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?

Reading
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. 

Review
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. 


Sincerely, 
Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner
www.ericmtwiggs.com

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

The Best Remedy For Procrastination

A man walking down the street notices a family of three and their dog sitting on the porch. The dog is whining, whimpering, and groaning.

“Why is your dog acting this way?” asks the man. “He is lying on a nail," they replied. 

With a puzzled look on his face, the man asks, “Well why doesn’t he just get up?” 

“Because it’s not hurting badly enough,” they replied.

How bad does it have to hurt before you get off of the nail? Most change is delayed until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of moving forward. 

This is why I believe that pain is the best remedy for procrastination. So, how can you use pain as a motivating force? Keep reading and you will learn two strategies that will get you moving. 

Make Your Goal Public
Find like minded individuals to whom you can publicly communicate your goals. Be sure to let them know the specific goal and when it will be accomplished. Knowing that you will have to report on your progress can be a motivating factor. The potential public embarrassment that you will experience as a result of not following through can give you the necessary incentive achieve the goals. 

For example, I have an accountability “buddy” that I speak with on a monthly basis. Every month, we agree on specific actions that we will have accomplished by the next phone call. The potential pain of not meeting my commitment drives me to do what I said. 

Implement a Penalty System
I know of a business owner who really values a good night sleep. If he fails to follow through on completing a writing assignment, he penalizes himself by waking up an hour earlier until he gets it done. The pain associated with cutting into his sleep time pushes him to complete his writing on time. 

A monetary penalty is a great source of pain. I recommend setting up a Procrastination Jar to which you will contribute when you fail to meet a deadline.  Take those contributions and donate them to a local charity each month.  Paying $20 that you won't see again to your jar for failing to get your business plan written will make you think twice about future delay. 

So there you have it. Making your goal public and instituting a penalty system will get you moving in the direction of your dream by allowing you to accomplish your goals. 

Sincerely,
Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner

PS. To get additional information on the reasons that you procrastinate, read my ebook, One Moment in Time

Your Personal Procrastination Prescription

“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”

- Abraham Maslow

A common recipe for failure is the mixture of the right idea with the wrong plan. Recently, I was unable to sleep because of nasal congestion and sneezing.   To find relief I took some cold and flu medicine. The medication did not help, so I visited my doctor.  The doctor told me that I had seasonal allergies; not a cold. He then prescribed a specific remedy based on my situation.  As it turns out, I had the right idea, but the wrong plan. 

Your desire to stop procrastinating on important tasks is the right idea. The fact that you continue in this habit is an indication that you have the wrong plan.  What can be done to put the right plan in place? 

Consider Your Personality
Your personality is a blend of genetic and learned tendencies.   According to modern psychological research, everyone falls into one of four categories: Driver, Sanguine, Analytical or Peacemaker. 

Below is a breakdown of these areas along with a procrastination prescription that is specific to each type:

  1. Driver Dan – Dan is the “type A” personality.  He is driven, results focused, confrontational and assertive. Michael Jordan and Donald Trump would be good examples.

    Drivers have a tendency to respond to deadlines, so the best way to overcome procrastination would be to make sure you give yourself a firm deadline for completion. 

    I am a “type A” personality.  When I have a major writing project, I block off one hour each day using a kitchen timer.  Have a daily deadline forces me to make the most of the time.

  2. Sanguine Sally – Sally thrives off of being the center of attention and loves to hear the sound of her own voice.   She lives for the here and now and likes to have fun.  Kim Kardashian and Dennis Rodman come to mind when I think of a Sanguine. 

    You will procrastinate most on tasks that you do not perceive to be fun and enjoyable.   Creating a reward system for accomplishing the objective is a way around this.  Treating yourself to a weekend getaway as a reward for finishing that business plan will help you move forward.

  3. Analytical Al – Al likes to have all of the facts and details in order before he takes action.  Engineers and accountants tend to have this type of personality.  The movie character “Dr. Emmit Brown” from Back to the Future fits the description. 

    Your tendency is to be slow in making decisions when the next steps are not concrete.  Having the plan written out in detail before you proceed will lessen the chance of procrastination. 

    If you are writing a book, having the title, chapters and talking points for each chapter written out in advance would be a great way to start.

  4. Peacemaker Patricia – Patricia likes to see everyone get along, avoids confrontation and does not want to make waves.  She is agreeable and easy to like.  “Mr. Rogers” of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood would be an example. 

    You like doing tasks that are easy for you, and get overwhelmed by those that seem complex. Your natural response to a complicated assignment is to do nothing.

    Breaking the task down into specific action steps, and committing to a one step at a time  will make things easier. You must ask yourself:  “What is the next step?” 

    If you are writing a business plan, focus all of your initial attention on the first step of creating a vision statement.  Focusing step-by-step will be easier for you than looking at all of the details of the project as a whole.

Procrastination is nothing to take lightly. Having the right prescription based on your personality will help you to break the habit! 

Sincerely,
Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner

PS.  For additional insights that will help you overcome procrastination, download my ebook, One Moment in Time. 

2 Critical Tools That Will Change Your Life

“The Secret to getting what You Want is being grateful for what you have.”

“Eric, do motivational speakers ever have a bad day? With everything that happens in life, how can you be positive ALL the time? “ These questions were posed to me at a recent speaking engagement and they got me thinking. 

In reality, even those of us that are paid for our positivity have negative experiences. I am no different from you. What separates me from a pessimist is my belief that your perspective determines your progress. 

How you perceive what happens to you is more important that the actual event itself. A person with a negative outlook is more likely to procrastinate because he views his setbacks as a stumbling block instead of a stepping stone. 

I recognize that maintaining the right outlook is easier said than done, so as you read on, you will learn two critical tools that I use to stay positive. If you commit to using them it will change your life.

1. Focus Card
Each day I use a 3" x 5" index card to write down everything that I am focused on for that day. On the front, I have my daily goals. These are the tactical to-do items that will help me achieve my strategic 12 month goals. 

On the back of the card, I write down the things for which I am thankful. Areas such as my health, family, and friendships rank high on the list. As I experience failures and setbacks, reflecting on my goals and what I am grateful for allows me to maintain the right perspective. 

I like the 3 x 5 Card because it fits neatly in my shirt pocket and I can carry it wherever I go. The card is sturdy enough to allow me to write while in the palm of my hand, which allows me to make changes if I am not around a hard writing surface. 

2. Lessons Learned List
In his book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says the following “Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” The key to maintaining the right perspective on your failures is to focus on the lessons that you learned from it. 

To accomplish this, I create a lessons learned list for any setback I experience. In the memo app on my phone, I notate all of the positive lessons that resulted from a specific setback. 

For example, when I competed in The Toastmasters Speech contests, any result less than a first place finish was a setback for me. During those times that I finished short of my goal, I would write the positive lessons that I gained from the experience. I would notate things such as becoming a better story teller, and gaining valuable stage time as takeaways. 

This habit helped me to move forward with the right attitude and perspective. If you discipline yourself to using the focus card and lessons learned list, you will maintain the right perspective and be less likely to procrastinate in the pursuit of your goals.

Sincerely,
Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner

PS. For additional information on being grateful and having a focus on your goals, download my latest ebook, One Moment in Time. 

Overcome Your Biggest Enemy To Getting Started

“The key to overcoming procrastination is to strive for excellence instead of perfection.”

It was a very frustrating day in my life.   I had a very important presentation to make and I was running late. I got in my car and put the address into my GPS navigation system.  The response I got from the system was “searching for satellite signal”.  Out of frustration, I called the customer support line.  What the customer service agent told me applies to many of the entrepreneurs with whom I work.

She said, “Mr. Twiggs, with your model of GPS, you have to start moving towards your destination.  Once you are in motion, your system will engage and tell you what to do next.”

This experience taught me that the fastest way to get to where you are going is to start moving.  Keep reading and you will learn about the biggest enemy of getting started and how to overcome it. 

Perfectionism
Perfectionism is procrastination in disguise.  A perfectionist believes that he has to have all of the details in perfect order before beginning a project.  He puts off going to the networking function because his updated business cards have not arrived.  He delays writing his book because he doesn’t know which publisher he will choose.  He does not hire that key employee because he does not know all of the details of how the new healthcare legislation will impact his business. 

The question becomes, what can you do to overcome perfectionism?  Taking the following two steps will answer this question:

  1. Be Clear On Your Destination - Steven Covey said it best: ”Begin with the end in mind.” The one thing that I had going for me in my GPS illustration was that I was certain about my destination.  Having a written plan that starts with a clear vision of where you want to end up is the key. 

    And, understanding the “why” behind what you are doing will make the “how” much easier. For example, my vision is to be a world class thought leader on the topic of time management.  Knowing this, makes me less likely to procrastinate when it comes to blogging or writing books.

  2. Take Small Steps – The question you have to ask yourself is: “What is the next step towards my goal?” A small step in the direction of your goal is significant, and a much better alternative than standing still.

If you are writing a book, the next step may be creating the title. Writing a business plan would be a good next step for starting a business. Creating a job description would be a good first step to the hiring process. 

Being clear on your destination and taking small steps in that direction will allow you to overcome perfectionism and to put off procrastination! 

Sincerely,
Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner
www.ericmtwiggs.com 

PS. For additional strategies on getting started, read my latest ebookOne Moment in Time.