Working Your Network

This month we have been covering the topic of networking and referrals:

1. Developing the Attitude for Networking (and life). The old saying is true that your attitude determines your altitude. You will only go as far as your attitude will carry you. We will look at the kind of attitudes that will enable you to successfully expand your network and make your life all that it can be. There are certain attitudes you must have toward circumstances and those that you must have toward yourself and others. Your attitude also governs the process of what takes place when you are networking. We took a look at the whole world of attitude two weeks ago.

2. Becoming a Person of Influence. The ability to attract and influence others is paramount to being a successful networker. Last week we covered the principles of influence and what motivates others to follow your lead, which, in turn, builds your network. We also discussed how to expand your contact list with people who want to go with you to greater heights.

3. Working your Network. It takes a certain degree of skill to search for and gain new referrals to expand your business. In this week’s edition, we will show you how to develop your network and grow your business—what to do before a meeting, during a meeting and after a meeting, all designed to help you grow your business through an expanding network of people.

4. Getting the Referral. The success of your business depends on keeping your current customers satisfied, while at the same time gaining new customers. The key to getting new customers is getting the referral. We will discuss a technique for this and also cover the ins and outs of working with people in such a way that they help you find others to grow your business—and gladly refer you! We will cover this in next week’s edition.

This week we are covering the topic of “Working your Network,” and I want to talk a little about what kind of person you need to be in order to maximize your network. Remember, the kind of person you are is ultimately what will determine the kind of success you have.

So, let’s take a few moments to think about what kind of person is successful in networking.

Successful Networkers Are:

Hard workers. I have found that the most successful networkers are those who work hard at their business for long periods of time. Just as in life, there are up times and down times. Strong economies come and go. What doesn’t change is that successful networkers are hard workers.

Yes, occasionally, you will hear of someone for whom wealth and success came easily, but this is the exception, not the rule. The same is true with networking (and all of life): The person who gets the network up and running and firing on all cylinders is the one who is up early and goes to bed late. They are working the phones. They are sending follow-up notes. They are working their network.

Diligent. Diligence is an offshoot of hard work, but with a subtle nuance. Webster’s defines diligence this way: “characterized by care and perseverance in carrying out tasks; quietly and steadily persevering especially in detail or exactness.”

Those who expand their network and are successful at networking are those who care about their work enough to persevere. They are not the loudest, but they are those who quietly go about their business. Like the ant that goes back and forth over and over again, carrying his bounty back to the nest, the successful networker does their business diligently, knowing that if they have a good plan, and if they work that plan, they will see success come their way, even when it may not appear that way at first. This is diligence.

Prepared. I like the old credo of the Boy Scouts: Be prepared. There is not much better advice in this world than to be prepared. Give me two people—one who is thoroughly prepared, but with average skill, and one with above-average skill but flies by the seat of his pants, rarely prepared—and I will take the prepared person of average skill every time. Preparation is a key component of long-term success. In Sun Tzu’s Art of War, he says, “The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.”

Sincere. One of the problems with many people in business, and a particular problem in many businesses that rely heavily on networking, is that there is a distinct lack of sincerity. In their desperation to get new contacts, some people can lose their sense of sincerity and simply say things in order to decide whether or not a particular person is a viable prospect or not. This isn’t a good practice for business or life. Remember, we are humans first, networkers second. In all of your dealings—not just in business—be sincere. Be genuine. Get to know people and care about them; don’t just focus just on whether or not they are going to buy from you. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting we spend all of our time on people who will not be customers. I am talking more about our attitudes toward people—they are people, not just prospects. People will be able to tell how you feel about them, and if you are perceived as lacking sincerity, you will soon be lacking a thriving business!

Friendly. Let’s be candid: People like doing business with friendly people. If you had to pick between a friendly and an unfriendly salesperson, you would pick the friendly salesperson to work with you, wouldn’t you? So, as you go about your business, be friendly. Smile. Compliment people. Don’t instigate problems or controversial subjects while in conversation. This doesn’t mean you have to “keep it light” all of the time, but just keep it friendly. The alternative is that when it is no longer friendly, you will find that business and networking are much harder to do. You have most assuredly heard someone say, “You have to meet Charlie—he is such a great guy— really friendly and nice to be around.” But have you ever heard, “You really have to meet Charlie—he is terribly unfriendly”? Never. So, be friendly, and people will want others to meet you!

Focused on others. To be successful in networking, you need to be “others-focused.” We covered this in great detail last week, so we won’t spend too much time on it this week, but it warrants repeating. One of the most important things you can do to be successful is to get your eyes off of yourself and onto meeting the needs of others. People who meet others’ needs are “in-demand” people! If you want to someone who stays foremost in the minds of others—and at the top of their network—be a “go-to” guy or gal!

Inquisitive. I love people who love to learn. Successful people are people who have an immense desire to learn. They are innately inquisitive, and if they aren’t, they learn to be! Do you love to learn? When you get together with others, are you inquisitive about them, their lives and their work? The more questions you ask about them, the more you learn about them and their business. The more you are sincerely interested in them and what they are about, the more likely you are to become a successful person and networker.

System-oriented. Just as you know that successful people have a plan and a system, the same is true with those who want to be great networkers. Develop a system that accomplishes the following things: enables you to track people, allows you to prepare for meetings and sales calls, helps you know exactly what to do while at your meetings, and helps you methodically follow up with people. Get these things down to a science and into a system, and you will be way ahead of the game. Work the system, and let the system work for you.

Do you have it within you to become a successful networker? You sure do! But it will take a strong desire to develop yourself. It will require devotion to that development over a period of time. It will require your full attention and heart. Take some time this week to do just that, and you will begin to see results that you can be proud of.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

Nick James

Supplemental Notes

Here are some very practical pointers on what to do before, during and after a meeting that will help grow and expand your network.

Think about these two specific scenarios to have some context to work from. The first scenario we will look at will be a large group gathering, like a chamber of commerce meeting. The second scenario will be a one-on-one meeting.

This can be considered Networking 101. It’s not advanced networking. If you master Networking 101, you will never have to go to advanced networking—you will have more than enough business. Networking is simple. It just takes discipline, which is why most people don’t excel at it.

So let’s take a look at what to do before, during and after a meeting.

The Large Group Meeting

Before the Meeting

– Prepare by deciding what your goals are. That might be making 10 good contacts, getting 50 business cards or spending good quality time with three people. Your goals are yours and are determined best by you.
– Be sure to have plenty of business cards or small promo materials with you, but don’t go overboard.
– Know your “elevator speech.” That is, be sure you can tell people what you do in 30 seconds or less because that’s about all the time you will get.
– Dress sharp.
– Get plenty of rest.
– Listen to some great music that will energize you.
– Eat some breath mints.

During the Meeting

– Put on a smile.
– Be gregarious. Walk up to people and say, “Hi, my name is _____. What’s yours?” When they tell you, follow up with, “So what do you do?”
– Don’t try to close the deal! You are there to network, not sell. They are there to network—not to be sold! Ignore this principle, and you will be known as a person to be avoided!
– Ask for the card. It’s simple: “Hey, do you have a card I could have? I would love to follow up with you.”
– Excuse yourself shortly. Don’t dominate a person’s time. They want to meet new people, too. After a few minutes, say, “Well, I know you want to meet some new people today, and I don’t want to take all your time, so I will let you go. It was great meeting you. I’ll be sure to follow up.”
– Be memorable. The person you want to connect with will meet 50 to 100 people that day. Why will they remember you? Because, remember, there is a difference between being memorable and being forgettable! Don’t think that wearing a ridiculous tie will make you memorable (unless you are a comedian, clown or juggler). Be smart. Say something witty. Or the mother lode: Give them a contact! For instance, they say they sell insurance. Your brother just told you he needs to increase his disability insurance. Give the agent your brother’s phone number with permission to call and say that you sent him.
– Take a long-term approach, especially with a regular meeting like the chamber of commerce. They will be there next month. Get to know them. Show them you will be there, too—that you aren’t “fly by night.” This will breed trust, which is the gold standard for networking success!
– Remember, the idea is to make good contacts so you can then follow up, develop a relationship and close the sale!

After the Meeting

– Give it a few days and then follow up by phone. Don’t call 20 minutes after the meeting, or they will think you’re a stalker. But don’t wait three months, either, because they will forget you. Instead, wait four or five days, and then place a friendly phone call.
– Here is how the call should go: “Hi, Joe, this is Tom Jackson. I met you at the chamber meeting a few days ago and wanted to follow up with you.” They then say, “Oh, yes.” At which point you follow with, “I’m wondering if you would be interested in getting together for coffee sometime early next week. I would love to buy you a cup of coffee and talk about a few ways we might be able to help each other out. I have a few ideas and contacts that may be helpful to you. Which day would work for you?”
Of course, they could say they aren’t interested. At this point—and this could be going against the grain—let them go. Some people say you have to answer objections, etc., and we can appreciate that, but you will have to determine your own style. They are either interested or they aren’t. You will be able to tell most of the time.
– If they are interested, then you have a chance to network or you may have a sales job to do, which we will talk about next month!

The One-On-One Meeting

Before the Meeting

– Again, be prepared. See the same helpful thoughts from above. Be dressed, well-rested, etc. This will put you in the proper frame of mind.
– Be prepared to pay for the coffee or a meal, or whatever you may be having. Remember, you asked for the meeting. We just think it is proper etiquette to pay. So make sure you have the money to do so.
– Be prepared with what exactly it is that you want to talk about and accomplish. If you have certain things you want to talk about, be prepared. If you have questions to ask, be prepared. If you have a goal for the outcome of the meeting, be prepared.

During the Meeting

– This is a given, but it’s worth repeating: Be friendly. Smile and be engaging.
– Take the first bit of time to just ask questions about the other person and get to know them. Don’t just cut to the chase about business. (Side note: Did you know that over a business meal it is a breach of etiquette to talk about business before the first course has been served? It’s just a thought to keep in mind that will help you in your timing.)
– Remember, you are building a relationship—yes, a business relationship—but a relationship nonetheless (and you never know where your new best friend may come from), so act like you are getting together with a new friend.
– Once you get down to business, ask how you might be able to help the other person. Ask what they are involved in and see if you can help them. Many business relationships begin with a lead that helped another.
– Eventually, you will have an opportunity to receive help from them. Approach it just that way. Here is what you can say: “You know, I am wondering if you might be able to help me. I am trying to accomplish something (be specific here), and I was wondering if you have any ideas that might be beneficial for me. Any advice?” (Note that you aren’t asking for referrals yet. You are getting business advice—you never know what you can learn from people.)
– Next, ask for some referrals (if they haven’t already given them to you). At this point, we love what Bob Burg says in that we shouldn’t say, “Do you know anybody who may be interested…” Instead, let’s say that you know they golf twice a week. Say this, “Would any of your golf partners be interested in this?” This gives them a specific group of people to “sort” through rather than thinking through everybody in the universe.
– When you are finished talking business, turn the conversation back to other things for a few minutes, pay the bill, thank them and then head on out. Remember, you don’t want to be there too long or take up too much of their time. If there are synergies, there will be future meetings.

After the Meeting

– Be sure to thank them for the time and the referrals. There are two proper ways to do this, one of which is better than the other. The first, and lesser way, is with the telephone. “Just calling to say thanks for getting together and let me know if I can help you in the future” is OK. But even better is a classy card sent through the mail. Invest in some very nice cards with your name embossed on them. They are invaluable.
– If you follow the above recommendations and take the time to prepare, your networking skills will begin to improve, which will positively affect your business and results.

What Is Risk Management?

Risk management is one of the most important topics you will ever read about trading.

Why is it important? Well, we are in the business of making money, and in order to make money we have to learn how to manage risk (potential losses).Ironically, this is one of the most overlooked areas in trading.

Many forex traders are just anxious to get right into trading with no regard for their total account size.

They simply determine how much they can stomach to lose in a single trade and hit the “trade” button.There’s a term for this type of investing….it’s called…

GAMBLING!

When you trade without risk management rules, you are in fact gambling.

You are not looking at the long-term return on your investment. Instead, you are only looking for that “jackpot.”

Risk management rules will not only protect you, but they can make you very profitable in the long run. If you don’t believe us, and you think that “gambling” is the way to get rich, then consider this example:

People go to Las Vegas all the time to gamble their money in hopes of winning a big jackpot, and in fact, many people do win.

So how in the world are casinos still making money if many individuals are winning jackpots?

The answer is that while even though people win jackpots, in the long run, casinos are still profitable because they rake in more money from the people that don’t win.

That is where the term “the house always wins” comes from.

The truth is that casinos are just very rich statisticians. They know that in the long run, they will be the ones making the money–not the gamblers.

Even if Joe Schmoe wins a $100,000 jackpot in a slot machine, the casinos know that there will be hundreds of other gamblers who WON’T win that jackpot and the money will go right back in their pockets.

This is a classic example of how statisticians make money over gamblers. Even though both lose money, the statistician, or casino in this case, knows how to control its losses.

Essentially, this is how risk management works. If you learn how to control your losses, you will have a chance at being profitable.In the end, Forex trading is a numbers game meaning you have to tilt every little factor in your favor as much as you can.

In casinos, the house edge is sometimes only 5% above that of the player. But that 5% is the difference between being a winner and being a loser.

You want to be the rich statistician and NOT the gambler because, in the long run, you want to “always be the winner.”

Becoming A Person Of Influence

 

we are learning the importance of networking and referrals. If you stop and think about it, almost everything we do involves networking in some fashion. You can have a great deal of influence just because of the sheer amount of “networks” you are in. Stop and consider how many different groups you are a part of—your family, your work, your friends, your church, your industry, clubs you are a member of, sports teams you or your family participate in, your children’s school and activities, etc.

Even though you may not be aware of it, you are also considered a part of someone else’s network. There is value in that. You have the opportunity to influence any or all of these groups/networks you are part of. What kind of influence do you want to have in your networks? You can develop and/or improve your ability to influence others. Jim shares in today’s edition how to become a valuable resource for others, which will, in turn, enable you to become an influencer in your world.

Here is what we are covering this month under the topic of Networking and Referrals:

1. Developing the Attitude for Networking (and life). The old saying is true that your attitude determines your altitude. You will only go as far as your attitude will carry you. We will look at the kind of attitudes that will enable you to successfully expand your network and make your life all that it can be. There are certain attitudes you must have toward circumstances and those that you must have toward yourself and others. Your attitude also governs the process of what takes place when you are networking. We took a look at the whole world of attitude in last week’s edition.

2. Becoming a Person of Influence. The ability to attract and influence others is paramount to being a successful networker. We will cover the principles of influence and what motivates others to follow your lead, which, in turn, builds your network. We will also discuss how to expand your contact list with people who want to go with you to greater heights. This will all be covered in today’s edition.

3. Working your Network. It takes a certain skill to search for and gain new referrals in order to expand your business. We will show you how to develop your network and grow your business—what to do before the meeting, during the meeting and after the meeting, all designed to help you grow your business through an expanding network of people. We will cover this next week.

4. Getting the Referral. The success of your business depends on keeping your current customers satisfied while at the same time gaining new customers. The key to getting new customers is getting the referral. We will discuss a technique for this and also cover the ins and outs of working with people in such a way that they help you find others to grow your business—and gladly refer you! We will cover this in two weeks.

Principles of Influence

When I think about the basic principles of influence, I think of three main elements. These are the very core elements that give people the ability to influence others.

Do you want to expand your influence and become a leader? Of course you do. There are many benefits to doing so—you can have better relationships, you can make more money, and you can make a difference in the lives of others. That’s fun!

When you apply these principles to your life you will see yourself become a better and more highly skilled person, and that will cause you to see your influence in your network grow exponentially. So let’s take a look.

Three Basic Principles of Influence

Principle One: Character does indeed count.
I always find it interesting when there is a discussion on whether or not character matters in leadership. Of course it does! You simply cannot become a person of long-term influence if you lack good character.

Of course, the obvious questions are “What is character?” “What does it consist of?” and “What are people looking for in character?”

Character is an issue of trust. People want to be able to trust you. They need to know that what you say is true. They need to know that when you say you will do something, you will.

What makes people trust others? Honesty. Do you tell the truth? Always? If you do, you will greatly enhance your ability to influence. People will listen when you speak. They will know that what they hear is what they get.

Honesty is being the same personally and professionally. You don’t act one way in one situation and another way in a different situation. When people see you tell a “little white lie” in one situation, it is only natural that they will wonder if you are eventually going to tell them a “little white lie” as well.

If you want to influence others, first and foremost make sure that you are a person of character and integrity. This is a central issue of influence.

Principle Two: To influence, you must be great at what you do.
The last in the class is not usually the influencer, right? Right! Who is usually the influencer? The first in the class. People look up to those who produce the best results. People want to see that those they listen to have already achieved a certain level of success. So if you want to influence, develop a reputation for excellence. By continually sharpening your skills and knowledge, by improving your relationships and your finances, you will more easily position yourself to be an influencer in the lives of others.

Principle Three: Influence is based on helping others.
One of the most influential quotes in the arena of personal and professional development in the past 50 years has been my friend Zig Ziglar’s quote about how you can achieve anything you want in life if you will help many others achieve what they want out of life. It has been so influential because of its innate truth.

It reminds me of Jesus’ words, “Whoever wants to become the greatest among you must become the servant of all.”

You see, true influence is about serving and helping others. Do you want to be the “go to” man or woman in your network? Then be the best helper or servant in the group. Do you want to be connected like no one else? Then be the person whose name comes to mind when people ask themselves, “Who could help me with this?” If your name pops into their mind, that is influence! Why? Because they will call you and you will get the opportunity to influence. And if you can deliver the goods, your reputation will grow even more!

Let’s make some simple applications of these principles.

You want to be a person of influence in your network, right? Good. Let’s take a group of 50 people you know. Who will rise to the top and become the influencers? Will you? Who will be listened to most closely when they speak? Who will move the group when they share their opinion? It will be those who combine the three elements above in the most integrated way. If you are a person who is known to have high character, a reputation for excellence, and who helps others, then you will be in a strong position of influence.

Think about those things this week. Think about where you are in relation to each of these principles. Grow in each and you will position yourself nicely in your network!

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

-Nick James

Supplemental Notes

One of the most important things you need in order to develop a large network is a contact list.

Expanding Your Contact List
The first thing to keep in mind is that you have to have a contact list (some refer to this as their Rolodex). Now, we know there are many different ways to keep information in this day and age, including smart phones and other electronic devices. But the basic principle is that you need to have something in which you can keep—and easily access—information about the people in your network. So, whether you prefer paper or electronic versions, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you have one! If you don’t, go get one! If you do, let’s move to point No. 2.

Decide to take the time to build your contact list. You will have to invest time entering data and honing the entries. This may take a little time each week or so, but if you are doing it right, it will be well worth the effort.

The collection. To build your contact list you have to be aware that everywhere you go is a collection opportunity. As you talk to someone, determine whether or not this is a person you will want or need in your network. In the old days of paper only, you had to use more discretion. Now with smart phones you can keep tens of thousands of names in one handheld unit. So, if you are using paper, you will need to enter the information by hand. This means you need to get their business card. Most people will offer it to you, but if they don’t and you want it there is only one way to get it—ask!

Now, for those big networking opportunities when business cards are flowing freely: When you are talking to someone and they offer you their card, make the decision whether or not you want to put this person in your network. If so, take a look at the card and make a note on it if that would be helpful. Then stick the card into your right pocket. When you come across someone you know is not a person who will end up in your network, and they offer you their card, stick that card in your left pocket. Women can follow a similar system using their purse, etc. Then, when you leave the meeting with 40 or 50 business cards, you will have an automatic filtering process in place. The right people to keep in your network are found in your right pocket. The left pocket cards go into the circular file. Pretty good system!

If you are using electronic forms, then this process is relatively easy today. Most smart phones have a function wherein you can transfer or text your information from one phone to another. That is about as easy as it gets!

The entry. As mentioned above, you will need to spend some time entering the information. The key is to focus on two things:

1. Put in the right information.
2. Develop a built-in process of follow-up.

Put in the right information. Below is a modified version of the Mackay 66—a tool that our friend Harvey Mackay developed for his own use. We have shortened it to only the very basic elements that everyone should have.

The Modified Mackay 66

Name:
Company name:
Address:
Home address:
Business Phone:
Home Phone:
Email and website:
Birthday:
College attended/Year graduated/Degrees:
Sports played?
Military service? What branch? How long?
Spouse’s name and occupation:
Anniversary:
Children, if any, names/ages:
Previous employment:
Professional/trade associations they belong to:
What do you feel is his/her long-range business objective?
What do you feel is his/her immediate business objective?
What do you think is of greatest concern to the customer at this time—the welfare of the company or his/her own personal welfare?
Does the customer think of the present or the future?
Clubs, fraternal associations or service clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.)
Politically active? Party:
Active in community? How?
On what subjects (outside of business) does the customer have strong feelings?
Favorite places for lunch and dinner:
Hobbies and recreational interests:
Spectator sports interest:
Conversational interests:
What adjectives would you use to describe the customer?
What do you feel is the customer’s long-range, personal objective?
What do you feel is the customer’s immediate personal goal?

As you can see, if you can keep this kind of information available to you on the people in your network, you will be way ahead of the game!

Develop a built-in process of follow up. So, when you look at the information above, what areas do you see that would be built-in reasons to connect with those in your network? Here are just a few: Positive news in the paper on their company, birthday, anniversary, their favorite sports teams, or positive news on any associations or clubs they are active in. Anytime you can contact them in regard to positive happenings, it reminds them that you are thinking of them and it also associates you with that positive event. At the very least, be sure to remember birthdays and anniversaries! Drop them a note or make a quick phone call to congratulate them and let them know that you noticed!

The important idea to remember is to regularly connect with the people in your network. Keep your name, face, and voice in front of them, help them achieve their goals, and basically be there for them, and they will be there for you!

Developing The Attitude For Networking

Part One—Developing the Attitude for Networking

We have some terrific stuff for you on networking and referrals this month. Here is what we will be covering:

1. Developing the Attitude for Networking (and life). The old saying is true that your attitude determines your altitude. You will only go as far as your attitude will carry you. We will look at the kind of attitudes that will enable you to successfully expand your network and make your life all that it can be. There are certain attitudes you must have toward circumstances and those that you must have toward yourself and others. Your attitude also governs the process of what takes place when you are networking. We will take a look at the world of attitude in this week’s edition.

2. Becoming a Person of Influence. The ability to attract and influence others is paramount to being a successful networker. We will cover the principles of influence and what motivates others to follow your lead, which, in turn, builds your network. We will also discuss how to expand your contact list with people who want to go with you to greater heights. This will all be covered next week.

3. Working your Network. It takes a certain skill to search for and gain new referrals in order to expand your business. We will show you how to develop your network and grow your business—what to do before the meeting, during the meeting and after the meeting, all designed to help you grow your business through an expanding network of people. We will cover this in two weeks.

4. Getting the Referral. The success of your business depends on keeping your current customers satisfied while at the same time gaining new customers. The key to getting new customers is getting the referral. We will discuss a technique for this and also cover the ins and outs of working with people in such a way that they help you find others to grow your business—and gladly refer you! We will cover this in three weeks.

Get ready, because this month is going to be great. If you follow the ideas put forth in the following weeks, you will begin to see your network expand and your business flourish!

Developing the Attitude for Networking
When we talk about developing an attitude for networking, we need to break it up into a few areas: First, you have a general attitude about life and work. Second, you have an attitude about circumstances. Third, you have an attitude about yourself and others. And fourth, you have an attitude toward the process.

In every area, your attitude will be a significant factor in how successful you become in your networking endeavors. Just as in life, your attitude determines so much. If you have a bad attitude, it will affect how well you work with others and how you perform. So it is imperative that you consistently work on maintaining a positive attitude that will carry you on to success—not only in developing your network, but, more important, in developing your life!

Let’s take a look at the attitudes that will help make you a successful networker.

1. Your attitude about life and work. There are two basic attitudes that determine how we experience life: “Life is good” and “Life can get better.”

These are basically the tenets of optimism. Let’s take a look at each.

“Life is good.” It seems as though many people like to talk about how bad things are. They are constantly focusing on what they don’t have. But what would happen if you decided to focus on what you do have? Yes, there are going to be things that happen that you could point to and say, “See, life is bad.” But there will always be things you can point to that will enable you to say, “Life is good.” In fact, the very idea that you are alive to say it is proof that life is good! Like the old saying goes, “Every day above ground is a good one.” Think about life this way: If you are here to live, then you can certainly find a reason to enjoy it.

“Life can get better.” No matter where you are in life, it can get better. Yes, it can get worse, too, depending on what you choose. No matter where you are financially, it can get better. No matter how successful your business is, it can get better. No matter what kind of relationships you have, they can get better.

Think about these two attitudes, and, more important, embrace them. They will saturate your life with good things, if you will let them emanate from deep within you. They will shape your destiny. They will make you a better person. They will enhance every area of your life and work. They will make you a positive influence around people, and that will help you be a better networker.

2. Your attitude about circumstances. Circumstances come and go. The Bible says, “God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” In other words, good and bad things happen to everybody. These “things,” or circumstances, don’t matter. What does matter is what our attitude is in the middle of the circumstances.

Here is the best attitude to have in any circumstance you find yourself in: “I can learn from this and use it to become even more successful!” If something good happens to you, then take advantage of it. If circumstances are less than what you would like them to be, decide to find out what you can learn from the circumstances. If you maintain a positive attitude about your circumstances, you will always be a step closer to achieving your goals.

3. Your attitude about yourself. The attitude that you maintain about yourself is probably the single most influential factor in your pursuit of success. What you believe about yourself and your possibilities almost inevitably comes true, no matter what it is.

Here are the best attitudes to have about yourself to guarantee success as a person—and as a networker.

“I am a person of value.” If you believe that you are a person of value—and you are—then you will be a person who provides value to others. What you believe about yourself and what you have to offer is exactly what you will give to others. Remind yourself frequently that you are a person of innate value and worth. Don’t be afraid of being an egomaniac. For most people, that isn’t the problem. You have a lot going for you and a lot to offer others. Never forget that.

“I determine my future.” You cannot wait around for someone else to make it happen for you. You alone set your course and determine what you will strive to achieve and what you will become. If you don’t decide to succeed, you won’t. If you don’t decide to work hard, you won’t achieve your dreams. If you wait for others to move you along, you will wait your life away. Remind yourself that you determine your future, and then do it each day.

“I can make my dreams happen.” If you do not believe that your dreams are possible, they won’t be. You are the key to whether or not your dreams come true. If you believe that you can achieve your dreams, you will most assuredly achieve them. If you think that they are just pie in the sky, then you will most likely never experience the thrill of living your dreams.

4. Your attitude about others. Your attitude about others comes shining through. In everything you do and in everything you say, it is easy to determine what you think about other people, and that will have a huge effect on how successful you become. Success requires interacting with other people. There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman.

Here are some attitudes that will make you successful with others.

“I am here to serve.” Ultimately, the key to success is to have an attitude of service. The more people you help, the greater your impact will be and the greater your income will be. We should never think of others as though they are simply here to fulfill our wishes. Instead, we are here to help them, and in doing so, we will achieve greater success. This is true in all areas of life, including networking.

“I have a responsibility to treat others as I would want to be treated.” The golden rule states: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” When we treat people poorly, we not only break the laws of humanity, but it is also bad business! Some people just don’t understand that! No matter what situation we are in, including our business situations, we should maintain the attitude of treating the other person in exactly the same manner we would like to be treated. This will go a long way toward ensuring a successful life and a successful business.

“I need others in order to be successful.” Although we each determine our own future, that does not mean that we do not need others. We choose our routes, but those routes always include other people. We need other people. We need them for ideas. We need them for help. We need them as customers. We need other people at every stage of life and work.

5. Your attitude about the networking process. How you act and what you believe in the middle of the process will determine to a great degree how the process will end. A good attitude about the process will help you see a positive outcome. Here are some attitudes to maintain throughout the networking process.

“No matter what happens I will remain positive.” If you still have this attitude, the outcome doesn’t matter. This puts you in a position of strength as you go about the process.

“The networking process makes me better.” We learn in the middle of it. We grow there. We get better, and eventually we will get to the point where we are “firing on all cylinders,” meeting new people, making new customers and closing all the deals we can, and that is great!

“Both parties should win.” This is Covey’s principle of a win-win. If one party loses, then both parties ultimately lose. If you “win” in the process and the other loses, do you think that customer will come back? No way. What does that mean? You lose, too. If you win and your customer loses, then your career will be a parade of one-time deals—and that is a pace that is hard to keep up. Your network should be filled with happy people who know they will win when they do business with you.

Remember, your attitude is so important. It is central to who you are, what you will become and what you will achieve. In the next few weeks, we will get specific on the networking process, but this week it is important to focus on the attitudes that govern our lives. In doing so, we will set ourselves up to become the best networkers we possibly can.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

Nick James

Supplemental Notes

There are lots of things in this life that we don’t get to choose. On the other hand, there are lots of things in this life that we do get to choose. Our attitude is one of them. Nobody else lives inside our brain. Nobody else controls what or how we think. It is up to us, moment by moment, to choose what our attitude is. It is up to us to determine how we will look at and perceive the world around us. It is up to us to decide how we will react to the world around us.

Our advice? Choose a positive, optimistic attitude! Here are some thoughts on choosing your attitude.

We cannot choose our circumstances. For the most part, this is true. We cannot control if someone around us gets ill. We cannot control how another person treats us. We cannot control the global economy. We cannot control the direction our society as a whole will go. For some, this may seem scary, but it can be freeing. We don’t have to control our circumstances—running the whole world would be a big responsibility. It is good to know that we are not in charge of, or in control of, all of our circumstances. This dose of reality frees us to focus on what we can control: our attitude.

We can choose our attitudes. That’s right. We get to choose what our attitudes are for every situation. The definition of attitude is “the feeling or opinion about something or someone, or a way of behaving that follows from this.” We choose how we feel about others and situations. We choose our opinion about people and situations. We choose the way we will behave in relation to other people and circumstances. We choose it. It doesn’t have to be bad, and it doesn’t have to be anything but what we want it to be. We have the option.

The choice of a right attitude will significantly determine all future circumstances. Choosing to have the right attitude will change the world around you. This isn’t any sort of magic; it is just how the world works. Now, don’t get us wrong, it won’t cure everything and turn your world into a virtual Shangri-La, but it will significantly improve the world you live in. For example, let’s say that every day you go to work and gripe about life and work from the moment you get there until the moment you leave. Will others want to be around you? Will others ask your opinion? Will others like you? Will others ask you to join them for lunch? Probably not! But what if you come to work every day and you are the positive optimist of the crowd? Will everybody love you? No, but significantly more people will than if you are the office pessimist! Your choice of attitude will determine what kind of circumstances you get!

Ultimately, what kind of attitude we have is our choice. Nobody else can force you to have a bad attitude. Nobody else can force you to have a good attitude. It is simply a choice you make.

So, what kinds of attitudes make a difference? Here are five attitudes that will make you soar:

1. “I can.” This is the most basic of all attitudes. We simply must choose to believe that we can. Telling yourself that you can’t, will, in effect, make it so that you can’t. But telling yourself that you can, will, in effect, enable you to achieve much more. Even if you actually only achieve 50 percent of what you tell yourself you can achieve, you will achieve at least that much more than if you told yourself you couldn’t.

2. “I will be generous.” Another attitude that will make you soar is being a generous person. The attitude (and discipline) of generosity increases your likelihood of success for two main reasons: One, you are happier about yourself, and that puts you in a state of mind that is prepared for successful living. Two, people pay back people who are generous. Generous people receive in kind, and being generous will raise you to levels yet unseen.

3. “I will make a difference in the lives of those around me.” People who soar are generally people who have the attitude of helping other people. Yes, they may do it for monetary gain, but they are people-focused. They want to change the way people live and make life better. They are difference makers all around.

4. “I am not easily angered.” Whether or not we get angry is a choice of attitude. We determine whether or not we will be angry. Often someone who is struggling with achieving something comes off as an angry person. They have held onto an attitude that is angry at its root. When we take on an attitude that raises the bar on what makes us angry, we are positioning ourselves to be in a state of mind that is better able to live and work in such a way as to achieve success.

5. “I will look for the good in every situation.” This is basic optimism. Successful people who soar through life are those who are optimistic. They see the good, think the best and strive for greatness, believing all the while that they will achieve it because it is possible!

Where are you with your attitude? Do you have a good one? Why not sit down and give it some serious thought? Then, no matter where you find yourself, decide to take your attitude to the next level! If you have a bad attitude, decide to improve upon it by a couple of levels! If you have a good attitude, take it to the “great” level!

Your attitude is your choice. Choose wisely.

We Are Half Way There

Below is a review of the past six months. This week’s lesson is simply to take some time and review the previous six months’ topics. See what stands out to you. Make two kinds of notes: First, reflect upon what is working—what improvements and changes you are developing and seeing in your life.

Second, see what hits you right between the eyes—areas you see that you can grow or improve upon. Make notes as to which one or two things you can, or should, start doing to help bring more awareness and change. Finally, ask yourself, “Am I heading in the right direction?”

Here’s a formula you can follow to stay on pace:

– Take care of the daily to-do’s.
– Invest time (average 5 to 10 percent) on a regular basis toward future planning and projects.
– Invest time (2 to 5 percent) cleaning up old projects or messes.
– Finish strong and don’t create new messes that will need to be cleaned up in the future.

If you follow this formula, you might find yourself getting a little frustrated in the short term—especially if you have a number of messes to clean up—because it might seem like progress is slow. But, over a given period of time, you will start to see amazing progress on many levels. Your daily consistency will keep you on schedule with your projects and deadlines; your future planning will soon find itself reaping present rewards; your commitment to cleaning up messes will begin saving you time as you become more organized—mentally and in your workspace—and your efforts to finish strong and not make new messes will continually help to create more time for higher-end duties.

As with any long-term plan or goal, including The N.J.W Blog, results start to emerge slowly, but, like a snowball going downhill, they will increase rapidly the longer you consistently invest in them.

Again, below is a review of the past six months. Please take the time to read through and answer the questions above.

—Personal Development
Week One: Part One—The Journey
Week Two: Part Two—The Plan
Week Three: Part Three—Influence and Association
Week Four: Part Four—Learning and Education

—Goal-Setting
Week Five: Part One—Evaluation and Reflection
Week Six: Part Two—Establishing Dreams and Goals
Week Seven: Part Three—SMART Goals
Week Eight: Open Week
Week Nine: Part Four—Accountability

– Health-Spiritual/Physical/Emotional
Week 10: Part One—Spiritual Health
Week 11: Part Two—Emotional Health
Week 12: Part Three—Physical Health: Nutrition
Week 13: Part Four—Physical Health: Exercise

—Finances
Week 14: Part One—Getting Out of Debt
Week 15: Part Two—Saving
Week 16: Part Three—Investing
Week 17: Part Four—Giving

—Relationships
Week 18: Part One—Basics of Healthy Relationships
Week 19: Part Two—Family and Spousal Relationships
Week 20: Part Three—Friendships
Week 21: Part Four—Business Relationships

—Time Management
Week 22: Part One—Philosophy and Values
Week 23: Part Two—Creating a Proactive Schedule
Week 24: Part Three—Breaking Through Barriers
Week 25: Part Four—Gaining More Time

Upcoming Events:
Event Seven—Networking/Referrals
Event Eight—Selling
Event Nine—Communication/Presentation
Event 10—Leadership
Event 11—Memory/Speed-Reading
Event 12—Legacy/Contribution

-N.J.W Blog

Gaining More Time

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Gaining More Time

Here is what we are covering this month under the topic of Time Management:

1. Developing a Philosophy of Time Management—Establishing your priorities and values. As important as how to manage our time is first and foremost the why, since the why is the force that pulls us toward our dreams and determines the how. First we’ll look at the philosophy of time management and then determine our priorities based on the values we believe in and hold in the highest. We discussed these things in depth three weeks ago.

2. Creating a Proactive Schedule—Allocating time based on your unique priorities and values. Once you know why you are managing your time and the priorities and values you strive for, then it is important to understand where you currently spend your time and how to strategically budget for maximum performance. You see, something will always master and something will always serve. Either you run the day or it runs you. Two weeks ago we took a deeper look into this aspect of time management.

3. Breaking Through Barriers—Eliminating time wasters and overcoming procrastination. Many folks know what to do, but it is often the things we shouldn’t spend our time on that get us off track. It’s important that we not mistake movement for achievement. It’s easy to get tricked by being busy, but the key question is: Busy doing what? Last week, we looked at how to overcome procrastination and eliminate time wasters.

4. How to Gain More Time—We’ll talk about time-management pointers and how to reclaim one to two hours a day through delegating, skill improvement, multitasking and improved focus. These are things anyone can do to gain more time in their day. Yes, there are only 24 hours in each day, but we can maximize those hours by working “smarter” rather than longer, and employing other skills along with our time management. We will look at these ideas today.

On the topic of gaining more time, of course we can’t actually “gain” more time. Time is a fixed resource, but what we are talking about is the ability to manage ourselves in such an efficient way that we see our time “open up,” so to speak, so that we have more time to do what we want. We will also find we can accomplish much more in a shorter period of time.

As I said above, because time is a fixed resource, I want to strongly encourage you to embrace this concept of “gaining” time. The more efficiently we can do things, the more time we will be able to give to our families, our hobbies and other important areas of our lives. We will become people of great accomplishment and leave extraordinary legacies for those who follow us.

With that, let’s take a look at how we can “add” more hours into our days.

1. Delegate. As we review our priorities like we did a few weeks ago, we see there are certain things we should spend more time on and certain things we should spend less time on. It is all a matter of managing our priorities, playing to our strengths and acting on our natural giftedness.

Two thoughts: One, you should do the things that will make you successful. In other words, you should hire out or delegate anything that does not fit into the goal of taking your life and work to the next level. For example: If you are a person who makes money as an accountant, you should spend your time doing accounting. For this you might make $75 an hour. You should not spend your time doing filing. Instead, hire someone for $15 an hour to do the filing. Let’s assume there is two hours of filing to be done in an accountant’s office. That means you make $150 but spend $30, which is $120 a day and $600 a week. That is $31,200 a year!

Second, delegating allows you to work in the areas you are strongest. This will help you finish more quickly, with more quality and in a much better mood than if you are spending time working on things you are not good at. Spending time on your weaknesses creates discouragement and causes you to be less efficient. Instead, delegate it! You will find a lot more time for the good things in life when you do.

2. Skill improvement. Every time you improve your skills in an area you save time. If you learn to read faster, you can read that report in less time, and hopefully with better retention. If you learn to type better, the reports are written faster and with fewer mistakes. If you learn to communicate more clearly, your meetings will finish more quickly. You get the point. When you do things better, you also do them faster and that means being able to do more in the same period of time. Either way you come out a winner!

3. Single-tasking and multitasking. Be clear on this. There is a time to single-task and a time to multitask. There are certain tasks that can be done while you do something else and others you should devote your full attention solely to what you are doing.

Good times to multitask: When you can do one thing passively and one thing with focus. For example, many people on the East Coast ride the train to work. During their travel time (passive) they can also work on reports or get their reading done (focus) for the day. In fact, many people do all of their e-mail during their commute to and from work.

Good times to single-task: Anytime you need to focus. There are times you will need to be ruthless about distractions. First of all, you will find you get the work done more quickly, and secondly, you will find the work is done better and with fewer errors. Anything that requires detail is a good time to single-task. And as the old saying goes, “Haste makes waste.” And in our case here, not focusing will end up costing you more time—thus being inefficient—in the long run. So predetermine those tasks that require single focus and then do it!

4. Improved focus. Focus is a matter of discipline. It is the ability and willingness to let everything else fall away while you set your mind solely on the matter at hand. It is an incredible way to gain more time. Many hours are lost in the work world to employees (and owners!) who never force themselves to focus. Instead they come and go from their work, letting their minds wander and allowing themselves to be pulled from one task to another. You know the guy: There he is working at what he needs to accomplish and then he remembers that he hasn’t called his mother lately. So he does. Then he needs a drink of water so he goes to the water cooler. There he sees the sales manager and they shoot the breeze about golf last weekend. Twenty minutes later he goes back in his office and decides that it’s time for an early lunch…. On and on until the end of the day when he says, “I didn’t get a thing done today!” Focus!

Learn how to set aside distractions and put all of your energy, thought and work into accomplishing the goal. That is, focus. Do not let anything take you away from it. As you focus, you will see that you accomplish more in less time and with better results.

5. Working “smarter” rather than longer. You should make it your goal to work fewer hours by working more efficiently. Anyone can establish their schedule and work in such a way that enables them to leave the office at a predetermined time and get home to eat dinner with their family. I do not know a person alive who couldn’t work more efficiently and thus work shorter periods of time if they worked smarter. What constitutes smarter? Here is the short list: Be directed by goals, ruthless against distractions, work from a prioritized task list, be focused and disciplined, delegate, and budget the time you have to get what you need done, done.

6. Applying time-management skills. Think about the hundreds of millions of dollars—maybe even billions of dollars—spent on time-management seminars. Whole companies that generate 50 million dollars a year have been built just on time-management tools, products and seminars. Yet most people are very inefficient with their time. Why is this? Because of one simple problem: They do not apply the truths they learn. The key is application.

There are ways to gain hours in your day. There are ways to become more efficient. You can manage and use your time to become everything you desire to be and have everything you desire to have.

We are drawing to a close now with our month on time management. As I mentioned before, time is our most precious asset. Every day is a new day—yesterday is gone, so do everything within your power to make each day the best it can be so you can live out your values and priorities.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

Nick James

Supplemental Notes

The Top 10 Ways to Gain Two Hours a Day or More!

Take a look at the list below and implement a few—if not all—of them and see how much time you gain this week and how much more you accomplish. When you gain two hours a day, you gain 14 hours a week and a whopping 728 hours a year, or 18.2 workweeks! Note: The estimates of time saved are per day. These are also very conservative estimates.

1. Turn off the TV. We may as well start with the easy one. The average person watches three hours a day. So turn it off for one of those hours. Do something else instead. Read a book. Better yet, start writing your book! Time saved: 1 hour.

2. Group your projects together. Do all your e-mail at once or make all your calls at once. Starting and stopping wastes a lot of time. Time saved: 15 minutes.

3. Don’t answer the phone. Let it go to voice mail. Then, at a set time, listen to the voice mail, delete liberally, and write down the information on a pad to call back when it is best for you. Talk to them only about the issue at hand. Time saved: 30 minutes. Another 30 if you count the telemarketers you avoid.

4. Get up 15 minutes earlier. Go to bed 15 minutes later. If your alarm goes off every day at 6 a.m., make it 5:45. Now we’re not saying to deprive yourself of the necessary and needed sleep your body requires to function properly, but if you can, try the 15 minutes and see what you can accomplish with those extra minutes. Time saved: 30 minutes!

5. Enroll in what Zig Ziglar calls “Automobile University.” We have a friend who always has the best CDs with him. He listens to about 10 hours of great material a week, all while in the car. Time saved: 1 hour.

6. Cut your lunch short. Shave 15 minutes off of it. Side benefit: You’ll lose weight without the dessert! Time saved: 15 minutes.

7. Hire an assistant. Let him or her do the smaller tasks like answering e-mail, copying, screening calls and filing. Time saved: 1 hour.

8. Focus. Different people are distracted by different things. Whatever it is that distracts you, cut it out. Tune it out and lock in like a laser on your work. You will save time and your work will be better! Time saved: 30 minutes.

9. Shift your work hours to include time when others aren’t at the office. Being there alone will help you stay on task, and you will be shocked at how much you get done. Time saved: 15 minutes.

10. Plan. Spend 15 minutes a day planning your day to work on the most important tasks in the most efficient way. You will lose 15 minutes but gain an hour. Time saved: 45 minutes.

Total if you do them all: six hours a day of time saved, improved focus and increased productivity!

If you will just implement a few of these—those that work best for you—you will see a dramatic improvement in your time management and productivity.

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Breaking Through Barriers

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Special Audio Bonus! Nationally recognized writer and author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast Laura Vanderkam talks about the value of keeping a time log, how time is a choice, and how every schedule needs a little slack.

philosophy, which says that there are about a half-dozen things that make the greatest difference in any area of our life, whether it’s health, money, relationships, etc. If you focus on about five or six things long term, you will be in the top 20 percent of successful people in your particular area. Next question is: How do you get in the top 10 percent, 5 percent or 1 percent? Well, this is where refinement comes in.

Our guess is that if you have mastered staying on task and limiting interruptions on a consistent, daily basis in your work life, then you have positioned yourself in the top 20 percent of the marketplace. But what are the refinements the ultra-successful make? Obviously, they have a handle on time management, both in how to maximize their work time to get the most benefit, as well as having more personal and family time to enjoy their results.

What are these refinements? We will touch on this later. Additionally, we’d like to add that for the top 10 percent, 5 percent and 1 percent, it requires a clear mission and purpose in advance—clarity about what they want to achieve and the cost it will require. Once procrastination is conquered and good time management habits are established, then, often, the biggest obstacles are prioritizing your projects/goals and nipping interruptions in the bud. The more success you have, the more people and opportunities will present themselves at your doorstep. No one likes to say no and be less than positive in how we relate to others and the opportunities we have to be of service, yet the old adage that “good” is the enemy of “best” begins to come into play the more you create success in your life.

A great example of this would be in your giving or charitable causes. Are there plenty of opportunities to give to worthy causes? Yes! Are there plenty of needs out there that are deserving of our attention, time and resources? Yes! Are there plenty of inquiries and solicitations for us to contribute our resources to these needs? Yes! Are we able to meet all the demands? Probably not. Are you made to feel guilty by others or yourself? Maybe. Well, the same is true with your time. There is only so much to go around, so it’s imperative to make good choices. Just as we are a steward of our money, and we believe it has an opportunity to multiply when we make good decisions as to how we allocate and spend it, likewise, we feel the same responsibility and opportunity with our time. Identify your priorities, set your goals, value and maximize your time, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

This month we’re focusing on the topic of Time Management:

1. Developing a Philosophy of Time ManagementEstablishing your priorities and values. As important as how to manage our time is first and foremost the why, since the why is the force that pulls us toward our dreams and determines the how. First we’ll look at the philosophy of time management and then determine our priorities based on the values we believe in and hold in the highest. Two weeks ago, we discussed these things in depth.

2. Creating a Proactive ScheduleAllocating time based on your unique priorities and values. Once you know why you are managing your time and the priorities and values you strive for, then it is important to understand where you currently spend your time and how to strategically budget for maximum performance. You see, something will always master and something will always serve. Either you run the day or it runs you. Last week, we looked deeper into this aspect of time management.

3. Breaking Through Barriers—Eliminating time wasters and overcoming procrastination. Many folks know what to do, but it is often the things we shouldn’t spend our time on that get us off track. It’s important that we not mistake movement for achievement. It’s easy to get tricked by being busy, but the key question is: Busy doing what? This week, we will look at how to overcome procrastination and eliminate time wasters.

4. How to Gain More Time—We’ll talk about time-management pointers and how to reclaim one to two hours a day through delegating, skill improvement, multitasking and improved focus. These are things anyone can do to gain more time in their day. Yes, there are only 24 hours in each day, but we can maximize those hours by working “smarter” rather than longer, and employing other skills along with our time management. We will look at these ideas next week.

This week, our focus is on eliminating time wasters and overcoming procrastination. Before we get started, I just want to say that I hope you are making strides in developing and implementing your philosophy of time management as well as setting priorities. You have also had a week to take an inventory of your time usage and begin working on budgeting your time. This should be proceeding nicely for you. Keep working on your time-budgeting skills; it may not come overnight, but if you work on it—and yourself—you will get your life under control and see a whole-new world open up.

With that being said, let’s move on to this week’s topic of eliminating time wasters and overcoming procrastination.

The key to all time management is to stay focused, have a plan based on priorities and actively follow that plan. If you do these three things, you will have your time—and your life—under control and moving along the way you would like it to.

But, similar to when you are driving, various things can slow you down, sidetrack or distract you. The same goes for time management. Have you ever been driving down the road when you came across a detour because of road work? Or maybe you saw a store you wanted to stop at even though you had somewhere else to go?

Managing our time is much like that. There we are, managing our time, knowing where we want to go because we have our priorities set, and then a time waster presents itself. Or we waste time because we simply procrastinate. Either way, it nets the same result: We don’t get where we want to go.

So let’s take a look at the issue of time wasters first, and then at the idea of procrastination.

What are time wasters? You may think they are obvious, but this isn’t necessarily true. Time wasters are anything that prevents you from accomplishing the proper use of your time based on your priorities and values.

Believe it or not, time wasters can be “good things.” Now, I don’t mean they are good for you, but that they may masquerade as something “good.” You may be able to look at them in a vacuum and say the things you are spending your time on are inherently good—until you weigh them against your priority list. Then it becomes clear that these “good” things are actually “time wasters.”

Time wasters fall into two primary categories:

The Urgent. If we do not have a firm grasp on our priorities, and work hard to develop a schedule that keeps us working on the important things we want to achieve, eventually the “urgent” will be upon us. Urgent things cry out to us, telling us they are important, when in actuality, they are not. The power of the urgent time waster is in the dramatic demand it makes on us. When it calls our name and appears to be urgent requiring that we spend time on it, it takes away from the very important things we should be working on. I have found, as I’m sure you have, too, that urgent things can rarely be done in short order. They usually drag themselves out, keeping us even further from our true goals. Perhaps the best way I have seen this demonstrated is in Stephen Covey’s idea of the four parts of the time-management quadrant. You have:

– The important and the urgent
– The important
– The urgent but non-important
– The non-important

The idea is to stay in Covey’s second quadrant. At first, you may be in Quadrant One (hopefully, you don’t spend much time in quadrants 3 and 4), but as you manage your time, you will see fewer and fewer urgent matters vying for your attention.

Always be aware of so-called “urgent” matters because most of the time they are just time wasters. Have the courage to let them go. At the very least, take a serious look at your life and make sure you aren’t constantly living in crisis mode. Crisis mode is a very dangerous thing when it comes to making good decisions and managing your time.

The Pleasurable. Pleasurable time wasters are extremely insidious. Sometimes when we spend time on urgent matters, we know we are wasting time and we wish we could get out of them. Not so with pleasurable time wasters. These are the things that we willingly and openly pursue. We know they are time wasters, and yet we still pursue them. Why? Because they are fun! They are pleasurable. We enjoy them, and that keeps us from disciplining ourselves to work on our priorities. It is much like the person who wants to lose weight yet keeps eating dessert night after night—they do it because it tastes so good.

As you think about time wasters, think about which ones are urgent and which ones are pleasurable for you. Work to get so far ahead in your priorities that you virtually eliminate urgent matters that call your name. In regard to the pleasurable, this takes you being brutally honest with yourself. It takes the ability to admit to yourself that you are choosing what is fun rather than what is important.

Remember, you don’t have much time to waste in the first place. I realize now in the latter years of my life that time moves by quickly! Time is a very precious gift, and it’s one that we can and should take seriously because once that moment in time is spent, it can never be retrieved. Stay focused on the very important things you desire for your life. Stay focused on the things that will build your business and fulfill your life’s purpose. Stay focused on the things that will bring you a happy and joy-filled family life. Don’t waste your time on things that will quickly pass away and have relative unimportance.

Procrastination
Paul of Tarsus wrote, “The things I want to do, I do not do.” This is a problem as old as humanity itself. I am sure the wheel would have been invented and fire discovered much earlier if it weren’t for procrastination!

Humans have two incredible abilities: First, they are able to become crystal-clear about what it is they want. Second, they are able to completely put off pursuing it!

I believe there are a few primary things that cause people to procrastinate.

What drives procrastination?
Fear. In my opinion, this is the biggest source of procrastination. People procrastinate because they are afraid—afraid of failure or afraid of success. They are afraid they will do a poor job or of what others will think of them. I would encourage you to think about whether or not this is an issue for you. If so, do whatever it takes to deal with your fears and move past them.

Hard work. Some people procrastinate because they know doing the work will be hard. Many people have an aversion to hard work, so they procrastinate, putting it off indefinitely. Realize that being successful usually requires a lot of hard work. Sometimes it is physically exhausting, sometimes mentally or emotionally exhausting. But let me assure you of this: If you invest in the miracle of hard labor required to accomplish your goals, the rewards, the gifts and the feelings of increased self-esteem you will reap will far outweigh the pain of labor. At the end of your efforts, you will be able to smile with deep satisfaction knowing you have faithfully sowed and now you can joyfully reap—and reap without complaint or apology! What a powerful opportunity to invest in the labor that creates miracles.

Lack of passion. Some people procrastinate because deep down they aren’t really passionate about what it is they should be doing. It isn’t really a priority for them or for their life, even if they have said it is. If this is the case, go back to the drawing board and get really clear about your priorities and values; then have the courage to pursue and live them out.

An inability to motivate themselves. Some people procrastinate because they do not know how to get themselves going internally. They wait until something externally moves them. You’ve heard me give the example of the guy who says, “I wish someone would come by and turn me on and get me motivated.” Well, what if they don’t show up? You’ve got to have a better plan than that. You’ve got to be self-motivated because, ultimately, that is the best motivation. Now, everyone is motivated differently, so it’s your job to figure out what it is that really motivates you and then do what it takes to get and stay that way.

Time wasters and procrastination are the roadblocks that will keep you from reaching your goals. This week, work to become aware of the things you waste your time on and what drives your procrastination. As you come to realize these things, as you become fully aware, you will be better equipped to overcome them.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

-Nick James

Supplemental Notes

The Top Three Time Wasters

1. Television. Yes, the old one-eyed monster. Think about how much TV you watch. Go through each day, from Sunday to Saturday. For example, Sunday: one hour watching Meet the Press, three hours for football. Monday: half-hour morning show, one hour news, half-hour sitcom, etc. Add it up. Be honest! The average amount of television watched per week by “busy professional people who don’t watch much TV”? Twenty hours!

Now, think about this: That is more than 1,000 hours a year—or 25 full workweeks! What could you accomplish if you had an extra 25 workweeks a year?

So, how can you overcome this time waster? Here are a few ideas:

– Get rid of the TV. At the very least, cut back on your TV viewing.
– Be proactive and take control of how much you watch. Budget your time.
– Cut some shows out (most shows can be cut out and your life won’t suffer!).
– Using DVRs for recording the shows you want to watch is great because they allow you to watch the program but skip the commercials.

2. Telephone calls. The phone can be the “great interrupter.” There is this very weird, almost magical effect that a ringing phone has: Many of us are like preprogrammed zombies; we “must” answer it. Try something the next time you have someone in your office and the phone rings. Just keep talking as though you don’t hear it. Watch the person you are with nervously look over at the phone and then back at you before finally asking, “Do you want to answer that?” Even though it would take away from them, they expect you to answer the phone!

The fact is that you do not have to answer a ringing phone. Especially with voice mail, you can let the phone ring through and schedule a time at regular intervals to return important calls (one side benefit is you will be amazed at how much time you save by not having to work your way off the phone with unsolicited sales calls).

How can you avoid wasting time on the phone? Here are a few ideas:

– Don’t always answer it. Enough said.
– Schedule your calls into time frames. Make all of your calls during regularly scheduled times. This will keep you from “spur of the moment” calls that distract you.
– Know before you call what you want to talk about, talk about it, and then get off the phone. When you call someone, say, “Hi there, I wanted to talk to you about XYZ.” Then talk about it. When you are done, say, “Well, I know you are busy and I have some things to get done, too, so I’ll let you go.” Bingo—you’re off the phone!

3. E-mail. E-mail is the new phone—except much worse. Why? A few reasons. Some of it is spam, but the main reason is because people can’t type as fast as they can talk. When someone writes an e-mail that will take a long response, either call them or write an e-mail that says, “Call me. It would be better to talk about this.” Another reason is the volume of e-mail we receive. Add to that the forwarded jokes from your aunt in Omaha. Just sorting through this takes time. By the way, the best way to get off Aunt Margaret’s e-mail list is to politely ask. Just tell her that you are trying to cut down on e-mail and ask if she will take you off the list. It works!

Some ideas for reducing email time wasting:

 Overcome your fear. We have made a great point about fear. Much procrastination results because we fear things. A lot in life can be accomplished as we dig deep into who we are and what drives us. Do you have fears that cause you to procrastinate? Do some internal work and find out what you are really afraid of—then face that fear. Get some help from a coach or counselor if you need it.

2. Get motivated. Motivation is something we have to work at. Read books, listen to tapes, go to seminars, and hang out with exciting people. Do whatever you can to stay motivated. It is much easier to get down to business when you are motivated than when you aren’t.

3. Just start. Just start doing what you said you need to do. Tell yourself you are going to just do 10 minutes and then you’ll quit. What often happens, though, is that you don’t quit. Much of the problem with procrastination is just starting. So get started!

Creating A Proactive Schedule

Time Management, Part Two—Creating a Proactive Schedule

I hope in the past week you were able to begin clarifying your core priorities and values, as well as the exact reasons why you want to be diligent in managing your time.

Here is what we are covering this month under the topic of Time Management:

1. Developing a Philosophy of Time Management—Establishing your priorities and values. As important as how to manage our time is first and foremost the why, since the why is the force that pulls us toward our dreams and determines the how. First we’ll look at the philosophy of time management and then determine our priorities based on the values we believe in and hold in the highest. Last week, we discussed these things in depth.

2. Creating a Proactive Schedule—Allocating time based on your unique priorities and values. Once you know why you are managing your time and the priorities and values you strive for, then it is important to understand where you currently spend your time and how to strategically budget for maximum performance. You see, something will always master and something will always serve. Either you run the day or it runs you. Today, we will look deeper into this aspect of time management.

3. Breaking Through Barriers—Eliminating time wasters and overcoming procrastination. Many folks know what to do, but it is often the things we shouldn’t spend our time on that get us off track. It’s important that we not mistake movement for achievement. It’s easy to get tricked by being busy, but the key question is: Busy doing what? Next week, we will look at how to overcome procrastination and eliminate time wasters.

4. How to Gain More Time—We’ll talk about time-management pointers and how to reclaim one to two hours a day through delegating, skill improvement, multitasking and improved focus. These are things anyone can do to gain more time in their day. Yes, there are only 24 hours in each day, but we can maximize those hours by working “smarter” rather than longer, and employing other skills along with our time management. We will look at these ideas in two weeks.

This week I want to get down to the basic nuts and bolts of time management. I want to discuss how to proactively schedule your time and allocate it based on your priorities and values.

Once you have determined what your priorities and values are—what is most important to you—you will want to take a hard look at where you actually spend your time.

Essentially, this consists of two basic processes. First, we want to take a look at where our time is currently being spent—an “inventory,” if you like. It is always wise to start from wherever we are and with whatever we’ve got. From there, we’ll want to begin setting our schedule according to our priorities. This could be called “budgeting.”

A financial model may be best for us to review in order to help us understand how to go about this. Most of us are familiar with analyzing our finances. The first thing we do is track where our current spending is and then we write and begin adhering to a budget. This is extremely effective if you are disciplined enough to follow through, and the same principles work quite well when we look at our time management. The process is so simple, yet so very powerful.

Time Inventory
Have you ever truly looked at where you are spending your time? I mean virtually minute by minute? This is the first order of business because I am sure you will be surprised.

A time inventory is done by taking a small journal, calendar or notebook and writing down everything you do during the day. I recommend doing this for at least three or four days, but it really is most effective when done for a week or two, since there are some things we might only do once a week.

Begin tracking what you spend your time on. Write down everything. If you spend 10 minutes on the phone, write it down. If you sleep for eight hours, write it down. If you eat lunch for 45 minutes, write it down. If you commute 35 minutes each way, write it down. If you watch television for three hours, write it down.

Certainly even one day will begin to reveal some of your patterns. A basic day may show that you sleep for eight hours, eat for two and half hours, work for eight hours, drive for one and a half hours, talk on the phone for three hours, and watch television for three and a half hours, among other things, of course! Hopefully what you will begin to see is that you are spending the right amount of time on some things that fit with your priorities. You may realize you are neglecting other things, and certainly you will see there are things you are spending an inordinate amount of time that are opposed to your priorities.

After a few days or so of doing this, sit down and total up your “spending.” What does it look like? Where did your time all go? Are you happy with how you spent it? These things will become clear, because if you track it moment by moment, the numbers will not lie. I believe it is so important to make the distinction that time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you can’t get more time. Once spent, it’s gone. Assessing our time expenditures is the first step toward getting our “spending” under control, because it will show us that our memory of how we spent our time can often be a little foggy. It’s powerful when we understand, grasp and apply the principle of wisely budgeting our time.

Time Budgeting
Just as a person may realize that they have been spending $250 a month eating out when they really only want to spend $100 month, you can begin to set a “time budget” for yourself.

Now, I would suggest that budgeting be done once or twice a week, but some of you may need to do this every day, especially at the beginning of the process.

Let’s assume for a moment that you work a typical Monday through Friday workweek. You may want to sit down on Sunday evening and spend a half-hour going through your schedule for the upcoming week. Use this time to group your activities together as much as possible to maximize your time.

For example, you may want to assign one hour each day to answering phone calls or e-mail. Often, our days are interrupted and we work inefficiently, because as we work on something, the phone rings and we answer it, and then we have to try and pick our task back up (often right in the middle) and go back to work. This is very inefficient. It is better to have a set time to make and return your calls. Perhaps you need to schedule four half-hour slots a day. This is where knowing your own business comes into play, but the idea is to schedule your tasks so that you do them when it is best for you and your management of time.

You may budget five 45-minute lunches during the week. Well, if by Friday you have spent your “budget” on lunches, perhaps you will have to skip one to keep yourself on budget. Just as you would stop spending money if you were to reach your financial budget, this same principle will help you with your time.

Now apply this to all of your activities throughout the week. Again, you might need to do this each morning, and that is OK—tailor it to whatever works best for you.

The key is to set these time budgets according to your priorities. By putting actual time frames into your calendar, you place your true priorities at the forefront of your schedule, allowing them to drive your activities, instead of just doing whatever urgent matter is at hand.

Time management takes discipline because at times you will have three hours scheduled for some important project and something else will be screaming for your attention. Often it will seem to either be more “urgent” or more fun. Either way, you will need to have the inner fortitude to say no and follow your time budget. The key here is to not allow the “winds” of the urgent blow you off course and prevent you from accomplishing your established priorities. Use your schedule—or time budget—as a rudder to guide you through your day and help you reach your goals.

The idea here is to be proactive in the use of your time. Too many people take what comes to them rather than proactively pursuing their chosen priorities. Budgeting your time will help you immensely in achieving the success you desire!

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

N.J.W Blog

Time Management(Core)

This month we will focus on the important topic of time management. As we discuss in today’s edition, effective use of time management is usually a result of identifying your priorities and values and then working from those priorities. We would also add that identifying the need to establish these priorities is often borne out of necessity—whether it is being a single mom or dad; having to overcome a major challenge or setback; or wanting to create as rich and full life as possible through relationships, health, philanthropy, etc.

To overcome certain obstacles or accomplish ambitious goals, the effective use of time management is a necessity. Look around for examples of people who have the successes you desire; they seem to have relationships you would like to have, the health you desire, the business success you want. Decide which skills you need to attain and the disciplines you need to engage in to reach that same level of success. Then, budget those into the new possibilities of time you will begin to “create” as you follow through this month on what N.J.W has for you.

I’m excited about our topic of Time Management. You’ve heard me say it before, but the management of time is the best-kept secret of the rich. So here is what we will cover this month:

1. Developing a Philosophy of Time Management—Establishing your priorities and values. As important as how to manage our time is first and foremost the why, since the why is the force that pulls us toward our dreams and determines the how. First we’ll look at the philosophy of time management and then determine our priorities based on the values we believe in and hold in the highest. We will discuss these things more in depth later on in this edition.

2. Creating a Proactive Schedule—Allocating time based on your unique priorities and values. Once you know why you are managing your time and the priorities and values you strive for, then it is important to understand where you currently spend your time and how to strategically budget for maximum performance. You see, something will always master and something will always serve. Either you run the day or it runs you. Next week we will look deeper into this aspect of time management.

3. Breaking Through Barriers—Eliminating time wasters and overcoming procrastination. Many folks know what to do, but it is often the things we shouldn’t spend our time on that get us off track. It’s important that we not mistake movement for achievement. It’s easy to get tricked by being busy, but the key question is: Busy doing what? In two weeks, we will look at how to overcome procrastination and eliminate time wasters.

4. How to Gain More Time—We’ll talk about time-management pointers and how to reclaim one to two hours a day through delegating, skill improvement, multitasking and improved focus. These are things anyone can do to gain more time in their day. Yes, there are only 24 hours in each day, but we can maximize those hours by working “smarter” rather than longer, and employing other skills along with our time management. We will look at these ideas in three weeks.

This month is going to be an exciting one because time management is such a powerful issue. When a person masters time management, look out because they will have transformed their daily life into a powerful force for achievement.

When a person learns why they should manage their time and finds those compelling reasons that drive them forward, it is only a matter of time until they achieve everything they set their mind to. When they live out their priorities and values; when they know where their time has been going and where they want it to go; when they eliminate things that hold them back, wow, they are on the road to massive accomplishment.

So let’s look at some of the whys of time management. We all know the value of doing the important things first and leaving the unimportant things for some other time, and essentially we know how to do it, but we often lack—or at least are unaware of them—compelling reasons as to why we should manage our time. Let me give you an example. Imagine you are a smoker. You already know what it takes to quit, but you don’t have enough of a reason to quit. But then you find out you’re going to have your first child, and now, all of a sudden, you have a reason (or maybe even two). You want to live as long as you can to see your baby grow up, and you also want to make sure your secondhand smoke doesn’t affect the health of your new child. So you quit because you finally have a strong enough reason.

Now, what about time management? Why take control of our lives and manage our time? Below are a few of the main compelling whys of time management.

The first is a deep appreciation for the idea of stewardship. Ultimately, our lives are not our own; we owe them to someone else. Think about our lives like a banker. The banker is a steward of someone else’s money. The money in the bank is not his. In fact, money is entrusted to him to invest. I view time management in much the same way. I am given my life and entrusted to manage it wisely with all of the skill, discipline and responsibility that I can. I believe time is our most valuable asset, and yet, so often, we tend to waste it, kill it and spend it rather than invest it. But when my life is over, I will hand back whatever I have made of it because, ultimately, I am a steward of the life given to me. This philosophy drives me to invest my life wisely and to manage my time.

Managing my time allows me to spend more time with those people important to me, and I love having that option. Managing my time well and taking care of my work while I am at work gives me the freedom to spend time with those I want. Too many times, people get “stuck” at work because they simply haven’t managed their time well and end up paying the price by having to sacrifice time with their family.

So often I hear people complain about their lack of time and what they have not been able to accomplish; they are living lives of frustration. That isn’t very enjoyable, is it? What compels me to be disciplined in my time management is understanding that if I manage my time according to my priorities, then my result will not be frustration, but fulfillment, and ultimately that is exactly what we all want to experience, isn’t it? Now, let me give you a key phrase: Recognize that managing time will bring personal fulfillment and allow you to accomplish what you desire. But a word of warning here as well: Days are expensive. When you spend a day, you have one less day to spend, so make sure you spend each one wisely.

Stewardship, people and fulfillment are three very powerful reasons to manage your time. Give some thought to these this week.

Now, let’s talk a little about priorities and values.

What are priorities? The dictionary defines a priority as precedence, especially established by order of importance or urgency. Priorities are the things or activities you give the utmost importance, things done because of their inherent value. If you think about it, the root of the word is prior. Priorities are those things that come prior to or before, or, better put, first. Time management then is basically priority management. It is the act of determining what is important, and then living out your life or work in a manner that will help you fulfill your priorities.

What are your values? Simply put, they are those things you value or have value for you; they are the important things. It is wise to decide what is major and what is minor on your importance scale and then learn how to separate the majors from the minors. You’ve heard me say it in my seminars, but a lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things. Don’t allow yourself to fall into this trap and waste time on things that are not of value to you. Instead, invest in things that will bring you pleasure, joy and fulfillment.

So how do we make sure we live out our priorities? Here is a very simple, yet powerful, way to get started and to move forward with your priorities.

First, you must know what your priorities are. If you haven’t already, stop and take a few minutes to list them in the workbook. This list should include your priorities in all areas of your life.

Second, group them into areas. For example, work, family, hobbies, health, etc.

Third, under each category, put them into order of importance, from most important to least important.

Fourth, stay tuned next week, when we’ll specifically talk about how to look at the time you currently spend and how to take these priorities and put them into a fully functional schedule that will empower you to live them out. (Here’s a preview: Begin to spend the majority of your time on those things that are at the top of each of your priority lists. Do them first and leave things that are less important for later. Focus your time on those priorities you have established.)

Basically, this is the idea of a simple priority task list. Figure out what is important, put them in order, start with the most important, and move down the list—simple but powerfully profound.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

N.J.W Blog