Are You Prepared for Your Defining Moment?

As the story goes . . . On a rainy Friday night, an elderly man and his wife entered the lobby of a hotel with the hope of getting a room and getting out of the rain. “We are all booked tonight, but I can’t send you out on a night like this,” the young clerk named George replied. “You can sleep in my room and I will make other arrangements.” 

The couple initially declined, but because of the young man’s insistence, they took him up on the offer. “You are the kind of manager that should be the boss of the best hotel in America," the man replied. 

Two years had passed and George received a letter in the mail from the old man inviting him to interview to be the manager of a new hotel that was just built in New York. As it turns out, the old man was William Waldorf Astor, and George C. Boldt would become the first manager of the original Waldorf Astoria hotel. 

On that Friday night, George had no idea that he was auditioning for his next level. Like George, you may be one conversation away from your breakthrough. So, what can you do to make sure you are ready for your defining moment?

What got you to your current level will not get you to the next one. That’s why great individuals and organizations are committed to continuous improvement. Set a goal to do something every day to get better at your craft and to reinvent yourself. 

The habit of reading inspirational books can give you an edge in your field and help you to grow. Studies show that reading three books in your specific niche will make you more knowledgeable on that topic than 75% of those in your field. Most books are available in audio format so that you can read while exercising or during your commute to the office. 

Every week, I set aside 30 minutes where I review my results from the previous week. I recommend scheduling an appointment with yourself for a specific day and time to ensure that your meeting happens. My time is Sundays at 8:30 p.m. 

During the review, I reflect on three aspects of my business that were successful, three that were not, and three specific actions that I will take to improve in the following week. This habit will keep you from repeating behaviors that don’t line up with your goal.

The daily reading and the weekly review disciplines will prepare you for your defining moment. When you succeed, your critics may call it a lucky break. The reality is that your habits prepared you for the opportunity. 

Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner

PS. For additional information on how to prepare for your defining moment, download my ebook, One Moment in Time

Three Words That Will Destroy Your Day

You are having a productive day and plowing through your to-do list.  You’ve blocked off time to start a special project and are on pace to finish well ahead of schedule.   Suddenly, you are confronted with those three little words that can destroy your day: “Got a minute?” 

Most offices have the person that I describe as ”Got a Minute Gary”.  This is the individual that is always approaching you when you’re in the middle of completing an important project and asking, “Hey Eric, you got a minute?” I’ve discovered that they never take only a minute. On a good day, they waste at least 20 minutes of your time. Gary’s sole mission in life is to make you late. 

As you keep reading, you will learn two strategies to effectively deal with “Got a Minute Gary”. If you happen to be the Gary of your office, I hope this message inspires you to change your ways!

It’s important to know the value of your time. Knowing this will motivate you to protect it against unscheduled interruptions.   The calculation is simple.  Take your desired annual income and divide by the number of weeks you work factoring in scheduled vacations.   So if your desired income is $110,000 and you work 49 weeks (factoring in 3 vacation weeks), divide dollars weeks and you get $2,244.89.  Next, take the $2,244.89 and divide by the hours you work per week.  Be sure to subtract lunch time.  If you work 50 hours per week and take an hour for lunch each day, you would divide by 45 hours and get $50. In this calculation, your time is worth $50 per hour. 

For many of the people that I work with, their time is worth $100 per hour and up. If you fall into this category and Gary takes up a half an hour of your time, he is literally costing you $50 each time he interrupts you. Every time he shows up at your desk, picture yourself giving him a $50 dollar bill. 

When working on a project, let everyone know up front the times of day that you will not be available. This can be accomplished by putting a sign out notification on your email that lets people know the specific blocks of time that you will be out of the loop. Whenever someone emails you they will see the message. 

My favorite approach is the direct one.   When Gary asks you if you have a minute, tell him what you are working on, and offer to schedule an appointment time with him to discuss what he wants to talk about.  Have your calendar ready BEFORE he approaches you. 

You tell him what times work best for you instead of asking him when he is available.  Make sure you communicate when the meeting will start AND when it will end.   Short time windows inspire people to get to the point. 

The appointment will send the message that your time is too valuable to be wasted and will make Gary think twice before interrupting you again.   By calculating the value of your time and communicating your availability, you can avoid those three deadly words for good! 

Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner

To access additional time management strategies download my latest ebook, One Moment in Time.

How to Avoid the Al Bundy Syndrome

In 1987, The Fox network launched a popular sitcom called Married with Children. This was a show about a dysfunctional family of four living in a Chicago suburb led by patriarch Al Bundy. 

Al had an unfulfilling career as a seller of women’s shoes and was always down on his luck. He was constantly disrespected by his wife and kids, and seemed resigned to his fate of being unhappy. A constant theme on the show was Al’s recollection of his high school glory days. 

He was always remembering this time in his life when he was the big man on campus. His favorite story to tell was the one where he scored four touchdowns in one game to help his football team win the state championship. Al spent more time reflecting on the past than he did planning for the future. I call this habit the “Al Bundy Syndrome”. 

Where's your focus? If you spend most of your time dwelling on a past result or relationship, then you are just like Al. Without a plan for the future, you end up with a present reality that leaves you unhappy. So where should your focus be? 

1. Your Passions
How would you spend your time if money was not an issue? If you woke up tomorrow morning with $50 million dollars in the bank and had the luxury of only doing what you loved, how would that change your schedule? 

For example, I am passionate about public speaking. With this in mind, I started to make future plans that gave me opportunities to practice my passion. I joined Toastmasters and taught classes at my local church. The more time I devoted to public speaking, the more doors opened to allow me to speak at a higher level. Using my passion as a starting point allowed me to move from speaking for free to speaking for a fee. 

2. Your Purpose
A member of my church just celebrated his 90th birthday. His sons threw him a surprise party where hundreds of people got together and said all of these great things about him and his life. He then took a moment to speak to everyone and told the audience about the accomplishments that made him most proud. 

Imagine that you can fast forward to your 90th birthday celebration. Who would be there and what would they say about you? What would you tell the audience about your life? Completing this exercise will help you to gain clarity on your life’s purpose. 

Al Bundy lacked a plan for the future, so past glory is all he had left. Even if you are married with children, knowing your passions and purpose will allow you to avoid the Al Bundy Syndrome. 

Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner

PS. If you would like more strategies on pursuing your passion, download my ebook, One Moment in Time. 

How To Use Motivation To End Your Procrastination

Early in my career, I had a serious problem. I was the new manager of a local tire store and the most important factor for customers when purchasing tires was speed of service. Unfortunately, I had the slowest team of tire technicians in the market. 

I spent most of my days getting yelled at by customers because of the time it took to put tires on their cars. Then one day I noticed an interesting trend. Customers that brought their vehicles to the shop just before we closed got much faster service than everyone else. 

This was because the techs were motivated to get the cars finished so they could go home for the day. They knew that once they got the task done, there was a prize waiting for them. In other words, they used motivation to end their procrastination.  There are two strategies that will help you to break the procrastination habit as well:

1. Create a personal reward system
What is the prize that is waiting on you, once you complete that task you keep putting off? Implementing a personal reward system will give you an answer to this question. For example, treat yourself to a weekend getaway as a reward for completing that business plan that you've been putting off.

Give yourself a deadline and make sure you use a calendar to put both the date and reward in writing. A day at the spa, a trip to your favorite restaurant, and a date to listen to your favorite musical group are other examples of good rewards for taking action. 

At the tire store, I divided the technicians into teams and rewarded the group with the fastest service times with a gift card to their favorite hunting store. I knew that they were avid hunters and that this would motivate them on a personal level. 

2. Create a procrastination penalty system
Procrastination is a silent dream killer because you don’t feel an immediate consequence for your delay. Think about it, when you put off writing that book, there is no game show buzzer that goes off to signal that you are wrong. You get lulled into thinking that everything is fine. 

Therefore, you should create a penalty system that will hold you accountable for following through on your goals. One of the best penalties that I know of is public embarrassment. The key is to find a group of like minded individuals with similar aspirations with whom you can communicate about your goals.

The potential shame of having to tell your group members that you missed the mark will motivate you to take action. Joining a mastermind or networking group can help you accomplish this. Also, stickK gives you the opportunity to publicly post your goals and provides additional ideas for procrastination penalties. 

Back at the shop, I posted each team's productivity results on a dry erase board. The team that did not produce faced public embarrassment and peer pressure from the other techs. Both the goals and the results were on display for everyone to see. As a result, our service times dramatically improved and the store delivered some of the best customer satisfaction results in the market.

If you implement a personal reward and procrastination penalty system, you will notice a dramatic improvement in your results. Just like my technicians, you will produce and not procrastinate! 

Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner

PS. If you would like additional procrastination prevention strategies, download my ebook, One Moment in Time. 

Two Questions That Will Move You From Procrastination to Prosperity

Years ago, I was recruited to participate in a multi-level marketing business that boasted unlimited income potential. I went to the initial meeting and noticed that several people who had less business experience than I  appeared to be doing very well. Unfortunately, I did not experience the same success. 

Looking back, I realize that procrastination played a major role in my failure to achieve my goals. The people that experienced success dedicated their evenings and weekends to growing the business. They passionately hit the road five nights a week, while I came up with reasons to be too busy. Why didn’t I have the same drive? 

My only motivation for getting into the business was to make more money. As a result, I was not willing to make the necessary sacrifices and put in the time required to be great. 

There are two questions that you should ask yourself before starting a career or business. Asking yourself these questions will move you from procrastination to prosperity.

1: Do you Have a Passion for the Product?
In his book The Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell introduced the “10,000-Hour Rule”. According to his research, it takes an individual 10,000 hours of deliberate practice at a specific skill or activity to become world class at it. If you lack the passion, you will be more likely to procrastinate, than to become world class. According to my math, if you work at your chosen craft for 50 hours a week for 4 years, you will have put in over 10,000 hours. Are you willing to invest that kind of time and effort into something that you don’t love? 

2: Does The Business Fit Your Personality?
Modern psychology tells us that everyone falls into one of the four basic personality types: Driver, Motivator, Analytical, and Supporter. Below is a brief description of each type:

  1. Driver – This is also known as a “Type A” personality. A Driver likes to be in control, is results driven, a risk taker and makes quick decisions. Successful CEO’s and entrepreneurs fit this profile. This personality type is a good fit for leadership positions.
  2. Motivator – The motivator is the social butterfly that is easy to like and a strong communicator. They are very persuasive and like to engage in conversation. Motivators do well in positions that involve public speaking, coaching or selling.
  3. Analytical – The Analytic likes facts, statistics and data. When making decisions, they take time to analyze the facts and don’t jump to conclusions. Positions that involve research, accounting and analysis are a good fit for this personality type.
  4. Supporter – Supporters are easy to like, people pleasers, and avoid confrontation at all costs. They prefer to focus on one task at a time and work at a slow pace. Positions that have high stability, low risk and repetitive tasks  work best for the supporter.

So, there you have it. If you have a passion for the product, and your personality is a fit for the business, you will move from procrastination to prosperity. 

Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner

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