Send The Memo

We live in interesting times. Election moments are crazy. Policy issues are being debated that can decide the fate of many nations. Great Britain just voted itself out of the EU…

If you’re an advisor of any kind (whether financial advisor, coach, consultant, analyst, etc.,) right now is a great time to, you know… advise people. Reach out. Send an email or a short standard letter if your clients would appreciate that approach. Do you have an email contact list of people who receive newsletters from you? Take a minute when BIG things happen that make people wonder “what’s going to happen next” and write out your thoughts. Combine the insights you pull from your own wisdom and experience with the views of your favorite research and analytical professionals and get the word out.

This is the time when your clients would love to be able to literally read your mind. Be a communicator.

Send the memo.

Have a plan and work your plan

“Have a plan and work your plan.” I first heard those words from a manager at Merrill Lynch in 1996. Following that advice, I stayed in the investment services game for three years, beating the statistic that there is an 80% failure rate in the first two years. Continuing to follow that advice, I moved out of the financial services game after three years to pursue my life’s work as an executive coach and kung fu teacher. “My plan” was never to spend my life in the investment services industry, but it was a great place to learn, grow, and develop for a few years.

I’ve learned over time that there are many ways to plan for the use of our time and many ways to go about working the plan. Time blocking has always worked best for me. I block time for a category of activities like handling admin or making sales calls and then, during that time block, I only do those activities. At least that’s the plan.

But, how much time do I put in each block?  The answer: It depends. It depends on the overall needs of my business and, to a certain extent, on what I feel particularly inspired to do. There has to be an element of discipline involved or it’s just impulse power driving the ship. Putting at least a small chunk of time into the activities I’m not inspired to deal with keeps me moving in the right direction and connected to those projects I’d rather avoid completely.

Today’s time blocking model: I have my concept of an ideal day and I’m cycling through those blocks in 20 minute chunks. Here’s the list: Early Training, Writing, Garage/Clutter Clearing, Language (studying Mandarin), Admin, Coaching, Midday Training, Lunch/Nap, Sales Follow Up, Reading, Marketing, Teaching Kung Fu, and Family Time. That’s a lot of activities in the course of the day, but that’s what I need to stay in balance RIGHT NOW. It’s not a perfect 20-minute-per-activity cycle, but most of it can work pretty well on that plan. I could just as easily give an hour to this, 20 minutes to that, and two hours to another thing, but I just didn’t feel like being that crafty with the plan of the day today.

The important thing is to be in motion, knocking down high reward activities throughout the day rather than chasing down barking dogs. Barking dogs are what I call all the time stealers like constant email conversations, excessive video games, and surfing to the end of the internet and back. Have you noticed how many time thieves are disguised as technological advancements today? I’ll admit that I love them all. I just try to manage how much and how often I partake of the bits and bytes of techno-fun on my way to handling substantial activities in the world.

That’s it for this blog entry… My 20 minutes of writing time just expired. Go forth and do great things!

Connect

Question on Facebook:
How do you find peace when you are scared: do you have a mantra, prayer, process, technique? Please share…

My response:
Physically: connect to your breathing and focus on the sensation of air coming in and going out. Relax your body and release tension. Keep it simple. Mentally: connect with the present moment. The thing you fear is in the future and has not come to pass. Spiritually: connect with gratitude in the knowledge that everything that happens is ultimately the best possible thing that can happen for you whether you can perceive the benefit immediately or not.

The key word in all of this is “connect.”  Be still. And, know that you are whole.

Choose great teachers and LISTEN

 The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
The surest way to learn something valuable is through a great teacher.

Once you’ve found a teacher
— And he’s agreed to teach you —
LISTEN.

Learn to ask questions without questioning the teacher.
Set aside what you’ve learned before and listen with the mind of a beginner.

Why should he teach you if you already know everything?
Or if you do nothing with what he gives you?

Be aware of your values…

BE AWARE OF YOUR VALUES – THEY DRIVE YOUR DECISIONS…

“When the values are clear, the decisions are easy.”
– Roy Disney

Whatever we hold most dear becomes a magnet that pulls us forward into our decisions.

Do you value Creativity and Possibility?
Decisiveness and Assertiveness?
Courtesy? Harmony? Conviction? Duty?
Learning? Productivity?
Exploration?

Know what you value.
Let others know what you value.

How easy do you want decision making to be?

What’s next?

I love my job.  I just finished a coaching call with a client of mine (he’s a wealth manager handling tax and investment matters) who has made a profound shift in his life.  He shared with me a story about approaching a very significant investor to invite the client to come and talk with him about his retirement portfolio.  My client was very happy with himself for doing that and it was something he expected to do more often in the future.

I asked my client what shift he had made that had allowed him to do that.  He struggled with the labeling on that shift.  Sometimes it can be difficult to put our fingers on what exactly has changed in our awareness or in our mental makeup that has enabled a new way of being for ourselves.  Doing so and giving that shift a name can help it stick and make it more lasting.  He talked me through what was different and the response was rather lengthy.  In essence, he was thinking out loud.  The description was wordy and useful in terms of processing for him, but it didn’t create clarity for either of us.  Finally, I asked him to put it in a nutshell of 8 words or less to define the shift.  His answer:  “I’m not judging myself anymore.”

What a relief that was!  Once he said that, there was the kind of giddy laughter that comes from a huge release of pressure.  The man was experiencing a new sense of freedom and I was thrilled to be there to see it happen.  What’s next for him, I wonder?  He plans to follow up on opportunities much more than he ever has.  I suspect that will only be the beginning point to what happens for him as a result of this new shift of not judging himself anymore.

So, I wonder…  What has happened for you when you’ve let go of judging yourself?  And, if judgment still has a strong hold on your life, what do you think might happen for you if you were to stop judging yourself?

What’s next?