Thought For The Day

“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”
Ambrose Bierce



Plagued by Procrastination?

Author Susan Orlean once said, “I think of myself as something of a connoisseur of procrastination, creative and dogged in my approach to not getting things done."[1]  While this is a humorous way to look at it, unfortunately procrastination can have a very real and detrimental effect on those who suffer from it.

Statistics show that 40% of people have experienced financial loss as a result of procrastination.  Worse still, about 20% of people procrastinate so badly that it’s said to jeopardize their health, credit, jobs, and relationships.[2]  If you’re trying to overcome your tendency to procrastinate, here are some ideas:

  • Change your Mindset.  One of the main reasons that people procrastinate is because they dread the thought of doing a specific task.  They might tell themselves things like, “I really don’t want to clean my work space,” “I hate cleaning my work room,” “It’s going to take forever,” etc.  However, this is a pattern of thought that can be changed.  Instead, you might try telling yourself things like, “Cleaning my work room probably will take far less time than I imagine,” “I’ll bet that it’s easier than I think,” and “I’ll be so much happier once I’m relaxing in my clean room.”  By viewing the task from a more optimistic perspective, you’ll find it far easier to address it promptly.

  • Tackle Your Task in Chunks.  If you have an odious chore to complete, give yourself a time limit for how long you’ll spend working on it.  In our previous example, you might say to yourself, “I’ll clean my room for 30 minutes.”  Then, set a timer and once it goes off, you’re off the hook.  Oftentimes you’ll find that once you get started on your task, you’ll be happy to work until completion, even if it takes longer than 30 minutes.

  • Reward Yourself.  One way to overcome your tendency to procrastinate is to reward yourself for completing those tasks that you’ve been dreading.  Tell yourself, for example, that once you get the job done, you’ll allow yourself to catch up on a favorite TV show, read a book, or enjoy a latte.  Incentives like these can be excellent motivators!

Thought For The Day

“We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end.”
Blaise Pascal



5 Tactics for Becoming More Persuasive

The art of persuasion is an important one.  Just think about it—from salary negotiations to divvying up chores at home, the ability to persuade others is a useful skill that can benefit you in a number of different scenarios.  Want to improve at it? Just follow these tips:

  • Pick Your Battles.  Have you ever come across someone who would argue about anything?  People who are aggressive and pushy tend to put others on the defensive.  When you save your power of persuasion for only those topics that truly matter to you, your position will be given greater merit.

  • Listen.  While this advice seems counterintuitive, persuasive people spend time listening to the objections that others have.  When you’re a receptive listener, people relax in your presence, making them more open to what you have to say.

  • Ask the Right Questions.  Psychology Today recommends that you ask open-ended how and why questions (“How do you feel about x?” “Why do you feel that way?”) so you can listen and empathize.  By learning what’s important to the people you’re trying to persuade—and then responding to that—you’ll be much better equipped to sway others to your point of view.

  • Prepare.  The most persuasive people are prepared.  Think, for example, of salary negotiations.  A convincing appeal might mention the average salary range for the position you’ve been hired for, how your education/experience places you at the higher end of that range, and hard numbers (“I implemented production changes at my last company that saved them over $500,000.  I can implement similar changes at your organization that will result in significant savings, making my asking salary of $75,000 extremely reasonable.”)  Having the facts at hand will make your persuasion tactics more successful.

  • Communicate Effectively.  Persuasive people are great at verbal communication.  If this is an area where you feel you’re lacking, consider taking a public speaking course or joining an organization like Toastmasters.  The more effectively you can communicate, the better the likelihood that your arguments will persuade others.

Entrepreneurial Takeaways from Shark Tank (Part 2 of 2)

As mentioned in our earlier post for this series, we know that sometimes the waters are rough for entrepreneurs.  To more peacefully navigate them, we’ve compiled some key lessons for business owners from the hit show, Shark Tank:

Have a Strategy.  It’s important to have strategic direction for your company—essentially, a vision of where you would like your company to go.  We’ve seen the consequences of lacking direction play out in 2 ways detrimental to the entrepreneurs on Shark Tank.  First, there are the entrepreneurs who go into the tank, don’t have a clear idea of who they want to work with, and are stymied by indecision when faced with comparable offers from multiple sharks.

Then, there are those business owners who throw their hands up and don’t really know the next step for their company; oftentimes, they have a lot of ideas but are overwhelmed by the thought of taking the company to the next level on their own.  Basically, they seem to be looking for a shark to throw them a lifeline.  By thinking about your goal—to be the number 1 retailer of widgets, for example—strategy becomes apparent.  In the case of widgets, for example, you might ask yourself which steps someone would need to take to become the number 1 retailer of widgets.  This type of reverse engineering can be a very successful way of developing your strategy.

Create a Great Pitch.  At any moment, you should be able to sell yourself and your company.  In fact, shark Mark Cuban says in his book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, that selling is one of the most important skills that an entrepreneur can have.[1]  Create an elevator pitch and practice it frequently.  The more comfortable you feel giving it, the more impactful it will be.

Learn from Your Failures.  Many people don’t receive an offer on Shark Tank.  Those entrepreneurs typically handle rejection in one of two ways.  There are some who remain determined but vow to address some of the issues that were raised by the sharks, deeming the advice to be invaluable.  Those people have a great chance of making it.

The remaining entrepreneurs will categorically dismiss all of the feedback that they received from the sharks by saying things like, “They don’t really understand the market,” or “They weren’t able to see how great my product is.”  These are the individuals who stand a greater likelihood of failing.  If you receive critical feedback, consider the source and evaluate whether there is something to be gleaned from the advice that you’re getting.  This can be an opportunity for tremendous growth.