My top two game-changing questions

I was recently asked the following question and it really knocked me for six. First of all, I struggled to come up with an answer and it really made me face reality whilst at the same time encouraging me to express my dreams and vision:

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

This question, originally created and posed by business empowerment guru Robin Sharma, is a game-changer.
Why?
Well, as a business owner I have had my fair share of scary moments (recession anyone?) and I believe that fear of failure is something that every serious entrepreneur has grappled with at some time or other. This question helps you to take a step back for a moment, forget the fear, and re-assess if you’re really doing what you want to be doing. I suggest you apply it to every new business strategy you devise, every new product idea you have, and to the bigger picture itself. Asking myself this question gave me the opportunity to re-evaluate my current course and look at my dreams and what I really want from my business (and from life). It was one of those aha moments. After all: knowing what you really want is the first step to getting it.

The second question is for your customers and clients and was penned by the late, great Stephen Covey:

What would it take to make it a ten?

How to use this question:
When collecting feedback after providing a service or a product, ask your clients how they would rate the experience or product out of ten. Then ask the above question and you should get some precise, important feedback as to what might still be missing and what you can improve. Look for patterns and act on them.
However a closing word of caution if using this question across cultures: I mostly work with German people and I have often had the pleasure of hearing “I’ll give you a nine, because I never give out tens on principle”. Kind of ruins it. Nevertheless I think it’s a great question and I will continue to ask it.
Hope the questions work for you,
Til the next time!
Louise

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Looking after the rocks first … or mindful priority-setting

The following story is one that’s been circulating for a while. It holds a very important message regarding setting priorities in our lives – whether we are business owners or not:
A professor of philosophy stood before his class with some items in front of him. When the class began, he picked up a large glass jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about two inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was full.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and watched as the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The professor then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They laughed and agreed that it was indeed full this time.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled the remaining open areas of the jar. “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar signifies your life. The rocks are the truly important things, such as family, health and relationships. If all else was lost and only the rocks remained, your life would still be meaningful. The pebbles are the other things that matter in your life, such as work or school. The sand signifies the remaining “small stuff” and material possessions.
If you put sand into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks or the pebbles. The same can be applied to your lives. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are truly important.

Take care of the rocks first – things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just pebbles and sand.

Even if this story is not new to you, let it trigger a reminder that the rocks really do matter. You can label the glass jar “My working day”, “My business” or “My life in general” and decide on the priorities (rocks) for each one. Just like Diane Keaton had a jar of white pebbles on her desk in the film “Something’s gotta give” (appropriately named film in this case!) you can even use a real jar and real stones as an ornamental and subtle reminder to make time for what really matters in life.

Source used for re-telling the pebble story with grateful thanks:
http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=264&page=2

My New Year mindset

First of all a very Happy New Year to you, loyal blog reader, and all the very best for the coming 12 months!

A lot is being written on the subject of resolutions and goals at the moment, as the beginning of a new year is always the perfect time to harness the dynamic of change. Now that the Christmas decorations have been put away, the last of the party food consumed and normal work begins again in earnest, we are all filled with good intentions to make 2014 our best year yet.

For a positive momentum this January, I would like to share some tips with you from one of my favourite gurus, Robin Sharma. For a successful start to 2014, Robin recommends the following points which I have summarized here:

1) Protect your mindset
Everything begins with belief. Believe you can make this your best year yet. Clean out all toxic influences that diminish your happiness such as unhealthy TV (e.g. watching depressing new stories last thing at night) and remove yourself from toxic people who don’t make you feel good about yourself, whilst surrounding yourself with excellent ones. Spend time on doing things that matter and elevate you.

2) Prepare to win the night before
Develop a nightly ritual of 30 minutes in which you plan your next day. Then, in your journal, write the top 3 lessons your day has taught you and then list 3 positive things that happened to you that day. End your day with gratitude.

3) Focus on your single biggest opportunity for the first 90 days.
Decide to focus on being great at one thing rather than just good at many for the first 3 months of this year.
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So, just as Louise Hay says “How you start your day is how you live your day”, I firmly believe that how you start your year also determines how things will go for you in the time to come, i.e. whether you are choosing to live by design or default.
I hope some of the above tips resonate with you. Have a wonderful 2014 and see you again soon.