plans allow for the successful progression towards attaining your goals, even in the event of unexpected setbacks.

#10. Take Action

You have heard it said before that talk is cheap. After all said and done, the rubber must hit the road. You must take action on your goals. After setting your goals and making your plans, take the first step towards achieving what you have set down to achieve. Taking action is a lot easier than you think. Take the first step today and see the results unfold.

Why not leave a comment below and tell us how you got on.

How Better Anger Management Can Help You Reduce Stress At Work

Work related stress has been defined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as a harmful reaction people have due to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work. Simply put, stress is your reaction to the pressures of life and work.

How Better Anger Management Can Help You Reduce Stress At Work

Being under too much stress can have negative impacts on your physical and mental well being. But you can learn to respond to the pressures of work in ways that will not cause you harm. And one of such ways is to learn to control your anger.

Stress and anger have been found to be related. Anger is one of the emotions that puts the body under stress. For example, when angry, I can feel my heart beat faster. This could be a sign of raised blood pressure. If I remain angry or stressed for long periods, the possibilities of a heart attack cannot be ruled out.

Anger in itself can be a good thing. However uncontrolled anger will negatively harm you and others around you. If you control your anger, you will create a conducive environment for yourself, your family and your work colleagues.

Here are six ways to manage your anger and reduce stress.

#1. Recognise the signals, signs and triggers

This means you have to increase your self awareness and understand the events or activities that have the potential of triggering your anger. This increased awareness can prevent anger outbursts from happening. Should you be unable to avoid the situation, you can plan your response before hand and react rationally rather than with anger.

#2. Avoid anger triggers

Avoiding unnecessary and unhelpful situations that trigger your anger is another way of practicing good anger management. For example, you may be frequently upset because of your long daily commute or because you are overloaded with work. By doing such things as leaving home a little earlier to avoid the rush hour or by asking a colleague at work for assistance with the workload, you can avoid situations that trigger anger.

#3. Learn anger relieving behaviour

By using anger relieving techniques, you can stop your anger from getting out of hand. Simple techniques such as slowing down your breathing or counting to ten are effective in relieving anger.

#4. Take good care of your health

If your body is under a lot of stress and strain, you could be prone to angry outbursts. Just getting a good nights rest will prevent you from feeling cranky and irritable in the morning.

A proper work life balance can also help to prevent your being frustrated. Taking good care of your physical and mental health will ensure that you have a much higher capacity to deal with situations without getting angry.

#5. Exercise

Exercise is closely related to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise helps you to physically express your emotions in a safe and useful way. Exercise is also known to stimulate chemicals in the brain that helps you feel much happier, relaxed and in a good mood. Running, swimming, meditation and yoga are all exercises that help you deal with anger.

#6. Get support

Having a support network of family and friends you trust is a good thing. If you are under pressure at work, you need to be able to talk to someone you can trust. Simply finding ways to talk about challenges is in itself therapeutic. You can also receive motivation to stop your angry outbursts and other forms of help.

Just do it

Practicing anger management with some of the techniques listed above can help you regain self-control in difficult situations. This will in turn give a positive boost to your personal and work life.

Do you know any anger management techniques not listed? Why not share your tips with some of our readers by leaving a comment.

5 Keys To a Positive Attitude

A quick look at the word attitude in the dictionary reveals several meanings for the word. From the positive and negative orientation of the mind to your posture and the way your body is leaning.

Believe In Yourself

I like the oxford dictionary definition which describes attitude as a settled way of thinking or feeling that is typically reflected in a persons behaviour.

Settled means that it takes time, thinking points to the mind, feeling makes it an emotional thing and its reflection in behaviour means it can be seen in you.

So How Do You Get Your Attitudes?

  1. From your personal experiences.
  2. From repeated observations of people around you
  3. From what people tell you and what you tell your self
  4. From your childhood and family upbringing
  5. From what you hear and see in the media. The music you listen to and the films you watch.

And Why Do You Need A Positive Attitude.

You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses – Ziggy

With a positive attitude, you suddenly see things differently. Problems are no longer hindrances but challenges to be overcome. You suddenly become aware of new possibilities and you have great hope and optimism about the future. I have trained myself to have a positive mental attitude and I am highly optimistic about my ability to succeed in whatever I do. This does not mean that I succeed in everything, it just means that I take up each challenge with a can do mindset.

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind – William James

With a positive attitude, you are pleasant to be around. Never underestimate the fact that if people like you, they are more likely to employ you or do business with you. And by the way not everyone will like you and not everyone will like what you stand for. A smile will go along way to open the door of peoples heart to your cause. So will the principle of seeking first to understand before being understood.

Every exit is an entry somewhere – Tom Stoppard

Here Are 5 Keys To Unlock The Positive Attitude In You.

#1. You can choose your attitude in advance

This means you are internally motivated and will not allow you attitude to be affected by the events going on around you. I find it difficult to understand how the weather can be miserable. I can understand it being wet, cold with a gray cloud cover but not miserable.

#2. Demonstrate humour, energy and enthusiasm

There is always humour in everything. Find it and then have a laugh. Increase the pace at which you walk. Let your enthusiasm for life show in everything that you do.

#3. Stay away from negative influence

Bad news travels fast and so does negative influences and attitudes. You are more likely to share your bad experience about a company with someone than your good experiences. Here is a good warning. Steer clare of people who drag other people down. They are likely to pull you down as well. Find people with a positive attitude to be around

#4. Be a can do person

Be a solution to peoples problems.

Every exit is an entry somewhere.” – Tom Stoppard

Understand that life or government does not owe you anything. Life is going to put obstacles in front of you. Put on your creative problem solving hat and find the opportunity to grow and advance in every challenge.

#5. Embrace change

Expect it and accept it. There is no point in trying to resist change. Change is a fact of life. The cells in your body are changing, how we do business is changing and how we communicate is rapidly changing. You just cannot stop it so you might as well embrace it and make the most of it.

 In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. – Eric Hoffer

Be a learner and inherit the earth. Have a positive attitude and go out and have a great life. Leave a comment.

6 Principles of Sticky Ideas

Chip and Dan Heath in ‘Made to Stick helps us to understand why so many urban myths have survived for thousands of years and yet we struggle to communicate or remember information that is vital for our own success. Sticky ideas follow a pattern which has been summarised in six principles.

Made to Stick

Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Tipping Point’ used the phrase ‘The Stickiness factor” to explain why some ideas and product innovations are more likely to spread and thrive.

Both books make great read and from made to stick here are 6 factors that can make your idea, product or headline stick:

#1. Simple

If you can say it with two words, say it with two and not twenty. If your organisation stands for many things, no one will know what you stand for.  To stand for one thing means you must know what you do not stand for. Be a master of exclusion and learn to say no with a smile.

Simple according to Dan and Chip Heath simple is not dumbing down. Simply answer the what one thing question and the express it in as few words as possible.

The ultimate model of simplicity: one sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning to follow it ~ Made to Stick

#2. Unexpected

Stories stick if they contain an unexpected twist. To get attention, you need to say or do something unexpected. State the unexpected.

#3. Concrete

You need to learn to live in the world of concretes and not abstract. The man in the yellow short sleeve shirt is more visible that the same man with a light coloured shirt. Express your ideas in with word pictures than can be seen and felt. Follow this link for a list of fuzzy words that will not do your idea any good. Vivid and concrete images allow ideas to easily cling to memory

#4. Credible

If people do not believe you then they will not remember your message. Since few people will bother to challenge your statement, the credibility must be contained in the idea. This allows your audience to test the validity of your claim in their mind before choosing to accept it. Dan sites the example of president Ronald Reagan who did rather than use statistics simply asked voters to judge for themselves if they were better off today than they were four years earlier.

#5. Emotion

An appeal to the emotions is always a recipe for success. People will think with their head but act from the heart. In public speaking, it is said that people my not remember what you said, but will certainly remember how you made them feel. Ideas that exploit the emotions of greed, fear and disgust tend to be remembered more.

#6. Stories

We remember stories more than statistics. To get people to act on your idea, tell stories of how others have acted on it and had results. We all love a good story which has a simple plot, contains unexpected twists, expressed in a language that helps us feel see and touch it, is relatable and credible an appeals to our emotions.

Made to Stick is full of ideas, anecdotes and illustrations about products and ideas that stick. Reading this book will help you make your ideas and products stick in the minds of others.

Why not leave a comment if you have read Made to Stick.

7 Ways to Combat Procrastination

The war against procrastination is an ongoing one for many people. Because of procrastination, your workday can end up becoming hours lost to drifting thoughts, distractions and diversions. Your days task is incomplete. Suddenly you realise that an entire day has been wasted and you have to set out another day to do the same work.

Combating Procrastination

Procrastination divides your attention and prevents concentration.

Why We Procrastination

In general we procrastinate because of one or more of the following reasons:

  • The need to avoid anxiety
  • The inability to control our impulses to engage in enjoyable activities
  • The need to avoid a stressful task or assignment
  • The inability to maintain focus
  • The need to avoid failure or success

Thankfully, there are a number of effective ways to combat procrastination. Here are 7 useful methods to defeat procrastination:

#1. Eliminate Distractions

By taking away the availability of objects or activities that might distract you and stop you from focusing on the task at hand, you will become more productive and reduce procrastination. In fact, it has been shown that people can only reach peak productivity by focusing on one activity at a time.

Distractions not only cause you to procrastinate while being distracted, but it also means that you have to re-focus on the task every time you are distracted.

In order to defeat procrastination, set aside some time when you will only concentrate on the one activity that needs to be done. Put away any object that might distract you from what you need to get done.

#2. Reward Yourself

Rewarding yourself for sustained productivity is a great way to combat procrastination. By setting yourself a goal and choosing a reward  that will keep you motivated, you are more likely to stay focused with the reward at the back of your mind.

While many employees may have set rewards, it is more difficult for leaders as you may have to come up with novel ways of rewarding yourself. So next time that you have a task you need to complete, set yourself a suitable but enticing reward for not procrastinating and work towards attaining your goal with that reward in mind.

#3. Separate Work and Play Areas

By separating the areas where you work from those that you engage in other activities, you can cut down on the amount of procrastination that you do. Instead of working in a number of different places, ensure that you have a dedicated office or area where you work. All other activities such as watching television and socialising on social media should be avoided from your dedicated work area. By doing this, you automatically switch to “work mode” whenever you enter your work area. This also gives you a place to go whenever you need to be productive.

#4. Have a Productivity Buddy

Having others encourage you to stay productive will go a long way in beating procrastination. This type of positive peer pressure will keep you more focused. This is because someone is watching and monitoring your progress. Your productivity buddy becomes a valuable resource to support and encourage you to increase your productivity and avoid procrastination.

#5. Set a schedule/to do list

Making a schedule of activities that need to be done may prove to be effective in beating procrastination. The University of Oregon recommends scheduling tasks such as creating a list of activities to be completed and planning a realistic weekly schedule.

Many people who procrastinate do so because they underestimate the amount of time that they have to complete tasks or underestimate how much time each task should take. By scheduling your tasks, you can better estimate exactly how much you need to get done daily and also ensure that you don’t spend too much or too little time on each task.

#6. Prioritize

Organising your tasks by priority will ensure that you reach maximum productivity. Even if you spend your entire day working, you would not reach peak productivity if you saved the most important tasks for last, leading you to rush the work and commit errors. By prioritising and separating tasks according to their urgency, you can ensure that you reach peak productivity and dedicate more time to the most important and urgent tasks.

#7. Just do it

By starting on tasks as quickly as possible, you can limit the amount of procrastination you are subject to. According to the University of California, people are less likely to procrastinate on tasks that they have already started, because of their inherent drive to finish tasks that are already underway.  Instead of waiting to start that project or paper, clear your desk and begin working on it now.

Even though procrastination may feel good while you’re doing it, it can lead to stress, headache, and broken deadlines. By following these 7 ways to combat procrastination, you too can beat procrastination and chart a highly productive course for your life and business.

Why not leave a comment and tell me about your experience at combatting procrastination.

7 Ways To Manage Your Stress Level

Your ability to manage your stress levels will distinguish you as a well-adapted and balanced leader.

7 Ways To Manage Your Stress Level

Stress can be good for you and I. This is because stress can encourage change. And change can lead to improved performance on and off the job.

There are however a few not so good things about stress. Here are a few I can think of.

Effects of Stress on You

  • Stress can take a negative toll on health and well being
  • Stress can lead to suppression of the immune system
  • Stress can make the body susceptible to a number of infectious diseases
  • Stress has been linked to other diseases such as hives, ulcers and heart diseases
  • Stress can induce emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression

7 Ways to Effectively Manage Stress

It is almost impossible to completely eliminate stress. However, there are a number of ways you can reduce the amount of stress you have and train yourself to cope with stress.Taking some of these measures will reduce the physical and emotional health tolls of stress.

Here are 7 ways to effectively manage stress:

#1. Recognise the Signals of Oncoming Stress

One of the ways to best cope with stress is to recognise the signals that you are becoming too stressed. You need to know what activities and events trigger raised stress levels in your life. This will help you come up with strategies to reduce the amount of stress you are facing. It can also be an opportunity to weigh the benefits of some activities or completely eliminate activities that are particularly stressful.

#2. Build a Support System

By building a support system of co-workers, friends and family, you are better able to manage stress. Support systems are useful because others can help or assist you with emotional support during stressful events or activities. They can also suggest strategies for helping you cope with stress.

#3. Proper Planning and Organising

Proper planning and organising of your daily tasks is essential to good stress management. A study by noted psychologist Robert Epstein identified planning as the best technique for managing stress. Many people become stressed due to time pressures, where they leave important activities for the last minute then feel rushed and stressed to finish them within a short period of time. By planning, organising, and setting a schedule, you manage your time better and allow enough time to complete important activities without having to rush.  As a result, you have more time to relax and are not constantly be under pressure to finish a task.

#4. Exercise

Exercise is critical to building your body’s ability to manage stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise reduces stress and anxiety, improves your ability to sleep and boosts your immune system’s defences. Even though many leaders may not believe that they have the time to exercise, just a few minutes 2-3 days per week will have a major effect on your body’s ability to manage stress.

#5. Daily breaks

It is important to take breaks during the day to relieve stress. By giving yourself time to get away from stress, your body can return to its de-stressed condition. You refresh yourself mentally and put yourself in a better position to tackle stressful events and activities. While leaders may be tempted to commit to a non-stop work schedule, these breaks often prove to be a great boost to productivity in addition to relieving stress.

#6. Confront Stress Head on

By confronting unavoidable stressful events instead of trying to avoid them, you limit the time that they can take a toll on your body and mind. In addition to limiting this, confronting stressful activities also allows you to lessen their effect on you as your body is not affected as negatively. Feel the fear and do it. Take on the stressful task, complete it and then move on.

#7. Rest and Relaxation

Getting enough rest and relaxation is critical in properly managing stress levels. By getting enough sleep and taking enough time away from work, you allow your body to recover from stressful environments. You also reduce the negative physical and emotional effects of stress on your life.

Stress is Unavoidable

Even though stress is an unavoidable part of our daily routine, it doesn’t have to take a major toll on your mental and physical health. By following the above tips, you can achieve a successful work/life balance and achieve successful stress management.

Why not leave a comment and tell me how you manage stress.

Mediocrity; A Cost You Cannot Afford -7 Keys To Excellence

Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better. ~ Gordon B. Hinckley


There is no universal agreement to the meaning of excellence. This is because excellence is a journey that will yield different results at different stages. Excellence is simply putting in your best effort to get your best result with what you have.

Excellence is an attitude. An approach to life and work. The net result is that you will stand out of the crowd.

If excellence gets you distinguished amongst the competition, then adopting an attitude of excellence can only be a good thing. In your career, an attitude of excellence will result in advancement. In your business, an attitude to excellence will result in more satisfied customers and more growth and profit.

Excellence and Money

Many argue that there is a cost element to excellence and that the more resources you have, the better you are at delivering an excellent customer experience. Indeed excellence may mean you putting extra staff to work to deliver greater value to your customers or you spending extra time at work to pay greater attention to details. So it will cost you money and time.

There are only two ways to create and sustain superior performance over over the long haul. First, take exceptional care of your customers via superior services and superior quality. Second, constantly innovate ~ Tom Peters

To put the price of excellence in context, think of what it will cost you not to have excellence? Yes inferior services, inferior quality and stagnation. All these can be summed up in one word. Mediocrity; described by my friend Steve as the best of the worst and the worst of the best.

Keys to Action

Excellence is not a function of money or experience. Where you have travelled the road, acquired money and experience, your excellent attitude to what you do will significantly enhance your results. Your continued devotion to achieving excellence will produce a superior performance.

7 Keys to Excellence

Let me help you out with my top seven keys to excellence in any area.

#1: 99.9% Is Not Enough

Dan Gables the 1972 Olympic Games Wrestling Gold medalist best known for his tenure as University of Iowa head coach who won 16 national championships puts it this way, “I am a believer in starting with high standards and raising them. We make progress only when we push ourselves to the highest level”. People will not remember the nine hundred and ninety nine times you got their product or services delivered right. Its that one bad customer experience that gets spread over social media. You cannot stop unit you have perfected the art of getting it right all the time.

#2: Go The Extra Mile

This is to exceed expectations. This is to over deliver on what is expected. My friend Marc describes it like this, You need to find out what best looks like in your job and then exceed it”. Excellence is an attitude that says I will exceed the expectations of my customers, my employees and my shareholders.

#3: Evaluate And Learn

Feedback is said to be the food of champions. The only way to learn, grow and get better is to have your performance evaluated. You learn from and improve on the evaluation received. Many years ago, American Automobile Manufacturers would slow down the speed of the assembly line to avoid breakdowns. In contrast, Japanese car manufactures would put the line to its paces until it reached break point and the assembly line was stopped. The Japanese would then intensively study the source of breakdown and put in place preventive measures.  While one manufacture avoided mistakes by slowing down and introducing slack, the other sought breakdowns by pushing boundaries, taking corrective action and then pushing boundaries again. Needless to say, both had different results.

How do you see Time?

#4: Give Attention To Detail

Excellence is found in the little things. The smile on the face of the customer attendant when welcoming customers, the cleanliness of the display counter and the orderly arrangement of flowers at the reception desk. Excellence is found in the clutter free work environment, properly planned and spaced out appointment schedules and the starting and finishing of meetings on time. The little things add up to make a big thing.

#5: Continuous Innovation

You have to be challenge the mindset that wants to rest on its laurels. You need to have an experimenting mentality that says if its not broken, break it up and then put it together to make it better, faster and deliver more value to customers. If you leave it unbroken, then you can be sure that your competitor will come out with a superior product and take your once satisfied customers away from you.

#6: Suppress Your Ego

Get it done by someone else who can do it better than you. Excellence is found in you knowing your limitations. Excellence is found in you finding your niche and then putting in the effort to be the best available in your field. There is generalised knowledge, there is specialised knowledge and there is the organisation and application of knowledge. All you need to know is that which gives you an edge over your competition.

#7: Take Responsibility For Results

It doesn’t matter how much you delegate or empower others, as the leader, the buck stops at your desk. It is your responsibility to get the right results through the collective effort of your team. Don’t delegate and walk away.  Agree on the means and frequency of reporting back. Agree on the parameters to be reported and agree on the targets to be reached. In your personal life, be proactive. You have the ability to influence the outcome of your life  by your actions or inactions.

Hidden Strengths

The Journey

Excellence is a journey. It is not a destination that you are heading for. Take whatever keys is applicable to you and use it daily to unleash the power of excellence in your life and business. The cost of mediocrity is too high a price to pay.

Purpose today to develop an excellent attitude to everything that you do and you will be rewarded with success in life.

And if you have any other helpful keys to excellence, why not leave a comment below.

Increase Productivity by Reducing Distractions

Productivity is meaningless unless you know what your goal is Eliyahu Goldrat

Increase Productivity by Reducing Distractions

For as long as I remember I have always had to struggle to maintain focus and avoid distractions. I still do battle daily against the things that take my attention away from what I have set my mind and heart to achieve.

Believe it or not, but productivity increases inversely with distractions. If you have no ambition or big goals you want to accomplish, it is unlikely that you will derive any benefits from reducing distractions. So what is a distraction?

A distraction is that which divides your attention or prevents concentration.

When I set out to write my blog posts, my mind wanders and my attention is divided between what I am doing and the many other things I want to do. I constantly have to fight to get back on track and complete the task. This for me is energy draining and a cause of low productivity. So I set out to increase my productivity, get more done and achieve my goals by reducing distractions.

Here are 5 changes I made to my working life that has yielded big results.

  1. Create A Personal Work Space.

Your personal work space includes your desk, your chair, the walls around you, access to day light, room temperature and any other thing you can think of that makes for a pleasant environment. The more comfortable you are in your chair, the less you would fidget and the longer you will stay and complete your work.

Keeping a clutter free work environment will add to your productivity. Look around you. Do you like the look and feel of where you work? If not, come up with three things you can do to make yourself relaxed and comfortable.

  1. Turn Off Emails, Telephone and Text

I am one of those persons who checks his email as soon as it arrives. So I have lights that blink when I get an email, a buzzer that rings when I get a text and a phone that vibrates when on silent.

For years I couldn’t imagine life without a smart phone. However, after overcoming the withdrawal symptoms, I get more done in my day with the phone turned off.

If you have work to do that demands focus and attention, you may want to try having these things turned off.

  1. Take Some Time To Plan Your Day In Advance

If you start your day without a plan, you are more likely to end that day without achieving much. Take some time to plan your day in advance. The previous night is a good time to do this. Set goals and have targets for the day.

A list of what you want to do or achieve is a simple tool that can make you more productive. On completion of a task, you do not have to spend time wondering what to do next. You simply look at your list and tackle the next task.

  1. Use A Timer

When on social media, decide how much time you want to spend and then spend no more that the time you have allocated. A timer is a wonderful device which simply bleeps when your allocated time is up.

When writing, use your timer, when researching online, use a timer and when you go to sleep in the middle of the day, if you have that luxury, use your timer.

  1. Record, Review And Reward

Many years ago when I was struggling with money, I was given a sheet of paper to record and keep track of my spending. The result of that exercise was an eye opener. By tracking my spending I was able to review my actual spend against my planned spend. I had actual numbers that were always different from the plan. I didn’t need much prompting to make spending cuts.

What you track you can change. Keep track of how you spend your time. Record how many minutes in your day you spend doing actual productive work. Record how many minutes you spend watching television. Record how many minutes you spend on the telephone and on social media.

Review what you have recorded. Make necessary adjustments and reward yourself for good behaviour.

Why not add your own productivity tip by leaving a comment below.

Book Review – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R Covey

to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know. ~ Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is recognised as one of the most influential books ever written. This book has sold more than 25 million copies in 38 languages world wide. It must have more influence on me than I realised because I have a print and an audio copy.

So whats so special about the 7 habits?

Your habits will determine your future

You can live your life by design or default. To design the future you want, you need to be aware of the habits that take you towards and the habits that pull you away from your desired future.

Successful people have successful habits and unsuccessful people don’t ~Jack Canfield

In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey starts by introducing the concept of a paradigm. Using the analogy of a map, having a wrong paradigm is like trying to find you way around the city of London with a map of Manchester labelled London. You will experience a great deal of frustration and hardship because you have an incorrectly labelled map. We see things based not on reality but on our own version of reality.

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.~ Albert Einstein

Steven Covey proposes a new and deeper level of thinking that will lead to the creation of 7 habits that can and will change your life. My top three are:

  1. Be Proactive – Principle of Personal Vision. – Take responsibility for your future. You have the ability to change many things about your life and future by proactively making newer and better choices that will lead you down your desired path. Proactive people according to Covey have the freedom to choose their response to external stimulus. There are lots of illustrations in the book about how you can take control of your life and influence the outcome.
  1. Synergize – Principle of Creative Cooperation. – Simply put, one plus one is greater than two (1+1>2). Synergy is more than working together. It is thinking TEAM (Together Each Achieves More). When we work together as a team, we must value our differences and combine our strengths to achieve much more than each individual can. This is about collaboration with an abundance mindset.
  1. Sharpen the Saw – Principle of Balanced Self-Renewal. Steven Covey identifies four dimensions of renewal
    • The body needs physical renewal though exercise, healthy eating and stress management
    • The mind needs a mental renewal via reading, writing, visualising and planning
    • The spiritual dimension is renewed by our continuous value clarification and commitment to study and meditation
    • Our relationships will benefit from a social and emotional balance through our own internal security, service to others and empathy.

This book is a classic that is worth reading or re-reading to reinforce your good habit of sharpening the saw and perhaps pick up one or two new habits.

The world we live in today may have changed from the time Covey wrote this book, but the principles contained in the seven habits are timeless in its application and they will certainly change your life if you make them habits.

Why not leave a comment if you have read this book or read the book and then leave a comment.