I have grown to really appreciate Thanksgiving and all of the sentiments that come with it. Think about it… family, friends, gratitude, comfort foods… it’s all GOOD stuff! Fall, in addition to Thanksgiving, is the perfect time of year to reflect. Thanksgiving feels like the calm before the storm to me. Sure, we are busy with planning, cooking, serving and cleaning. But if we think about it, there is also time to take a breath during a work week that may be quieter than normal.
I believe that deliberate reflection is an often forgotten, but very important, piece to personal and professional well being. My tip for the next week: Before the flurry of holiday preparations set in, make time to reflect. It doesn’t need to be hours. Try 10 or 15 minutes. Sit down in a quiet place and think. Sort through your mind and recall what you set out to do back in January. Think about everything that you have accomplished and congratulate yourself for a job well done. If you missed the mark in some areas, don’t worry– the year isn’t done yet. Refocus your energy and choose the next step to further that goal with one task.
I think you will find that once you have stopped to reflect, you can then start to plan for what’s to come next year.
Relationship building is crucial to lots of things in life, both personally and professionally. I think most people would agree that daily life is more rewarding when you surround yourself with people who you connect and collaborate with. Everyone builds relationships a little differently, but one fact is universal. Without relationships, you simply can not achieve an optimal level of success or personal satisfaction. Here are a five tips for creating effective relationships:
- Be there without being asked to be. Anticipating the needs of someone else is a true indicator of a strong relationship. Help someone before they need to ask for your assistance. Check in on a regular basis and ask how they are, what they need and how you may help them.
- Listen. Actively listening to someone is more than just hearing what they say. Pay attention to tone, inflection, word choice and emotion. Then appropriately ask questions so that you further their needs in a meaningful way.
- Look them in the eye. I recently read that social media, texting and email lead to a false sense of security in relationships. Despite the ability to connect to someone 24/7, we aren’t keeping our relationships as healthy as we may think. Human connections need to happen in person from time to time. Body language and eye contact are important contributors to emotionally connecting with an other person.
- Own your mistakes. Stuff happens, as the saying goes. When you make a mistake, regardless of the magnitude, it is important to own it. Don’t make excuses or spend lots of energy trying to back pedal. Admit the mistake and take corrective actions to salvage (and potential strengthen) your reputation for the future.
- Pace yourself. Don’t overwhelm someone with your presence by being ‘in their face’ or always around. Take time to get to know someone with making small, appropriate points of contact. A ‘too much, too soon’ approach will raise red flags and cause someone to retreat from you. Be sincere, honest and helpful but over a long period of time. This approach shows you are reliable, available and resourceful.
Of course, there are many more ways to build positive relationships, but these 5 tips offer a great start. Take the time to learn about people, understand their philosophy and figure out how your mutual chemistries work. By investing yourself by getting to know someone using these tips, the more you will bring to the table and, ultimately, the more you may benefit from the relationship.
Do you know that December 31, 2015 is just 10 short weeks away? As Halloween approaches, many people turn their thoughts towards holiday shopping and a rigorous search for winter gear. (Especially after the record snowfall we had in Boston last year!) There is so much to do during the holiday season– it is easy to lose focus on business goals.
I encourage clients to engage in an annual business reflection around this time of year… time to review the last 10 months. I think most of us want to complete the year on a strong note and are checking off some of those proverbial “boxes” along the way. But what if you haven’t been so diligent about checking your progress during the year? Where do you begin so that you aren’t overwhelmed, or worse… disappointed? Here are a few suggestions for making the most of these last ten Mondays:
- Review your marketing plan. Establish what you have accomplished and what is left on your plan. Trust me on this one, but no one has accomplished their entire marketing plan! There is always more to be done, but take a moment to recognize what you have done.
- Now that you know what you have and have not accomplished, prioritize your goals for the last ten weeks. Don’t try to take on too much in this timeframe, but rather select one or two priorities and create an actionable plan for working towards those goals.
- Book ten, thirty minute time slots in your calendar, one each week. Spend those precious minutes forwarding your marketing and business development plans. Do not reschedule these ‘meetings’ with yourself. Make them a priority!
- Review your contacts list; make sure it is up to date and get it ready to use.
- Reach out to one or two of your contacts each week. Email or call specific individuals to see how they are doing, ask about their year and offer helpful information.
- Decide how you will reach out to your contacts this holiday season. Do you have an annual holiday message? Start writing it now. Make a date on your calendar for sending out your communication.
- Revise your current marketing plan and position yourself to get started right in 2016. Embrace your previous success and expand upon it for 2016.
If you haven’t made the impact you hoped to achieve last year, it isn’t too late. Choose to make the most of these last few months of this year. Ten weeks is plenty of time to set yourself in motion if you are consistent and committed. Happy Fall!