Posts Tagged ‘Motivation’

Imagine the following scenario. It’s Wednesday afternoon. You and a friend are having lunch at your favourite restaurant. After lunch you might go for a stroll, visit a local attraction, or just go home and read. It doesn’t matter which. Your phone and email are switched off, work is the farthest thing from your mind, and you’re committed to nothing more than simply relaxing. You return to the office the next morning, guilt-free and feeling rather energetic.

This is what Strategic Coach Dan Sullivan describes as a Free Day, a 24-hour period completely free from work-related problem-solving, communication, and action.

It’s not so easy to imagine, is it? For most business owners, the whole notion of free time, particularly midweek, is nothing less than far-fetched. How can you possibly take free time when there’s so much work to be done, money to make, commitments to be kept?

Most people think of Free Days as a reward for hard work. I don’t. Now I see Free Days as an essential precondition for achieving success and optimum productivity. The key to free days is recognizing that it means booking time to rejuvenate before — not after — your productive periods. Several years ago I started to notice that many of the successful business owners I admired talked about the importance of ‘downtime’ and blocking out periods of time where they did absolutely nothing.

Because I was interested in replicating their results, I paid attention and started to wonder how I could incorporate ‘free days’ into my own schedule. It wasn’t easy at first. On any given day, most business owners would consider themselves extraordinarily lucky (or seriously pressured) to be able to squeeze in a bit of free time, let alone a whole day. It happens only IF they can first get “a few things” done, IF there are no unexpected crises, and IF they can just clean up a few “little messes” around the office. Not surprisingly, this seldom, if ever, happens.

But if you want to improve the quality of both your work and personal life, you need ‘Free Days’. So how can you incorporate free days into YOUR schedule?

Right now, most of us figure out how much time we need to work and make money. Then, if there’s anything left over, we devote it to free time. But this concept doesn’t work for time any more than it works for money.

Successful savers know that you have to work out what you want to save, take it off the top of your income, and live on the rest. If you don’t, you’ll get to the end of the month and find there is nothing left. Free time is just like savings: it has to come off the top. So you need to plan your Free Days first, and then work everything else around them.

It won’t come easy at first. You’re not used to it. Like anything else, Free Days take time and practice. But it gets easier when you see free days as a necessity, rather than a luxury. When you’re running a business YOU are the most important asset. In the words of Coachville founder Thomas Leonard ‘Without you, there is nothing.’ So you need to make taking time out for relaxation, rejuvenation and what Stephen Covey calls ‘sharpening the saw’ a priority.

How should you use a Free Day? Well that all depends upon YOU. Some people are rejuvenated by engaging in highly energetic activities. They need to be out and about, on the go all the time. Others (like me) are just the opposite. They just want to relax, curl up with a book, listen to music, get a massage, lie on a beach, or have a good conversation. Whatever you choose, your Free Day should allow you to be in a different world, away from responsibilities, concerns, worries, and goals.

Start NOW. Don’t let this be a ‘good idea’ that you’ll get around to ‘when you have time’. Take out your calendar and mark out your next ‘free day’. Keep it sacred! If a whole day seems like too much to start with, then start with an afternoon. I promise that when you make a habit of ‘free days’ and you notice your creativity and productivity soar as a result, you’ll be hooked. So start TODAY.

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We all have a certain turning point in our lives.   For some of us, that turning point comes when we've hit rock bottom and we have nothing more to lose.

It's your choice -- give yourself permission to turn the corner and head towards success.

My turning point came to me months into striking out on my own.   I had proposals out, making the rounds, I was choosing between putting petrol in the car and buying groceries and I had no money coming in.   My family was starting to question the decision I had made to strike out on my own.   I tried to be Miss Positive and had a few quotes from positive thinking literature waiting in the wings for a response to their questions.

At that point, I had nothing to lose.   It was €˜do or die' and I planned on doing.   But I had to change my ways, I had to take stock of the situation.   I decided I was just no longer going to tolerate nor suffer the typical things that weren't working for me.   At that point, I had to give myself permission to dismiss much of the advice that had been given to me to establish my business.   It just wasn't working for me.

Now you may think your traditional sales experience is just what's needed for your business, but I'm here to tell you that it's not.   What's worked in the past when you had a salary coming in is not what's going to work for you once you've struck out on your own.

Now, I had to hit pretty close to rock bottom to see this.   I had to actually tell myself that it's okay to throw out what was not working for me.   What I need to stress to you is that you do NOT have to reach rock bottom to get to this point.   Take stock of your situation now and give yourself permission to make the changes that are going to make your business successful.

Some questions that you should ask yourself at this point are:

•             What am I doing that's working to bring money in?

•             What am I doing that's not working to bring money in?

•             What can I do to reach more people at once?

What I did was I ditched the traditional selling, the one-to-one marketing methods that weren't working for me and I pieced together a whole new marketing and selling system.   But, it didn't happen overnight.   There's no miracle cure being offered.   Things will change quickly, but it won't be overnight.

So what I'm telling you is to give yourself permission to make the changes that are going to make your business successful. Be prepared to throw out the old methods and bring in the new.   You don't have to hit rock bottom to do this.   This isn't a one-time super-duper effort that offers immediate transformation.   But through a series of steps and manoeuvrings, you will see results quickly and you will see improvement straightaway.

Just don't wait until you hit rock bottom to start!

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Here's a question for you to think about: Do you run your business or does it run you?   Most people start out with a business idea thinking that when it's successful they will have more time and money to do what they want, yet that is seldom the reality. Too many business owners get bogged down in the day to day running of their businesses and end up working ridiculous hours just to keep it afloat. If you are smiling and nodding your head in agreement perhaps it is time that you sat down and re-evaluated your business strategies and your personal goals. Maybe it's time for you to get back in the driving seat and for you to run your business rather than the other way around.

Two Important Components of Successful Goal Setting

#1 Revenue goals form the backbone of your business strategy. They create a target for you to work towards and help you define budgets when implementing tactics to reach your goals. It is one of the first questions that I ask my clients: "What are your revenue goals for the next 12 months?" It is important that the figure you set is something that is tangible and achievable. Don't imagine that you want to be a millionaire and that it will just magically happen on its own. Your revenue goals need to be a target that you think is possible.

#2 Lifestyle goals relate to what you personally want from the business or your working career. This could be something like you want to only work a three day week, or you want to travel less and spend more time at home with your family. Now most people will sacrifice their lifestyle goals because they think that their business will suffer if they try to implement them. Yes, there may be a transition period where you earn a little less and have to implement the necessary changes, but most often when you implement lifestyle and revenue goals together you come out with a win-win solution. In my case I chose to relocate, move more of my business online and the results really paid off. Even though the transition was not without its challenges, I found I was more focused on my work efforts during your work hours and more motivated generally because I could see I was moving towards my lifestyle goals at the same time.

Things to remember when setting Goals

•       Quantify your goals. Put a figure to your revenue goals and clearly define what you want from your lifestyle goals. Don't make it dreamlike, be realistic about what is possible to achieve. Also define your goals within a specific time frame.

•       Your goals should be tangible and achievable but at the same time you should look at all possibilities if it is something that you really want. When you define your goals you should already have some idea as to how you plan to achieve them.

•       Be willing to put in the effort to achieve your goals. Don't just set strategies and expect them to materialize on their own.

•       Break your goals down into bite-sized chunks so that you can start implementing tactics to reach them.   Make sure each step you take consistently moves you closer to achieving your goals.

•       Your goals should be personally rewarding and meaningful as this will motivate you to work towards them. When setting your goals keep in mind the link and balance between revenue goals and lifestyle goals.

Setting goals is a way of defining your business and lifestyle strategy. They are absolutely essential if you want to feel fulfilled in your working career. Goals provide a meaningful framework in which you can implement short term tactics.   They also help you to stay on track and keep you motivated though the tough times. Having goals provides you will a big picture to work towards and ensures you are consistently moving in the direction you want your life to go.

Bernadette Doyle specializes in helping entrepreneurs attract a steady stream of ideal clients. If you want to get clients calling you instead of you calling them, sign up at

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