Tag Archives: challenge

What Is Your Next Play?

7.22.15We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

-Randy Pausch

As a business coach I work with highly talented, diverse entrepreneurs.  In order to provide the best coaching for each one, it is useful to step back to observe how the client deals with challenges.  In regards to solving challenges, there is no one way suits all response to a challenge.  I find that many of my clients think there is a manual about what they should do to be successful, but it must be a secret manual since they haven’t been able to buy it at the bookstore.  The result is torturous hours of second guessing about what is the right thing to do in order to succeed and turn the challenge into a success.

When I find one of my clients in the grip of this, I suggest that he begin to look at why he is responding to the next challenge that way.  Another way to say it is, what is the payoff in the delaying technique of second guessing yourself?  What is keeping you from being in action right now?

Usually, the blocking point is you are afraid you will do the wrong thing.  If you do the wrong thing, you will waste his time and money, if you waste time and money then you will fail.  The result is that everything stops.  It is a vicious circle of spinning wheels.  The fastest way to get out of the spin is to be courageous and do something even if it’s wrong.  If you do something wrong then you know that that action doesn’t work; you still have a number of actions to try, one of which will always lead you to meeting the challenge.

The point, as Randy Pausch said, is how we play the hand.  Do we hide in indecision or do we move boldly forward.  I am betting you choose the latter because you prefer action not indecision.  You are brave and a winner.

I am here in the stands cheering for you!


Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Spring Forward!

3.4.15March signals the end of the first quarter of your business year.  This is a good time to review the status of your business and see if you are hitting the targets you set at the beginning of the year.  Is your business on track?

I know many business people who either do not do this, or they reluctantly review where they are.  Usually this is because they do not want to know the results.  I can get it.  Who wants to see what doesn’t work?  However, if you don’t, it will come back to bite you big time.  It is better to correct the course of your business, quarter by quarter, making changes as you move forward, than it is to salvage a disaster later on.

To make this review as powerful as possible, write out the answers to these questions and then share them with a trusted colleague or with your business coach.  Together you will find new answers to your most vexing business challenges.

Overall, what is the best thing about your business?

What is the worst thing about your business this quarter?

What can you do differently to turn around the worst to being the best right now?

What have you accomplished?

What have you learned?

What do you need to improve?

What challenges have you had? What did you do to meet the challenges?

How are your relationships with your clients, staff, and contractors?  How can you improve your relationships?

Have your offered any new products?  What was the market response?

What has worked with your marketing efforts?  What do you need to change?

What product is selling the most right now?  The least?

What can you do to now to improve on the least selling product?

What is your first quarter gross profit, expenses and net profit?



What Do You Do To Handle A Big Challenge? Have You Tried Responsibility?

43014We all have been there.  Just when we think we have life handled, here comes a challenge, one that we haven’t had before and perhaps have no reference to look to for how to handle it.  So what do you do?

The standard way of facing a challenge is the same way we handle most things that stymy us.  We handle it in stages.  The first stage is denial.  You know, it’s not real, it will go away and leave you alone.  However, no matter how long you deny it, it just sits there waiting to be handled.  You peek out from under the covers, and there it is.

The second stage is blaming someone or something else for making this our problem.  Again, this is another form of denial, and we search in some very creative places to find out what plague has put this challenge in our life.  We resort to all sorts of information that will say that this challenge isn’t our fault, and perhaps look to the information for the answer.  Ever tried reading Tarot cards, I Ching or astrological signs?  Maybe a planet is in retrograde?

Of course, the challenge still sits there waiting for us to handle it.  So there we are; we can’t deny it’s there, and even if the planet is in retrograde, it’s not going to make it go away.  So what is next?

We could jump the stages and simply be responsible.

Be responsible and own the challenge.  What do I mean by that?  Be willing to say, “Somehow, and maybe I don’t know how, I caused this challenge to occur.  I can own it and I am responsible for handling it.”  Responsibility is a very powerful tool.  Being responsible is powered by a power much greater than blame, guilt and shame.  It gets you out of the blame/victim cycle, which is never creative nor energetic.

Once you can honestly say, “I am responsible for this challenge”, it releases much of the energy surrounding it and it becomes simply another problem that needs to be solved.  Then you can call together your circle of colleagues and friends who have demonstrated their commitment to your success and ask them to “Master Mind” a solution with you.  Notice that I said, with you, not for you.  I am interested to hear from you about how you handle challenges and if you have tried simply being responsible for it.  If so, please say how it has worked out for you.  I look forward to your comments!


photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net(stockimages)

Does It Really Matter? Keep Your Word – The Challenge

I suspect some of you will get a little huffy when I ask this impertinent question: Do you keep your word?

“Of course I keep my word.  Why would you even ask me such a question? Harrumph!”

Well, let’s see.  I offer you the Keep Your Word Challenge: For one week,PromisesandReality make an ongoing list of the things you say you will do, and keep track of how often you actually keep your word.  Give your self a rating for each day based on the scale 1-5.  The scale goes like this: 1(never), 2(a little), 3( sometimes ), 4 ( usually ) and 5( yes, 100%).  After a week of measuring for your word keeping ability, average your rating.  You may be surprised at how often you don’t keep your word.

This harmless little test about word keeping, and seeing where you fall flat, will be a game changer for you.  It will allow you to see how you operate in the real world, as distinct from the world of your thoughts and imagination, and it will give you a good look at how other people perceive you.

Back before I caught on to the cost of not keeping my word, I overheard one of my neighbors talking—about me—and it was not pretty.  “I like Susan a lot,” she said.  “It’s too bad she’s such a flake.  She never does what she says she will do.”

What!!  I huffed around a bit; but after I calmed down I created the Keep Your Word Challenge for myself.  I did it to prove my neighbor wrong, but of course it didn’t—she was right—my average for the week was 2.5.

I would like to tell you that I immediately began to keep my word, but I didn’t.  I did however begin to retrain myself.  When I was about to tell someone I would do something, more and more I would stop for a moment and ask myself, “Are you really going to do this?  Really?”  When I saw that probably I wasn’t, I began to say so, rather than saying yes, and then not doing it.  I began to be dependable.  People began to find they could count on me.

And those things I promised to do and didn’t?  I made it a practice to go to the person involved and set things straight.  “I said I would do this and I didn’t.”  That cleans things up.

Of course I immediately turned it into a moral issue, which it is not, unless you want it to be.  But to make keeping your word a moral issue saps it of much of its power and all of its joy.  Next week we will go farther into that.

Simply keeping your word and communicating when you can’t can be a huge game changer for you and your success.  I would love to hear from you about what you see about promise keeping.