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MAY 1999
Success Harmony Newsletter


We have all heard that $50 invested monthly for 25 years grows more than $600 invested once a year for the same length of time. The same applies to time invested in your personal and professional growth. If you have been putting off doing something until you have "more time", realize that you are not likely to find more time. If the past few years are any indication of future trends, time is likely to become an even more valued commodity.

Instead of waiting for more time to "magically" appear, create a small window to do what you have been putting off. Then use that window on a consistent basis. For example, if you want to improve your skills at using the Internet in your business, set aside a specific 30 minute time period twice a week. Then treat this time period as an important appointment that you keep every single time. In a few weeks or months, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you accomplished!

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I know that this sounds extremely simplistic. Yet I have seen many highly successful people agonize over an issue that would get easily solved simply by picking up the phone and asking for help. It appears that many of us equate success with absolute self-sufficiency in our business and life in general. Whether this "help" comes from a trusted friend, a colleague, or by hiring a professional whose job is to have the answer you need, there is nothing "weak" about asking. Also, most people love to feel like experts and appreciate when you trust their opinion. The main thing is that we are making wise choices about where to invest our time and energy. After all, isn't it better to say "I don't know" sooner, ask someone who knows, and have a lot more time for other important things?

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"Set lofty long term goals and wimpy short term goals". This was the message I got from Raymond Aaron's audiotape on goal setting that I listened to a long time ago. The tape had a lot of other useful information but this bit stuck with me. Before then, I used to set lofty long and short term goals. This caused me continual frustration and stress with never getting anything done.

The point is that, by setting and meeting small goals, we acquire the confidence to set larger goals. In effect, we build up our capacity to achieve. A long to-do list with few check marks only causes anxiety. With each "check" on the goal list and the resulting feeling of pride, we want to do more. Be realistic, commit only to the things that matter, and be proud of your progress!

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Customers, no matter how small or large their order is, want to feel important and respected by you and your business. One of my coaching clients used to refer to all his clients as "accounts" and was surprised that these "accounts" had no loyalty to his services. I prompted him to ask his "accounts" for feedback and he started to change his attitude as a result of this feedback. His "accounts" ceased to be mere entries in his accounting system and became human beings. Interestingly enough, his client loyalty increased dramatically.

Making customers feel important is more a question of intention than of committing huge resources to the task. A smile and kind words cost nothing, yet they carry a lot of weight. Respect for customers' time and concerns costs nothing other than greater awareness of our own time planning and how we run our business. A mailed thank you note costs a little more: 46 cents for a stamp plus some letterhead and an envelope. Yet the rewards as a result of increased trust can be enormous.

Next time someone in your business laments about lack of customer loyalty, take that as an opportunity to brainstorm. Think "how can my business make my customers feel more important?". Ask "how can I increase the trust my customers feel towards my products, services, or reputation?" Whatever steps you think of, TAKE THEM. Ultimately, your customers do not know you care unless you TELL them so!

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Next time you get involved in an argument and are unable to resolve it, stop talking and start asking questions.

Generally speaking, trying to persuade another of your point of view will not work. You will both try to persuade until both of you either become very frustrated or compromise. Either way, neither of you will get a satisfactory result.

Questions allow for a deeper understanding of the real issues. When the other person states their demands, ask "What about that is important to you?". Then listen. When they answer, ask the same question again and again until you feel you found a solvable issue.

Consider this example. An employee states a demand for more money and the employer genuinely cannot pay more. This could cause an impasse. By asking these questions, you may discover that her car broke down and she needs money for bus fare. That knowledge may make it possible for you to get another employee to give her a ride to and from work. This way, you can fix the employees problem without an adverse effect on you.

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It takes strength to tell someone they are wrong; it takes courage to tell someone you are wrong.

Access to action can be found in our self-talk. "I can't do this" produces a stuck feeling. Saying "I don't know how to do this" allows the possibility that there is a way around the problem. Asking "HOW can I do this?" activates creativity to find an actual solution.


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"There is no such thing as a "happy" victory if someone had to lose in order for you to win. A true victory is when everyone is able to walk away with more than they came with."

Pavla Michaela Polcarova, Power Thoughts Journal






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