Could a Trumpet Kill Complacency?

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In 5th grade I decided to join the elementary school band and play the trumpet. (Why the trumpet? They let us try all the instruments, but I couldn’t keep my cheeks from puffing out when I tried the trombone. Yup, that’s the kind of thought I put into my instrument of choice.)

In the first week of practice we had auditions. Out of 36 trumpets, I was 33rd chair. (Take that chair 34, 35, and 36!) Let’s just say I was not awesome at this.

All of that changed when our band director handed out the music. We were going to play the theme from Rocky! (Gonna Fly Now) This was in 1978. The movie had only come out two years earlier and I loved that song. And, the trumpets had an amazing part.

I took the sheet music home and started playing it. But I didn’t have the melody. I was playing boring low notes the whole time. I didn’t understand why. (I’ll explain in a minute.) I really didn’t sound very good. It was painful to listen to me.

My mom saw me struggling and got me private lessons. I had a really cool teacher who said my embouchure – the way my mouth was on the trumpet – was all wrong. He showed me what to do and sent me home.

I worked my butt off and the next week my teacher was stunned. He said my embouchure was now “super good” and we could start really learning how to play.

I practiced hard.

Three months later my band had auditions again. This time I jumped from 33rd chair to 3rd chair. I even beat out all but two of the 6th graders who had been playing a year longer than I had. Wow! All the hard practicing was really paying off.


“We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present-Edison”


Then, my director asked me to hand in all my music. I didn’t know what was happening. Had I done something wrong? Was I in trouble? Nope, she just wanted to give me the 1st part for every song. I didn’t understand. What did 1st part mean?

I was so new to music that I didn’t realize there were different parts depending on how good you were. The best players played 1st part melody. I had been playing 3rd part harmony. Now I was getting the 1st part for all our songs – and that included the first part to ROCKY!

I rode my bike home as fast as I could and started playing that song, imagining I was running up the steps in Philly. I was playing the melody. I sounded like the theme song! (Well, kinda. I sounded like the simplified 5th grade version of the song, but I was playing the MELODY!)

From there I fell in love with the trumpet and ramped up my practicing. In junior high I was in two bands, practiced in the marching band after school and spent at least another hour practicing at home each day.

In 8th grade I auditioned for the all county band and made 1st chair. That meant I was the best junior high trumpet player in all of Orange County, Florida (Orlando). I thought that was pretty cool.

In fact, I got a little cocky. I let my practice schedule slip. I didn’t work as hard on new songs. I didn’t ask my private teacher to push me as hard.

The next year, as a 9th grader I auditioned for the all county band again – and only made third chair. An 8th grader was second chair! How did I let this happen?

I realized that I had become complacent with my trumpet. I wasn’t looking for new songs and new challenges. I was resting on my accomplishments. While I was doing that, other people were working hard to get better. And they passed me by.

How many of us have done that in some part of our life or work?

Sometimes it’s because we get bored or tired. Other times it’s because we aren’t paying attention to the changes in our business or life. Still other times we aren’t looking for the ways to innovate and change to reach a new level of success.

If we want to fix that, we have to keep looking for the next Rocky Theme Song that gets us excited. That’s what helps drive us to put in the hard work it takes to become the best version of ourselves we can.

Question for comment:

What’s your next Rocky? What’s gonna make you fly now?

Are you searching for your Passionate Purpose? Start with my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

Why you should WANT to be UNcomfortable

I like being comfortable, don’t you? Comfy chair, comfy car, comfy job, comfy relationships, comfy routine – who doesn’t like comfy? But what if your comfort level is stopping you from becoming great? What if it’s stopping you from doing great things?

Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – right? Well, if you feel like comfy is “good enough,” then you’re done.

But doesn’t that mean you’ve stopped improving? Isn’t it fun to keep working at making everything better?

Doesn’t being comfy mean you won’t try, learn, and do new things? Could it even stop you from doing what you were born to do?

I’m reading, How Champions Think, by sports psychologist Bob Rotella. He’s worked with some of the biggest names in sports and business and he found that the people who achieve greatness don’t allow themselves to be comfortable.

“In sports and business, if you’re not aspiring to dominate, to be the very best, you’re coasting. And you can only coast in one direction.”
— Bob Rotella

The clients Bob likes to work with are the ones who say they want to be #1 in their field or the best golfer in the world. He doesn’t get too excited when a client says, I just want to get by, or, I just want to make the team.

The great ones start with big dreams and big goals, develop a process to reach them, and they put in the work to get it done.

“Going after big ideas takes sweat. It takes persistence, patience, and a bedrock belief in yourself. Not everyone will do it. That’s why we call it trying to be exceptional.”
— Bob Rotella

What might you miss out on because you’re comfy the way things are?

What could your career be like?

What could your marriage become?

What kind of life could you create?

What could you do for God?

How could you impact your family?

How many people could you help?

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Have you ever gotten too comfortable and then regretted what you might have done? I know I have. I could have put more effort into basketball and gotten more playing time. I could’ve become a starter and even played in college. But I got comfortable, created excuses – I was too short, too slow, the coach didn’t want to play me – and I regret it to this day.

If we get too comfy with the way things are, we will never know what might have been. It’s really your decision, and neither choice is “wrong.”

Are you comfy and done trying to make things better? That can be a fine life. (But it could also lead you to look back and wonder what might have been.)

Or, are you comfy but willing to keep improving things for you and those you care about? What kind of extraordinary life could you create?

Which do you choose?

Questions for comments:

When did you get comfortable and it hurt you?

When did you step outside your comfort and it helped you?

Are you searching for your Passionate Purpose? Start with my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

How to Motivate Yourself to Accomplish a Great Goal

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We’ve all had great ideas that we never acted upon. We get caught up. Life happens. What might have been? What could still be?

What if you decide you have to do this (not that you just want to) and you take action right away?

What if you set a must complete by date for it? (I don’t like deadlines. Who wants to die?) Then, work out what you have to do each day in order to get it done by that date?

Instead of letting another week, month, or year go by dreaming about it, what if you created positive pressure on yourself to get it done?

Maybe you could create a situation that brings out the best in you. Kind of like what happened to my friend, Mike Montague.

Mike had an outline for a book about how to really make LinkedIn work for you – not just how to set up your profile and endorse people. He pitched the idea to his boss.

His boss was concerned LinkedIn might not want Mike to use its name in the title and on the cover of the book.

Good News: LinkedIn said it was looking for someone to write exactly what Mike was working on. The company gave permission for its name and logo to be used. The book was a go.

Bad News: Mike’s company and LinkedIn wanted the book done in six weeks. Mike hadn’t actually started writing the book. He had only written the outline.

More Bad News: If Mike didn’t get it done in six weeks, he would not look good. It would hurt his credibility and his career.

Good News: The must complete date was now set for him – six weeks. The fear of not getting it done was a huge motivation for Mike to get crack-a-lackin!

Of course, Mike got it written in time. It’s amazing what you can do when you are seriously motivated and you have a must complete date. (You can download LinkedIn The Sandler Way for free by clicking here.)

Why wait for life to create a must complete date for your next great idea?

Why not set up positive pressure on yourself by setting your own date? Why not focus on all the positives that will come with it and all the positive feelings and enjoyment you will get from the moment you start the process of achieving your goal? Why not announce it publicly and get friends to hold you accountable? Why not start now?

Action steps – The next time you get an idea:

1) Take action immediately to get it started.

2) Set a must complete by date.

3) Set up what you must do each day in order to meet that date.

4) Announce it publicly and get an accountability partner to check your progress each week.

5) When you win, pop open a Doritos bag, a cold one of your choice and celebrate! (Um, maybe the Doritos thing is just for me. Sorry.)

Questions for comments: What great idea have you failed to act upon? Why not do it now? When did you use positive pressure on yourself to meet a goal? How did it work?

Are you searching for your Passionate Purpose? Start with my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

How to Overcome FEAR

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What do you have planned right now (this week, month, year, life) that scares you? If your answer is “nothing,” then maybe your dreams aren’t big enough.

Going for something you really want can be scary. But, have you ever noticed that once you do that “scary” thing it loses its power over you?

When I was a little kid, the pool my mom took me to had a HUGE slide. (Well, it seemed like a huge slide to me. I was really little.) I desperately wanted to go down that slide. I had dreams of going down that slide. I was also petrified of going down that slide.

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I would climb up to the top only to get scared and climb the ladder back down again. It was embarrassing and I was so angry with myself for letting my fear stop me from what I knew would be the best ride of my life! (I hadn’t lived much, yet.)

One day I decided I was going down that slide. I got to the top, looked down and was terrified. But then something changed. I decided that climbing back down the ladder and admitting to myself, and all the other kids, that I was afraid was worse than facing my fear and riding down.

I sat down at the top and let go.

It

Was

AWESOME!

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It wasn’t scary anymore. It was exciting. Is that what I was afraid of? I was literally laughing out loud at the idea.

Going down the slide took away its power to scare me.

Once I had done it – and survived with no injuries – I couldn’t wait to do it again. I rode the slide all day until my mom said it was time to go.

Every time I come up against something that scares me now, I think back on that glorious day when I conquered the slide.

What slide are you sitting at the top of wondering if you’re brave enough to take the plunge?

You are.

Once you do it, you’ll wonder why you waited so long. You’ll wonder what you were afraid of.

Let’s GO!

Are you searching for your Passionate Purpose? Start with my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

Success is spelled L-O-V-E?

Yes, you have to hear this interview

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How many times have you seen the stereotype of the “successful” businessman being someone who is greedy, mean, cheating his customers, mistreating his employees portrayed in movies and TV shows? Countless, right? You’ve seen and heard it so much, that maybe a part of you starts to believe it. But what if the stereotype is totally wrong?

What if the way to success in your business, and every part of your life, is LOVE?

Ok, Greg, let’s not get all sappy here. Business requires hard work and hard deals and “LOVE” can really get in the way and hurt your bottom line.

If you think that way, or if you’re just not sure how to use LOVE to enjoy your work and life more AND make more money while doing it, then I urge you to listen to the interview I did with Steve Farber.

Steve has written the new book, Love is Just Damned Good Business. Here’s the interview:

Here are the show notes:

Episode 012: Greg interviews Steve Farber on his book, Love Is Just Damn Good Business

In this episode:

You CAN show love in business AND be successful
In fact, showing love the right way is GREAT for your business
If you love your customers, how would you show that?
Three categories of people and how they think about love and business
The radical LEAP for you business: L=love, E=energy, A=audacity, P=Proof
Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do
How LOVE gets your customer to stay with you no matter what
How to set up this culture if you own the business or are in charge
Real life examples of how this works in business
Changing the culture and using love to grow your business takes time, but it’s worth it
How to measure the ROI for love in your business
How to lead if you don’t own the business
You can’t fake the love for the results you want
Be authentic

Email me with questions you want me to cover on the podcast and any comments you have at greg@gregorybknapp.com

Call and leave a voicemail question or comment for me – I might put the audio right into the podcast.
904-373-6591

Book Greg to speak at your event, organization, or conference
http://gregorybknapp.com/my-speaking-page/

Get coached by Greg
http://gregorybknapp.com/coaching/

Steve Farber’s website
https://www.stevefarber.com/

Get Steve’s new book, Love Is Just Damn Good Business
https://www.stevefarber.com/books/love-is-just-damn-good-business/

Let’s GO!

Are you searching for your Passionate Purpose? Start with my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

How to Love Your Job

AND improve the whole company

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Are you disengaged at your job or are your employees? Gallup says between 60-70% of employees are. Why? Because the old ways of controlling people with salary, benefits, and threats of being fired don’t work. They certainly don’t get you the kind of team member you want.

What if there was something you could do that leads to more engagement, creativity, productivity, and yes – even happiness – for everyone in your organization? Research has proven there is.

The new trend is the desire for “Purpose” and it will soon be THE most important driver of employee AND customer engagement.  Research already shows that when people believe in the purpose of their company and their job they are more engaged, more loyal and much more willing to give extra effort, but recently this idea of purpose has become paramount in a growing group of employees and consumers.

It all starts with purpose. What is your company’s reason for being? What does it stand for? What difference does it want to make in the world? How does it change the lives of its customers, clients, and team members?

If this is sounding kind of touchy-feely to you, I get it. But, research from Gallup, Deloitte and others is proving that companies that have a strong sense of purpose have more engaged employees and evangelical customers. This is good for everyone, and your bottom line.

This requires a commitment from the CEO on down to the idea that purpose matters – that every job includes tasks, but every calling includes a passionate purpose.

The most important thing I learned  in grad school for my counseling psychology degree was from legendary family therapist, Virginia Satir. She said we need to look at every person we meet and imagine they have a sign around their neck that says, “I just want to count.” Every single human being on earth has that desire.

No one wants to go to work to be a cog in a machine, or just to punch a clock to get a paycheck, or just make widgets. Everyone wants to count, to make a difference, to live a life of purpose and meaning. If you can find that in your job and life and help other people find that as well, the sky is the limit.

When I started to see one of the purposes in my counseling job as letting people know they count, I knew I was making a difference in people’s lives.

When I was doing my daily radio show, I had signs up in the studio reminding me of my purpose. Talk to one person and make sure he knows he counts. Talk to him like the friend that he is. Entertain and inform him. Laugh with him. Lift him up. When I did that, everything else fell into place and I felt like I was doing what I was put on this earth to do. I did better radio. I was more creative, engaged, productive and happy!

When I use that philosophy in my coaching and podcasting it motivates and inspires people.

If you own a company, what is your purpose for your business? How will you make a difference with it? If you’re a team member, what is your purpose in your job? How does what you do serve that purpose? How do you get meaning out of it? If you look for it, you can find it in any job. The same goes for every part of your life. What is your purpose? How do you serve that purpose? It always leads to serving others as well.

Steve Jobs’ mission statement for Apple in 1980 was, “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.” He didn’t talk about computers, or phones, or tablets. He talked about his purpose – his WHY.

Are you just working a job and completing a task – or are you following a calling to be part of an important purpose bigger than yourself?

My mom worked at Disney World for 15 years. Do you know what the purpose of each person’s job at Disney is? To “spread happiness.” Wow. From the street sweeper, to the ticket taker, to the Characters, to the Princess actresses to the CEO. They all have different tasks, but they all have the same purpose. To spread happiness.

That’s how you count.

Here’s a simple exercise for everyone in your company. Imagine you are the customer. What are you hiring the company, product or service to do? If you were the customer, what would make a difference in your life? What would the company need to do to serve its purpose in your life? What would make you a loyal, evangelical customer? What beyond price? We don’t want to get into a price war. We want to over serve the customer to the point that price isn’t the primary motivator.

What is the purpose of each person that works for you?

What do they see as the higher purpose of their job, not just the task?

Does your purpose for your business inspire, elevate, and drive those who work with you?

Do you tell great purpose success stories that resonate with your customers and team members?

Are you providing ways for your customers, clients, and team members to tell their purpose stories so they feel even more connected and able to see how they are making a difference?

If I worked for you would my daily experience align with how I’m told my work serves the purpose of the business?

Are you leading by living out your purpose story in your daily work and not just paying lip service to it?

Whose life are you going to make a difference in today? How many moments of purpose will you experience today? How many might you miss because you don’t know what your purpose in this moment is?

Let’s GO!

Are you searching for your Passionate Purpose? Start with my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

 

How to use your self-talk to your advantage

 

We ask ourselves questions every day, and our brain always answers. Sometimes it’s consciously and sometimes it’s unconsciously, but it always answers. Are you asking the right questions and getting the right answers?

Have you ever asked yourself questions like these?

“Why does this always happen to me?”

“Why am I so stupid?”

If you realize how your emotions are controlling you, and stop to think logically, you know that nothing always happens to you and you aren’t stupid. You’re smart. But, if you ask yourself these questions, your brain will make up an answer. Do you really want to hear it?

So, you need to start with better questions like:

“What is my purpose?”

“What are my passions?”

“How can I start my own business?”

“What do people tell me I’m really good at?”

“What do I do when time seems to fly?”

“What can I do to serve people that will cause them to line up to give me their money?”

“What can I do to make a difference?”

“How can I have more freedom in my life?”

What are some questions you need to stop asking yourself? Write them down and then burn them.

What are some questions you need to start asking yourself? Write them down on post-it notes and put them on your mirror. Write them done on index cards and put them in your wallet. Read them every day and work on the answers.

When you ask yourself a question that really matters to you, here are three answers you should never give yourself:

1) “I don’t know.” The correct answer is, “I don’t know…yet, but I know how to find out.” Think about all the things in your business and life you didn’t use to know how to do. Not too long ago I had no idea how to write and publish a book, or how to create a blog, or how to simultaneously post on 3 social media sites, or create an automated email campaign. But, I learned how and you can learn anything you need to know.

It’s never been easier to find out how to do something. Type in “how to _____” into Google or YouTube and you have incredible information at your fingertips. From blogs, books, online courses, videos, podcasts, ebooks, and more, there is a way to find your answers.

2) “I can’t.” The correct answer is “I can figure out how to do it,” or “I can get someone else to do that for me,” or “I can do something similar instead.”

What good has “can’t” ever brought you?

3) “I don’t care.” You do care, or you wouldn’t consistently be asking yourself the same question. So why are you using that as your answer when you don’t mean it? Is it fear? Is it a belief that you can’t do it, so acting like you don’t care makes that easier to swallow? You need to figure that out so you can get to the answer you want.

Action Steps:

  1. Start asking yourself questions that will get you what you want. Write them down. Ask yourself these questions every day.
  2. When you get an answer that resonates with you, take action immediately.
  3. Don’t accept the answers: I don’t know. I can’t. I don’t care.

Let’s GO!

Are you searching for your Passionate Purpose? Start with my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

How to Have the Successful Mindset

And Episode 6 of my podcast is now up!

 

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A large part of how successful you are, or will become, is determined by how you think about yourself.

Do you think you can be successful? Do you think you’re smart enough, talented enough, or connected enough? Do you think you deserve to be successful? Do you think as if you’re an employee or as if you’re the owner?

Um, Greg, I am an employee, I’m not the owner.

Maybe…

But, if you want owner salary, benefits, and results – think like the owner.

How?

Have you heard of Richard Montañez? He was a Mexican immigrant who didn’t speak English well. He had trouble figuring out his purpose and dropped out of school. He was a janitor at a Frito-Lay plant in California.

One day he saw a video where the Frito-Lay CEO told all the employees that they should be thinking like owners of the business. They should be looking for ways to improve the company and make it more competitive. Richard took that to heart.

He liked spicy foods. One day, thinking like the owner, inspiration hit.

“I see the corn man adding butter, cheese and chile to the corn and thought, what if I add chile to a Cheeto?”

He went home and experimented. His friends and family loved the spicy Cheetos. Richard could have stopped right there, but he didn’t.

He kept thinking like an owner. He called the CEO and got an appointment to pitch the executives on his new product. He bought his first tie, got a marketing strategy book from the library, and went for it.

The CEO loved his concoction and “Flaming Hot Cheetos” were born.

Richard is now Executive VP, Multicultural Sales and Community Activation, for PepsiCo North America. He serves on several boards, has spoken at the United Nations and has even met presidents.

He says it’s all the result of his Ph.D. (poor, hungry and determined) and thinking like the owner.

It doesn’t matter what your title is or where you work, you really are your own boss. You get to decide if you work, where you work, what type of work you do, how to increase the value you provide, how and if you continue to grow, and where you’re going to work next. You get to decide to be happy or miserable, or to do something about how you feel.

Of course there are consequences to choices, but you get to make these choices. Don’t give your power to decide to someone else, circumstances, or society. If it feels like someone else is making these decisions for you, reclaim your power. Do what it takes to make the choices you want to make. Use your power to pursue your Passionate Purpose.

No matter where you work, or what you do, no one can stop you from thinking like the owner except you.

You may need to keep working somewhere that isn’t your ideal choice in order to pay the bills. That’s ok. While you’re there, do your best, think like the owner, and keep working to make the right choices to create your extraordinary life.

I’ve had to do that multiple times in my life. I worked as a ditch digger and construction worker as I was pursuing my job as a mental health counselor. I worked overnights at a mental health facility while beginning my radio career. I kept working on the radio, and even sold insurance, while I worked on my speaking, coaching, and podcasting business.

Keep learning and developing your skills wherever you are right now. You will use them all as you make the choices to get where you want to be.

Questions for comment: What can you do to think like the owner? What new idea or way of doing things could make a big difference?

LET’S GO!

Are you searching for your Passionate Purpose? Start with my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

 

The Way To Get More Clients Is To Be LESS Popular

popular

We all want to be popular. We want as many people as possible to like us and to love our work. But what if that desire stops us from attracting our best clients? What if we allow it to change how we act and what we do? What if that desire stops us from getting the most out of our talents and turning our ordinary work into spectacular art?

Planning our work so it pleases the largest number of people possible often has us censor ourselves, and usually stops us from doing something amazing. –Greg Knapp

But, Greg, I need people to buy my work. I need to make money.

Hey, I feel you, bro. You’re in business to make money. Absolutely. And you do need to make sure there’s a market for what you’re producing. But, here’s the irony. When we try to make our work popular with everybody we usually end up earning less than when we follow our passion, be authentic, allow our personality to shine through, and do inspired work.

Sure, we’ll be less popular with everyone. But the people who love us, will really love us. They will keep coming back and buying what we have to offer. They will tell all their friends about us.

Because we connected with them. Because they know, like, and trust us.

When you do what moves you, you move others and the money will follow. Plus, it’s a lot more fun than trying to do what you think people want!

It’s why I put my stupid jokes and GIFs in my blog. If you think that’s unprofessional and so you don’t want to work with me, that’s ok. We probably wouldn’t work well together anyway.

If you like my blog posts, we’ll probably get along great! Let’s talk!

Why try to make everyone a client and deal with the hassles of the people you don’t really jibe with? That’s how you end up with 20% of your clients taking up 80% of your time and driving you crazy in the process.

Pablo Picasso was an excellent artist from a young age. But did you know he was classically trained and painted landscapes early in his career? He could have stuck with that and made a good living. But he was inspired to experiment and helped create the Cubism movement.

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Not everyone liked his abstract paintings. You could say they were “less popular.” But he was doing the work he really cared about and the people who did like them really liked them. In fact, at the time of his death, Picasso’s net worth was estimated to be $50 million. (He was an artist who didn’t have to wait until he died to make money!)

Not bad for being less popular, eh?

When you keep doing your best work your way you will start attracting clients who love you.

When you’re authentic in your interactions with others (real and virutal) you will start attracting clients who love you.

Questions for comment: Where have you been pulling back on the type of work you really want to do because you’re worried you will lose customers? Could it be that’s what’s holding you back from bigger success?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

How to Get Started in 15 Minutes Or Less – For Real

(4 Quick Wins!)

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You have big ideas, big plans, huge goals! But, first you have to check your email…again. Hey, your daughter needs help with her homework. The lawn isn’t going to mow itself, you know. Your desk is so disorganized, you won’t be able to get anything done until you fix that. Hey, it’s time to update your LinkedIn profile…and check Facebook.

Why do we procrastinate from the things we know will make our lives so much better? Why is it so hard to get started on something we really want to do? What can we do about it?

1) Make sure you really want it.

The first thing to do is make sure this is something you really want to do. Are you procrastinating because this idea/plan/project/goal doesn’t line up with your values? Is it really your Passionate Purpose? If it isn’t, why are you planning to do it?

(Of course, sometimes you just have to get something done – whether you want to or not – whether you like the task or not.)

If you know this is what you really want, then what is stopping you? Is it a physical, emotional, or mental reason? You need to drill down and ask the question behind the question on what’s getting in your way.

Once you’ve decided you definitely want to do this, move to step two.

2) Only work on it for 15 minutes.

What? I won’t get anything important done in 15 minutes. That makes no sense!

Hey, I used to think that. But then I thought to myself, “Self, I can get a lot more done in 15 minutes than I can get done in zero minutes.” (Sometimes I’m really smart when I talk to myself.)

Sometimes we have trouble getting started because it just seems like too big of a task. Research shows our minds tend to focus on all the difficulties and complexities of a project or task before we start to do it. So, we tend to avoid starting big projects.

Last week my youngest daughter was a perfect example of this. She was having a self-pity party over all the homework, projects, and studying for finals she had to do. She went on for several minutes and even began to cry.

We then acknowledged she had a lot of work to do, but that getting started is the hardest part. We then organized her work, decided what to do when, and came up with a manageable plan. Then we decided she would work on her first project for 15 minutes and take a break. The idea was to just get started, then she would see it wasn’t as hard as she thought.

It worked great! She ended up working much longer on it and didn’t even realize she had gone past her 15 minutes. It dawned on her that it wasn’t as hard as she thought and that she was getting a lot done.

You aren’t going to finish in 15 minutes, but that’s not the point. We’re just trying to get started. We’re taking action so we can get going. Then we’ll work on the things we need to do to keep going and finish.

3) Use the Zeigarnik Effect

Ah, yes, the Zeigfarkle..the Zeegurn…the what now? the Zeigarnik (zī-ˈgär-nik) Effect. It’s the tendency to remember projects/tasks/goals that you haven’t completed. In fact, research shows your mind keeps coming back to uncompleted tasks. So, once you get started on what you really want to do, your mind has a tendency to keep coming back to it until you complete it.

Isn’t that great? It’s almost like someone designed us to get important things done. Hmm….wonder who might have done that…

So once you get started – even if it’s just for 15 minutes – your brain will keep pulling you back until you finish. Awesome!

I’m using this a lot right now. As I’m ramping up my professional and personal development business I often feel overwhelmed. I have big ideas for my speaking, coaching, and podcasting. I’m working on creating online podcasting and coaching courses. I’m helping small businesses create and edit podcasts to attract their ideal clients and grow their brand. I’m constantly learning new ways to market digiatally and have big plans I need to start implementing.

Each of these ideas will take a lot of work. Many of them will require me to do things I’m not quite sure how to do yet. So, I sometimes find myself doing busywork instead of getting started.

Boo!

boo2

But, once I start, I get on a roll.

Yay!

yay


I’ve found the 15 minute trick I used with my daughter works with me as well. Just do it for 15 minutes. I can do anything for 15 minutes. Then I tend to keep going.

4) Break it Down

Another great technique is to break down the task into smaller bites and just do one bite. Your little successes will lead to big ones.

You don’t need to know how to do it all before you start. Get started and you’ll learn what you need as you go.

Questions for comments:

What do you do to get started?

Which of these techniques have helped you?

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