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Great post from @michealhyatt about delegation. Find ways to leverage your work.

To be an effective leader, you have to become good at delegating. The problem is that what made you successful doesn’t usually scale.

The Delegation Matrix

To grow—both personally and organizationally—you have to increasingly focus on those high payoff activities where you add the most value and get rid of everything else. As Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, once said,

I purposed never to do anything others could or would do when there was so much of importance to be done that others could or would not do.

Over the weekend, I was talking to my daughter, Mary Crimmins, and her husband Chris about this. Mary is in the process of hiring a virtual assistant and wanted to know what she should delegate first.

After thinking about it for a few minutes, I said, “Well, the first thing I would get rid of are those tasks that I don’t enjoy and am not good at.” I then drew the 2 x 2 matrix on a whiteboard, similar to the one above. (It is similar to the one Bryan Miles shares in my ebook, The Virtual Assistant Solution: Come Up for Air, Offload the Work You Hate, and Focus on What You Do Best.

My wife Gail soon joined us and we had a great discussion about what virtual assistants could make possible in our personal and professional lives. We each identified one task or activity in each quadrant.

I see these quadrants as a set of priorities when it comes to figuring out what to delegate first. They are designed to measure passion (how much you enjoy a task) and competence (how good you are at a task). These are not the same.

  1. Priority 1: Delegate First. These are your lowest payoff activities. They are the ones you dread, because you don’t enjoy them and you aren’t good at them. By hanging on to them, you are holding you and your organization back. The sooner you delegate them, the better.
  2. Priority 2: Delegate Next. These activities should be delegated, too. They are not as urgent as Priority 1, because you are at least good at these tasks. However, while others may benefit, you don’t. They drain you and keep you from doing your best work.
  3. Priority 3: Pause and Evaluate. These are the tasks that are tough. You love doing them, but you aren’t particularly good at them. The question is whether or not you could become competent with the right training. Regardless, you should purpose to get good or get out.
  4. Priority 4: Don’t Delegate. These are your highest payoff activities—both for you and your organization. This is where you experience the most satisfaction and make the greatest contribution. You want to do more of these kinds of activities.

Often people don’t consider delegation because they think they can’t afford a virtual assistant. This is exactly backwards.

In my experience, resources always follow vision. Until I get clear on what I need, the resources don’t show up. Why should they? What would I do with them?

via What Tasks Should You Delegate First? | Michael Hyatt.

great article from http://impossiblehq.com on remote work.  been looking for a ton of advice on this lately. this looks unique and strong. trying this next week.

The Big Problem

If you work for yourself or from home, you’re probably familiar with “fake work” – work where you’re not really doing anything. If you have a day job, a lot of the crap that your boss sends your way may feel like this too – work for work’s sake.

However, if you’re an entrepreneur, it can be even worse.

You find yourself spending hours at your computer, dutifully “working” but getting very little done. You finish each day with the dreaded feeling that you’re behind, and that you’re only falling farther and farther behind. You’re buried below an ever-growing to-do list. There’s a feeling of dread that tomorrow is coming, and that it’s bringing with it even more work that you probably won’t be able to get ahead on.

Meanwhile, deep down, you know you’re not being effective 100% of the time. You know you’re secretly wasting time browsing Facebook and Reddit, answering email, and doing stuff that simply doesn’t move the needle in your business. You spend hours at your computer, making almost no progress on the stuff that needs to get done, yet feeling like you’re working longer hours than ever.

How do you fix that? How do you become more productive, focus more, and get more stuff done in less time?

The answer: workplace popcorn.

Here’s how it works:

Workplace Popcorn

Create A List Of Things To Do Today

List out everything you need to do today. Try to be as specific as you can. Ensure that each item on your list is a clear action rather than a vague intention.

By the end of the day, you want to be able to look back at each item on your list and say, “Yes, I did it,” or “No, I didn’t do it”. If you’re not quite sure if you’d be able to say yes or no at the end of the day, I’ll save you some time: you’re not being specific enough.

todo list

Here are some examples of tasks that you could and could not add to your list:

Bad

  • Get some stuff done.
  • Make some progress on Impossible Fitness.
  • Get started on blog posts.

All of these tasks suck. You wouldn’t be able to look back at the end of the day and say, “Yes, I did that,” or “No, I didn’t do that.”

Here’s what you should do instead:

Good

  • Write a post of at least 800 words about my new productivity technique, and send it to Joanna.
  • Write a complete guide to creating your Impossible List (at least 2,000 words), and send it to Joanna for editing.
  • Write a mini guide on the FPC Protocol (upcoming).

I can cross off and either say “yes” or “no” to every single one of these tasks.

A great tool for this part of the technique which I use for my daily tasks list is Any.do. Of course you can simply take this offline and use a notebook. That works just as well.

Break That List Up Into Three Equal Sections

Next, break that list into three sections. These sections should be equal in terms of how much time they’re likely to take to complete. If you’re not sure how long a task will take, guess. It’s okay – you don’t have to get it spot on.

Group #1

  • Task 1 (1 hour)
  • Task 2 (45 minutes)
  • Task 3 (45 minutes)
    • Total time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Group #2

  • Task 1 (1 hour)
  • Task 2 (30 minutes)
  • Task 3 (1 hour)
    • Total time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Group #3

  • Task 1 (30 minutes)
  • Task 2 (45 minutes)
  • Task 3 (45 minutes)
    • Total time: 2 hours

Find Three Locations To Work From

Whenever I move to a new city, the first thing I do is hunt down all the good coffee shops.

cafe

I now have a few favorites that I hole up at to get work done. They were picked based on the following criteria:

  1. Good coffee
  2. Space to work
  3. Outlet availability and WiFi

The chances are that, if you’re in a similar sized city, you’ve got quite a few shops to choose from.

Take your time. Check out Yelp, Google maps, and Urbanspoon, or just walk around and find new spots, whatever. Find at least three different locations to work from that are outside your house.

You can find more locations later but, for now, start with three.

Please note: “Working from home” is the least desirable option here. If you do “work from home”, select a space in your home as your “work area”. Use this space for work only. Resist the urge to work from your bed or couch. It’s comfortable and tempting but you will get approximately zero work done there.

Take Action

Now you’ve done all the lead work already, this part will be pretty simple. Here’s the full two-step process:

Step 1: Go to cafe #1.

Step 2: Start working on action item group #1.

Important: Only focus on the items in action item group #1. In fact, try to forget about the other items on your list. You want to laser in on the action items for this list and nothing else.

Once you finish all the tasks in group #1, get up and move. Close your tabs, pack your bags, and physically move your butt to your next spot. If you can, walk or bike to your next stop. Avoid driving if you can. The physical activity is important.

Use this time to practice your zen, take a break from your screen, and get some movement into your day. Keep your phone in your pocket, and move. Take a break away from work for at least thirty minutes. Whatever you do, don’t go back to the same place you just left.

Biznass Class Option [2] – Switch up your iPod while you’re walking and jam out to a podcast on 1.5x speed. Here’s a good one. :)

When you get to the next cafe, start on the next action item group, and repeat.

Do this until everything on your list is done.

When you’ve completed everything on your to-do list for the day, you are done working. Relax, kick back, and live your life. Don’t take work home with you because that won’t help you get more done – it will just wear you out.

Workstation Popcorn

My Experience

Ever since I stumbled on this idea, I’ve been tweaking it a bit to fit my needs, and I’ve seen an immediate spike in my productivity levels. Here’s what’s happened.

A Few Intentional (and Unintended) Consequences

I Work Fewer Hours

I found that, as well as getting more stuff done, I was also working less time. Instead of working out of a home office, and “always being on”, I’ve been able to get more done and actually finish my work earlier. I’ve also been able to stop bringing work home.

I Get More Done

Okay, so this wasn’t an unintended consequence (it was actually the aim) but, using this system, I’ve gone from writing one to two blog posts a week and getting some other non-important stuff done to writing over six posts a week and getting ahead of the curve on most of my projects.

I Explore More Places

When you have to go to three new places each day, you tend to find yourself roaming all over the city, finding new spots that you wouldn’t normally get to if you stuck to one or two “go-to” spots or if you worked from your home office.

I Sleep Better

This is sort of strange but I’ve found that I’ve actually started sleeping better. Before, I often used to keep myself up at night, wondering whether or not I’d actually done enough for the day and worrying about the stuff I’d have to do the next day. Approaching my day this way has given me a sense of closure at the end of the day, and I’ve been able to relax a little bit. Whenever I start thinking about the stuff I have to do the next day, I just write my ideas down and trust that I’ll knock it out when it’s time to work.

I’ve Don’t Waste Time

With the crazy focus on just three tasks per location, I don’t screw around as much anymore. I force myself to get started as soon as I sit down and I know exactly what I have to do. When I finish my tasks, I get up and leave. I don’t mess around on Facebook, on news sites, or with other time wasters. When I’m “working”, I’m actually working.

I Work Out More

Now that I’m forced to move every two hours or so, I’ve found that I move more overall. As I’ve forced myself to walk or bike everywhere, the default amount of exercise that I get in each week has shot up. Also, since I’ve decided to make myself stop working at certain times each day, I’ve now got much, much more time to actually work out before and after my work day.

I Find That The Hardest Part is Deciding What To Do

If nothing else, this framework has shown me once again that working usually isn’t that hard.Deciding to work is hard. Even worse, deciding what to focus on is hard. The greatest productivity hack in the world is simply deciding what to do. By getting this out of the way of your work flow by doing this at the beginning of the exercise, you leave tons of open space in your work schedule to just get $#*! done.

Custom-Built – How To Make This Your Own

A few things to note:

  • Obviously you can choose to do more or fewer tasks at each cafe. The point is to divide the tasks into different categories that take approximately the same amount of time. Three is usually a good number because it, with just three tasks ahead of you, it’s hard to get overwhelmed.
  • Email is not an important task. You’re not allowed to put this on your list. It can be “end of day” work that you tack on once your other stuff is finished.

  • If you need to complete a task which will require a longer period of focused creation time, make a “focus Oreo”. A focus Oreo is made up of two short sessions which bookend a longer focus session. Feel free to play around with this idea to make it suit your needs.
  • If you want to be really hardcore, don’t use your computer charger for one of the sessions. Instead of imposing an “outside” restriction on your work that you may or may not follow, you’ll force yourself to finish all your stuff before your computer dies. Good luck.
  • This is sort of a macro-level version of the Pomodoro technique, except that, instead of working in 25 minute segments, you’re planning out your entire day. You can combine this with the actual Pomodoro technique for uber-productivity.
  • A productivity post wouldn’t be a productivity post without some mention of music for productivity. This could be a whole post on it’s own (and maybe it will be). Typically, I listen to EDM and it usually puts me into a trance. It also has the unfortunate side effect of making me bounce my head back and forth in the middle of a coffee shop, leaving me looking ridiculous. If you’d like to increase your productivity without looking like an idiot, these tools might help:

That’s it. Plan out your daily task items, and get stuff done. Try it out and let me know how it works for you!

[1] If you’re reading this, random HN commenter, thanks! (Let me know who you are and I’ll credit you properly.)

[2] Biznass Class is an unregistered trademark of TMBA 🙂 (Seriously, you guys should trademark this already.)

Photo credit: Stacy SpensleyAlper Çuğun

 

Workstation Popcorn: How To Become Uber Productive While Working For Yourself | IMPOSSIBLE.

Thought this is one of the best reads so far in 2014. Worth every second.

When you meet someone, after, “What do you do?” you’re out of things to say.

You suck at small talk, and those first five minutes are tough because you’re a little shy and a little insecure.

But you want to make a good impression. You want people to genuinely like you.

Here’s how remarkably likeable people do it:

1. They lose the power pose.

I know: Your parents taught you to stand tall, square your shoulders, stride purposefully forward, drop your voice a couple of registers, and shake hands with a firm grip.

It’s great to display nonverbal self-confidence, but go too far and it seems like you’re trying to establish your importance. That makes the “meeting” seem like it’s more about you than it is the other person—and no one likes that.

No matter how big a deal you are you pale in comparison to say, oh, Nelson Mandela. So take a cue from him. Watch how he greets Bill Clinton, no slouch at this either.

Clinton takes a step forward (avoiding the “you must come to me” power move); Mandela steps forward with a smile and bends slightly forward as if, ever so slightly, to bow (a clear sign of deference and respect in nearly every culture); Clinton does the same. What you have are two important people who put aside all sense of self-importance or status. They’re genuine.

Next time you meet someone, relax, step forward, tilt your head towards them slightly, smile, and show that you’re the one who is honored by the introduction—not them.

We all like people who like us. If I show you I’m genuinely happy to meet you, you’ll instantly start to like me. (And you’ll show that you do, which will help calm my nerves and let me be myself.)

2. They embrace the power of touch.

Nonsexual touch can be very powerful. (Yes, I’m aware that sexual touch can be powerful too.) Touch can influence behavior, increase the chances of compliance, make the person doing the touching seem more attractive and friendly.

Go easy, of course: Pat the other person lightly on the upper arm or shoulder. Make it casual and nonthreatening.

Check out Clinton’s right-hand-shakes-hands-left-hand-touches-Mandela’s-forearm-a-second-later handshake in the link above and tell me, combined with his posture and smile, that it doesn’t come across as genuine and sincere.

Think the same won’t work for you? Try this: The next time you walk up behind a person you know, touch them lightly on the shoulder as you go by. I guarantee you’ll feel like a more genuine greeting was exchanged.

Touch breaks down natural barriers and decreases the real and perceived distance between you and the other person—a key component in liking and in being liked.

3. They whip out their social jiu-jitsu.

You meet someone. You talk for 15 minutes. You walk away thinking, “Wow, we just had a great conversation. She is awesome.”

Then, when you think about it later, you realize you didn’t learn a thing about the other person.

Remarkably likeable people are masters at Social Jiu-Jitsu, the ancient art of getting you to talk about yourself without you ever knowing it happened. SJJ masters are fascinated by every step you took in creating a particularly clever pivot table, by every decision you made when you transformed a 200-slide PowerPoint into a TED Talk-worthy presentation, if you do say so yourself…

SJJ masters use their interest, their politeness, and their social graces to cast an immediate spell on you.

And you like them for it.

Social jiu-jitsu is easy. Just ask the right questions. Stay open-ended and allow room for description and introspection. Ask how, or why, or who.

As soon as you learn a little about someone, ask how they did it. Or why they did it. Or what they liked about it, or what they learned from it, or what you should do if you’re in a similar situation.

No one gets too much recognition. Asking the right questions implicitly shows you respect another person’s opinion—and, by extension, the person.

We all like people who respect us, if only because it shows they display great judgment.

(Kidding. Sort of.)

4. They whip out something genuine.

Everyone is better than you at something. (Yes, that’s true even for you.) Let them be better than you.

Too many people when they first meet engage in some form of penis-measuring contest. Crude reference but one that instantly calls to mind a time you saw two alpha male master-of-the business-universe types whip out their figurative rulers. (Not literally, of course. I hope you haven’t seen that.)

Don’t try to win the “getting to know someone” competition. Try to lose. Be complimentary. Be impressed. Admit a failing or a weakness.

You don’t have to disclose your darkest secrets. If the other person says, “We just purchased a larger facility,” say, “That’s awesome. I have to admit I’m jealous. We’ve wanted to move for a couple years but haven’t been able to put together the financing. How did you pull it off?”

Don’t be afraid to show a little vulnerability. People may be (momentarily) impressed by the artificial, but people sincerely like the genuine.

Be the real you. People will like the real you.

5. They ask for nothing.

You know the moment: You’re having a great conversation, you’re finding things in common… and then bam! Someone plays the networking card.

And everything about your interaction changes.

Put away the hard-charging, goal-oriented, always-on kinda persona. If you have to ask for something, find a way to help the other person, then ask if you can.

Remarkably likeable people focus on what they can do for you—not for themselves.

6. They “close” genuinely.

“Nice to meet you,” you say, nodding once as you part. That’s the standard move, one that is instantly forgettable.

Instead go back to the beginning. Shake hands again. Use your free hand to gently touch the other person’s forearm or shoulder. Say, “I am really glad I met you.” Or say, “You know, I really enjoyed talking with you.” Smile: Not that insincere salesperson smile that goes with, “Have a nice day!” but a genuine, appreciative smile.

Making a great first impression is important, but so is making a great last impression.

7. And they accept it isn’t easy.

All this sounds simple, right? It is. But it’s not easy, especially if you’re shy. The standard, power pose, “Hello, how are you, good to meet you, good seeing you,” shuffle feels a lot safer.

But it won’t make people like you.

So accept it’s hard. Accept that being a little more deferential, a little more genuine, a little more complimentary and a little more vulnerable means putting yourself out there. Accept that at first it will feel risky.

But don’t worry: When you help people feel a little better about themselves—which is reason enough—they’ll like you for it.

And you’ll like yourself a little more, too.

6 Habits Of Remarkably Likeable People – Business Insider.

great article by Paul Tripp on goals. worth three minutes.

 

Trading One Dramatic Resolution for 10,000 Little Ones



Original

I’ve told the story many times of talking impatiently with my wife one Sunday morning and having my nine-year-old son interject, “Daddy, is this the way a Christian man should be talking to his wife?”

Rather sarcastically I said, “What do you think?” He replied, “It doesn’t make any difference what I think — what does God think?”

I went to my bedroom, and two thoughts immediately hit me. First, my pride reared up. I want to be a hero to my son, and I was embarrassed that he had been troubled by my attitude and words. But that didn’t last very long. I soon thought, “How could it be that God could love me so much that he would give a twit of care about this mundane little moment in the Tripp bathroom?”

That’s love at a level of magnificence that I am unable to capture with words. This was but one moment in one room in one house of one family, on one block on one street in one neighborhood, in one city in one state in one country on one continent, in one hemisphere on one globe in the universe. Yet God was in that moment, working to continue his moment-by-moment work of transforming the heart of this man.

Rethinking the Annual Ritual

Why am I telling you this story? Well, it’s that time once again. It’s the fodder for blogs, magazine articles, TV shows, and way too many tweets. It is the time for the annual ritual of dramatic New Year’s resolutions fueled by the hope of immediate and significant personal life change.

But the reality is that few smokers actually quit because of a single moment of resolve, few obese people have become slim and healthy because of one dramatic moment of commitment, few people who were deeply in debt have changed their financial lifestyle because they resolved to do so as the old year gave way to the new, and few marriages have been changed by the means of one dramatic resolution.

Is change important? Yes, it is for all of us in some way. Is commitment essential? Of course! There is a way in which all of our lives are shaped by the commitments we make. But biblical Christianity — which has the gospel of Jesus Christ at its heart — simply doesn’t rest its hope in big, dramatic moments of change.

Living in the Utterly Mundane

The fact of the matter is that the transforming work of grace is more of a mundane process than it is a series of a few dramatic events. Personal heart-and-life change is always a process. And where does that process take place? It takes place where you and I live everyday. And where do we live? Well, we all have the same address. Our lives don’t careen from big moment to big moment. No, we all live in the utterly mundane.

Most of us won’t be written up in history books. Most of us only make three or four momentous decisions in our lives, and several decades after we die, the people we leave behind will struggle to remember our lives at all. You and I live in little moments, and if God doesn’t rule our little moments and doesn’t work to recreate us in the middle of them, then there is no hope for us, because that is where you and I live.

The little moments of life are profoundly important precisely because they are the little moments that we live in and that form us. This is where I think “Big Drama Christianity” gets us into trouble. It can cause us to devalue the significance of the little moments of life and the “small-change” grace that meets us there. And because we devalue the little moments where we live, we don’t tend to notice the sin that gets exposed there. We fail to seek the grace that is offered to us.

The 10,000 Little Moments

You see, the character of a life is not set in two or three dramatic moments, but in 10,000 little moments. The character that was formed in those little moments is what shapes how you respond to the big moments of life.

What leads to significant personal change?

  • 10,000 moments of personal insight and conviction
  • 10,000 moments of humble submission
  • 10,000 moments of foolishness exposed and wisdom gained
  • 10,000 moments of sin confessed and sin forsaken
  • 10,000 moments of courageous faith
  • 10,000 choice points of obedience
  • 10,000 times of forsaking the kingdom of self and running toward the kingdom of God
  • 10,000 moments where we abandon worship of the creation and give ourselves to worship of the Creator.

And what makes all of this possible? Relentless, transforming, little-moment grace. You see, Jesus is Immanuel, not just because he came to earth, but because he makes you the place where he dwells. This means he is present and active in all the mundane moments of your daily life.

His Work to Rescue and Transform

And what is he doing? In these small moments, he is delivering every redemptive promise he has made to you. In these unremarkable moments, he is working to rescue you from you and transform you into his likeness. By sovereign grace, he places you in daily, little moments that are designed to take you beyond your character, wisdom, and grace so that you will seek the help and hope that can only be found in him. In a lifelong process of change, he is undoing you and rebuilding you again — exactly what each one of us needs.

Yes, you and I need to be committed to change, but not in a way that hopes for a big event of transformation, but in a way that finds joy in and is faithful to a day-by-day, step-by-step process of insight, confession, repentance and faith. And in those little moments, we commit ourselves to remember the words of Paul in Romans 8:32:

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us, how will he not also with him freely give us all things.

So, we wake up each day, committed to live in the small moments of our daily lives with open eyes and humbly expectant hearts.

Desiring God Blog Posts for 12/29/2013.

best books of 2013, favorite books of 2013

list of my 13 favorite books I read in 2013

Here’s a list of a few of my favorite books from 2013.  Forgive me, but due to my short timeframe I’m publishing in no particular order. Love to hear your thoughts and your favorite book from the year.

13. Meditations: A New Translation (Modern Library) – Marcus Aurelius

Good book about old principles and practices from a leader of years past. Old school knowledge dropped on building of character.

12. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy – Metaxas

One of the leaders of our generations past. This man stood in the face of a government going the wrong way and stood for something. His beliefs in the face of persecution and his stance against Nazi Germany is a fascinating one to experience in this biography by Eric Metaxes.

11. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose – Tony Hseih

Enjoyed Tony’s perspective on business. Early on in the life of Zappos a line of credit from Wells Fargo helped get this business on its feet and Tony was able to turn the focus of his company from Shoes to Culture and caring for the Customer.  He repeats his ten principles over 50 times during the book, but his company’s culture book and his leadership haunt me daily (in a good way). Worth the read.

10. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others – Dan Pink

Dan always has an interesting perspective about things that motivate others. I grew interested in this book listening to his TED Talks, he’s just as interesting in his books.

09. EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches – Dave Ramsey

Good look at Ramsey’s outfit. I enjoyed the look at his hopes to hire half leaders and half entrepreneurs. His principles and policies about building his business around culture are great.  I love that he holds multiple interviews with his potential hires and even invites the hire’s spouse to dinner before hiring to hear “the other half’s” perspective. Mad respect for Dave, even in light of Acuff leaving this year.

08. Bossypants – Tina Fey

Hilarious look at Tina’s life and career. Definitely a different stance on life, but I enjoyed it anyhow. She’s hilarious.

07. The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes – Brian Burrough

Stories about the growth of wealth from the oil boom of the early 1900’s. This book highlights 4 families; the Bass’, the Cullens, the Murchisons and the Hunts.  Fascinating track from finding oil at Spindle Top, to the opening of the Shamrock Hotel in Houston, to the decline and changing of the guard.  Many lessons here.

06. CRUSH IT! – Vaynerchuck

I’ve avoided Gary for years, until this year.  I listened to his 2011 inc.500 presentation, where he speaks on stage without powerpoint or props for a little over an hour and he’s actually really engaging. Got this book, loved it. Gary’s perspective is interesting, funny and really practical. His views around business, social and the new generation of business are revolutionary. Worth the read.  Got me signed up for JJJRH this year too.

05. Free: The Future of a Radical Price – Chris Anderson

The founder of TED Talks, walks you through the origins of free, from recipes for Jello, to today, free is a fascinating sales technique, but may have a greater psychological effect than you realize.  Loved this book, listened to it for FREE on Audible.

04. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God – Keller

One of the best books I’ve read on marriage.  This book helped work on me through the season of life of having our first child and can help you at any time.  Keller provides wonderful biblical advice on marriage and great tips to follow through on.

03. Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy – Newberg, Waldman

Fascinating talk about compassionate communication and real life methods to improve your  methods of talking. Slowing down your speech to remove emotion in argument and other practices have refined my Conflict communication.  Not a book from believers, but a good practical book to work on consensus and collaboration in professional situations.

02. Gates of Fire – Pressfield

Great book about old school spartan warfare and the battle of Thermopylae told from a squire’s perspective for the great leader.  Overall might be my favorite read of the year, just great last stand battlefield speeches, firey practice sessions and the remembering of a season of my life where training was everything. SUPER FUN READ.

01. Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids – Sarah Young

Read this with my daughter and @ladyavance every night possible this year.  Best moments of my year.  Greatest lessons, most relevant applications and simplest message that was ultimately earth shattering truth dropped in the sweetest time of my day.  Plus, it was right at my level.

All links in this post are affiliate links through Amazon associates.

Check out this great article on halftime.org.  I sure love the book Halftime by Bob Buford and just last year really got into Ken Blanchard’s leadership blog and notes.  That global gathering in San D would be amazing to attend.  Not a goal this year, but that’ll have to be a lifetime thing for me.  Great article Jeff Spadafora.

WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE?

12/9/2013

What should I do with my life?
By Jeff Spadafora
Director of Global Coaching and Product Development

It’s not uncommon for one of our Halftime Coaches to hear someone say, “I’m willing and able to go make a positive difference in the world, but I’m not hearing God’s voice as I try to figure out His calling on my life.”

I had the same challenge. The more I think about it now, the more I realize it wasn’t an issue of hearing God. It was a matter of trusting Him. You see, God has already spoken. He already told us what we should do to experience heaven on earth and beyond:

  • Jesus started with an overarching commandment: Love God and others (Mark 12:30-31). That’s a good place for us all to start… and keep coming back to
  • Then He gave us the Great Commission: “Make disciples of all the nations” refers to (1) evangelism and (2) discipling  (Mt. 28:19). The first is about creating believers in Christ, the second is about building followers of Him. This latter field of endeavor is what we at Halftime have dedicated our lives to
  • He also said (3) feed the hungry and (4) give drink to the thirsty (Mt. 25:35)
  • (5) Give hospitality and shelter to the stranger /foreigner/refugee (Mt. 25:35)
  • (6) Clothe the naked, (7) care for the sick and (8) visit the imprisoned (Mt. 25:36)
  • (9) Help widows  and (10) orphans  (Psalms, Isaiah, Acts and especially James 1:27)
  • (11) Provide justice to the oppressed and disenfranchised (multiple references from Matthew, Mark and Luke)

There you go. God already told us what we should do. The next step is to figure out how to use our skills, resources, platform and relationships to impact one or more of those 11 areas.

So here’s the formula (if I dare suggest a formula for anything involving the Holy Spirit!):

  • apply the skills that give you energy
  • to a cause that makes you and God mad, sad, or glad
  • in an organization with the right role and culture for you
  • do it all in Jesus’ name, and;
  • you’ll be in the flow of what God wants done on earth.

Where that all intersects is where your greatest joy in life will be. It won’t come from closing another deal, buying something else, or checking off your next bucket list item.

Hopefully this offers clues about what to do with your life. Don’t overthink it. Trust that God’s love, flowing through you in one of the ways above, will lead you to the peace and joy you are craving.

Here are a few ways we can help you.

The Halftime Institute 
Join us for our January Institute 
Request a free coaching consultation 
Bob Buford and Ken Blanchard host the 2014 Global Gathering
in San Diego this February

What should I do with my life? | Halftime.

Great article from @MightyWiseMedia on the master of management, Peter Drucker, re: your success.

Entrepreneurship According To Drucker: Your 12 Keys To Success

Peter Drucker dies at 95

Legend Peter Drucker

No question Peter Drucker is a legend.

A man with a seriously keen eye for business — his insights still apply to entrepreneurs everywhere.

And even though Drucker is deceased, you can hear his words of wisdom calling from the grave if you listen closely.

In fact, I finally had the opportunity to open The Daily Drucker’ this week; a book containing 366 days of nothing but pure wisdom wedded to action.

Astounded at the depth of his knowledge; I grabbed 12 key insights straight from the mouth of Drucker. If you’re wise, you’ll apply each one right now to your world of entrepreneurship.

Key #1:

Those who perform love what they’re doing.

Yes — you need to love what you do. It’s called passion. Think about it; do you really believe guys like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates spent so much time in the world of technology if they didn’t flat-out love it? Find your passion because it’s the place to start on your road to success as an entrepreneur. Plus, according to Drucker, your performance depends on it.

Key #2:

Successful entrepreneurs do not wait until “the Muse kisses them” and gives them a bright idea; they go to work.

Passion without action is to have the Ferrari in the garage collecting dust. Not good. And yes I know you want to plan and think and strategize. But the reality is those who take action win the race every time over those who don’t. Stop putting off what you know needs done; listen to Drucker and ‘go to work’. Today please.

Key #3:

What is our business?

Think hard — what is the purpose and mission of your business? And no, you can’t run and read me the Mission Statement hung on the wall in the dusty frame. You know the one, written only because someone told you to write it. Drucker was a firm believer in the power of ‘purpose’. Jobs at Apple lived it.Founder Clate Mask at Infusionsoft swears by it. Are you clear on your purpose as a business? It’s your North Star. So if you haven’t identified it — you’re lost in the dark and primed to walk off a cliff. Please don’t do that. Go here instead.

Key #4:

Who is the customer?

Of course it all starts and ends here. Your customer. You know, the reason you’re in business. Pack well because your journey to really know your customer lasts the lifetime of your business. Plan to walk 1,000 miles in their shoes. Not 10. One thousand. Alexander Osterwalder, co-author of Business Model Generation, created an innovative tool called the Value Proposition Canvas. Grab it here and work the right side. Answer the questions on behalf of your customers. And if you struggle with this? Slap on some shoes (hint: not yours) and start walking.

Key #5:

Neither studies nor market research nor computer modeling is a substitute for the test of reality.

Drucker called it “the test of reality”. Because we now live in a hyper speed world of communication thrust forward by mobile, social media and the Internet in general — the race to innovate product/market fit has turned it from a marathon to a sprint. Do you run your business around a culture of testing and experimentation? Or do you over indulge in the ‘study of the market’? A new breed of smart entrepreneurs choose option number one.

Key #6:

Measure innovations by what they contribute to market and customer.

One thing I noticed about Drucker and his wisdom is this: he drilled home that the life blood of a company is rooted in management and innovation. Take his advice in key #5; and combine it with an understanding that to simply ‘test’ is futile without the important marriage partner of ‘measurement’. Yes — not only do you need a culture of ‘testing’; but you must measure what you test. Again, wise entrepreneurs understand and use tools such as A/B Split Testing as part of their repertoire.

Key #7:

Often a prescription drug designed for a specific ailment ends up being used for some other quite different ailment.

Be ready to pivot. Go with the market. Don’t worry if it’s not the way you ‘planned’. Nothing ever is. As Drucker alludes to here, some of the greatest success stories in business are the result of a change in direction based on market response or product surprise. Just like the guy trying to invent a super strong new adhesive. Yes — he failed. His failure is called a Post-it Note.

Key #8:

Innovative ideas are like frogs’ eggs: of a thousand hatched, only one or two survive to maturity.

Your goal as an entrepreneur is to create a system and culture which allows you to quickly move through all the potential things you ‘could’ do so you can nail the things you ‘should’ do. Drucker drives home the point well in his frogs’ eggs metaphor. Every idea you have will not be a winner. In fact, most ideas will be lousy based on market response. But it’s okay. True entrepreneurs understand this is part of the game and are willing to search through a thousand hatched ideas to find the ones worthy of nurturing to maturity.

Key #9:

All one has to do is learn to say ‘no’ if an activity contributes nothing.

As you may know from reading previous posts, I am a huge believer in the power of the word ‘no’. And although I’ve taken some hits from some of my peers on this stance; Drucker backs me here. Yes — you have to learn how to say ‘no’. Those who understand their purpose and mission as a company, and therefore have steely eyed focus, should have clear boundaries around their time and resources. Do you?

Key #10:

In the Next Society’s corporation, top management will be the company. Everything else can be outsourced.

Pick up Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Work Weekand you will snag a thing or two on this matter. Although I’m not sure of the timeframe Drucker spoke of with his ‘Next Society’, I would argue we are there. Virtual Assistants in the Philippines, manufacturing plants in Shanghai and software coders in Croatia. But even here in America jobs are outsourced to… yes; other Americans. Want proof?Read this post by the co-founder and CEO of NextSpace, Jeremy Neuner, titled ‘40% of America’s workforce will be freelancers by 2020’. Yes — outsourcing has officially arrived and wise entrepreneurs make it part of their strategy.

Key #11:

Most of the people who persist in the wilderness leave nothing behind but bleached bones.

Country legend Kenny Rogers, in his quest to describe playing poker, sang the lyrics “you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run…” Drucker speaks the same rule here. Entrepreneurship is about knowing when to let go. Venture capitalist Dino Vendetti told me once “The worst ventures are the ones which just linger. They neither discover the key to their success nor do they fail fast either. Drifting in no man’s land is the worst possible outcome.” If you find yourself adrift, it might be time to let go. No bleached bones please.

Key #12:

Finding and realizing the potential of a business is psychologically difficult.

Is it ever. According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail in their business within 18 months of startup. Only 2 make it to the top. Why? Because Drucker is right; it’s just plain difficult. Sometimes I would rather go to the dentist and have 8 cavities filled than fight the daily battle of entrepreneurship. But then a new day dawns and tenacity takes over. The perfect antidote for insecurity, complacency and hopelessness. Forbes writer Cheryl Connershares the story of entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran and 8 others on how they battle insecurity and fear.

Entrepreneurship according to Drucker. Learn it. Live it.

NOTE: If you don’t know me, I’m Eric. Husband, father & life-long entrepreneur.

If you’re an entrepreneur — let’s connect right here — right now.

Seriously. Here’s a proven formula:

Your Wisdom + My Wisdom = More Success

Entrepreneurship According To Drucker: Your 12 Keys To Success – Forbes.

(You can also find me hanging out at Mighty Wise Media; on Google+,Facebook or Twitter @MightyWiseMedia.)

Great article by +jasonmiller re: your linked in profile and improvements you should make TODAY.  Go here, do this.

7 Reasons Your LinkedIn Profile is a Hot Mess

bigstock Angry child screaming 32404832 7 Reasons Your LinkedIn Profile is a Hot Mess

Image via BigStockPhoto.com

badge guest post FLATTER 7 Reasons Your LinkedIn Profile is a Hot MessIn the age of personal brand marketing, it’s just not okay to let your LinkedIn profile sit collecting Internet dust until you’re ready to look for your next job. If your profile isn’t current, or if it communicates indifference, not only are you likely missing career-transforming opportunities, but you could also be giving people the wrong impression. Most important for marketers, a stale profile means you’re losing out on the chance to build thought leadership clout and keep your company’s brand top of mind.

Here are seven reasons your LinkedIn profile might be coming across as a social media hot mess.

1) Your headshot was taken at a BBQ.

Your LinkedIn photo should make potential employers or business partners feel comfortable with you immediately. Would you show up for a business meeting, beer in hand? Would you wear a strapless party dress? Not likely. Your photo should express “relaxed and at ease,” yes. But make it an energetic, in-your-element, confidence-exuding ease.

The only thing worse than an unprofessional photo is no photo at all. A profile page with a picture is seven times more likely to be viewed than a page without one. So put on your favorite (work) outfit, grab a friend you trust, think of a great moment from your last vacation, and get some good shots of yourself. It’ll be worth it.

2) Your profile is missing the basics.

Uploading your resume to LinkedIn is just a start — but it’s a critical start. If you haven’t included recent job history and education, your profile says loud and clear: “I’m not really serious about this LinkedIn thing yet.”

Try this: Do a quick Internet search of three colleagues. Do their LinkedIn profiles show up near the top of the list? What happens when you search for yourself? Are you happy with the results? LinkedIn profiles tend to be indexed highly on all the major search engines, which means that your profile is much more than an online resume — it’s your professional identity.

3) Your last update was a tribute to Steve Jobs.

An active page is an effective page. To gain any traction with co-workers, peers, and future employers, you have to share on a regular basis. Status updates show up on the homepage feeds of everyone in your network, so updating frequently is an easy way to keep your name (and your brand) in their field of vision. Share information that’s helpful, educational, inspiring, and sometimes entertaining. Keep your updates generally upbeat and relevant to your field of expertise, and post regularly.

4) You have no recommendations.

When you find a mobile app that looks great, but no one has yet recommended it, do you download it, or do you move on to something with 36 five-star reviews?

You probably feel better paying $1.99 for something at least a few people like, right?Same goes for recommendations on LinkedIn. When people vouch for you on your profile, it might not make or break a potential employer’s decision to contact you, but it’ll raise her comfort level.

LinkedIn has made the recommendation process beautifully painless. Yes, you should still speak to anyone you’re requesting a recommendation from, or at least write a personal note. But emphasize that you respect that person’s time. Recommendations are meant to be short, concise, and to the point. Each should take only about 10 minutes to write. Request a reco within a couple of weeks after completing successful projects, and they’ll accumulate in no time.

5. You aren’t engaging.

Business is social. Hiding out in a cubicle for eight hours a day without speaking to the people around you has never been a good career choice, and it’s not a good move to behave that way online, either.

LinkedIn has made it supremely simple to connect socially with people inside and outside your immediate circle. Liking, commenting, and sharing are all great ways to network, get on the radar of influential folks in your space, and stay in touch with colleagues near and far. Plus, with LinkedIn’s mobile app, you can access the latest news and topics that are hot with your network and the companies you follow, share instantly, as well as direct message your connections, including prospects and clients — from anywhere.

6. You don’t belong to any groups.

LinkedIn Groups act as social networking hot spots that many members can’t imagine doing without. So, if you haven’t yet joined a group, give it a spin. It’s a great way to get noticed, share and collect ideas for marketing and content efforts, and build thought leadership.

Just as with your local PTA or Chamber of Commerce, the LinkedIn groups you join and participate in can act as badges of honor. I mean, who doesn’t want to show up as a top contributor of a popular, influential group? Be proud of the organizations you represent or belong to, and check in with them often.

7. You’re not showing off your treasure.

This one may be new to you, so listen up. You can now showcase a rich media portfolio on your LinkedIn profile: Slideshare decks, infographics, videos, eBooks, and more. We call it “building your treasury,” because this is where it’s okay to show off all the gems you’ve designed and produced throughout your professional life.

Whether you’re a chef, makeup artist, marketer, or journalist, you can now house all your important work in the place that makes the most sense: your LinkedIn profile.Here are some great examples.

If you’re hiding a hot career behind a messy LinkedIn profile, it’s time to make some changes and take control. Take these lessons to heart, and you’ll build a personal brand that is worthy of your past endeavors, and that can help you land the next sizzling opportunity to come your way.

 

 

7 Reasons Your LinkedIn Profile is a Hot Mess.

Great article by the art of manliness.  Just affirms that I’m not as tired as I think I am today and I should just go run my 3 miles.  Slacker.

 

You’re Physically Stronger Than You Think

Athletes have always known there is a connection between one’s mind and one’s performance – that you can will yourself to keep going when the body grows fatigued. But recent studies have shown that the mind can have quite the opposite effect – slowing you down before you’re actually physically spent. In essence, the very fatigue your brain fights against was created by…your brain!

 

This fact was fascinatingly demonstrated in a study conducted by scientists from the University of Kent in England and the French Institute of Health and Medical Research. In the study, two groups of men spent 90 minutes sitting in a chair. The first group was asked to count flashing letters on a computer screen (a task proven to induce mental fatigue), while the second group watched a relaxing nature video. Then the men in both groups pedaled a specialized ergometer, while electrodes zapped their leg muscles in order to produce “maximum contractile force.” The more fatigued a muscle is, the less it will respond to these shocks.

 

The men in the first group who had done the letter counting task tired out 13% faster than those who had watched the movie, and they perceived the exercise as being much more difficult than the second group did.

 

Yet the muscles of both groups responded exactly the same way to the electrodes, producing just as much force from the shocks. The men in the first group, whose minds had been tuckered out by the counting task, felt more tired and gave up more easily, but their muscles were in fact just as fresh as the men who had simply watched the movie. As the researchers concluded, “our feelings do not always reflect our physiological state.”

via Dig Deep: You’re Stronger Than You Think | The Art of Manliness.

  • Habits from 99u

Cool article from 99u about hacking bad habits.  How to make new behaviors worthwhile.  Short version here, more in the link below:

habits_550_rev

If you want to get rid of a bad habit, you have to find out how to implement a healthier routine to yield the same reward. Let’s say you like to go out with your coworkers at the end of a long day and have a few drinks. In this situation, there are actually two rewards: (1) the socializing that inevitably occurs, and (2) the relaxing effects of the alcohol on your nervous system.

Both of those rewards are valid and necessary. If you remove drinking from your life, but replace it with nothing else, you’ll likely be unhappy. The trick is to keep the cue (e.g. tired after a long day) and the rewards (e.g. social time, relaxation) while changing the routine (e.g. drinking).

via Hacking Habits: How To Make New Behaviors Last For Good – 99U.