This is why you should regularly move the goal posts
Are you moving the goal posts?
Mention the word Goalpost and immediately a sport comes to mind. A total play on words, because even though it is termed sport or a game, it is still taken seriously. No matter what game you think of, there is a goalpost of sorts, some defining object that remains static and signifies the end objective within boundaries. And so it is in business. When you have your boundaries or goalposts in place, they need to remain static in order to realise the goals and objectives you set out to achieve.
Some may say that “systems” are the most important and yes, while they are the backbone of getting, and keeping the flow of work going smoothly, if your boundaries are not constant and clearly defined, even the best system can be pushed out of whack. Boundaries give as much structure as systems.
It cannot be stressed enough how important clear communication is within the working environment. Being on the same page, following the same path and achieving the same target are vital to the success of any business, especially when working in a virtual team and relying on cyber communication. Being absolutely clear about how you work leaves no room for grey areas and instances where the overstepping of your boundaries can lead to feelings of frustration and irritation. Matters such as hours of work, channels and times of communication, prioritisation of tasks and even what would constitute an emergency should be defined, and more importantly, adhered to at all times.
Crossing the line
Whilst you may be adhering to your practices, there may come a time when your boundaries become tested and possibly even crossed. Don’t let the situation slide. Address it in the moment or as early as possible. Have a plan on how to handle it and carry it out before it loses its power and results in those feelings of frustration or even exploitation at times. Making exceptions can take you onto the downward slope.
Consistency is key
Now I’m not saying be inflexible when the need arises, but consistency is an indication of your seriousness and professional approach to your work. After all, if you don’t respect your own boundaries, you cannot expect others to do so either. Should it happen that additional hours or some urgent work become necessary, assess the situation objectively and discuss how best to take care of it, leaving everyone fully in the picture. Being flexible but consistent is the key to a great working relationship.
So, are your goalposts firmly in place, or do you have some cementing to do……
STOP, Revise and end 2019 on a high!
I don’t know if you will agree with me but it feels like 2019 has been on fast forward mode, I cannot believe we are already in mid –July. Just a few more weeks to go and the stores will be setting up with the much-loved Christmas décor that will silently have you feeling all ‘Merry’ed out by the time the 25th December comes around. Yip, the year is going by that fast!
Having said that I’m sure you that at the beginning of the year you set some goals for yourself and you might have even added a few since then, but have you been tracking your goals? If yes – Well done! If no – that’s ok! Either way a mid-year goal check in is important. Why? For these reasons.
One of the biggest advantages of doing a mid-year goal check in is to evaluate your progress, especially with regards to work orientated goals. What have you accomplished so far? Where did you Slack off? Which goals amongst the ones you have identified are of priority to you and need more focus? Which goals have you not started on yet? What obstacles have hindered you from achieving your goals? What have you done to overcome these obstacles or make changes to your goals? Asking yourself these questions will give you a clearer picture of what you have achieved and will also give you a better understanding of what you need to do in order to finish 2019 on a high note!
Declutter your goals:
Let’s face it, the first week of January is when we are full of steam and ambition for what we want to achieve during the year, both personally and professionally and sometimes the goals we set for ourselves can be over-ambitious. Now is the time to sit and be completely honest with yourself and look what you truly can handle/do. If there some goals that you need to remove from your list, go ahead and scratch it off! After all there is always next year and it’s better to focus on two or three goals and achieve them, than have ten goals where nothing gets done.
Establish the way forward:
We often look at how far we still need to go to achieve our goals, but how often to we look at how far we have come? Doing a mid-year goal check in a great way to access and analyse how much we have actually achieved. If your not where you want to be or if you realise how you haven’t even started working on some of the goals you set out, now is a good time to put together a game plan of how you’ll change your actions/plans in order to do achieve what is important to you! Taking the step back and really determining what you want to get done, is a great way to inspire you to get back in the game, course correct and achieve more than you thought possible this year!
There is a lovely quote by Sherry Swain that says “Reflection enables us to evaluate the experience, learn from mistakes, repeat success, revise and plan” so when you sit to do your mid-year goal check in, get a notebook, start an excel spread or PowerPoint presentation whichever works for you. Physically document your goals, your progress, your to do list, set deadlines for yourself (be realistic and set mini goals that will help you in achieving the bigger goal.) after all this is what you would do when working on a work project to ensure success of a project, right? Well you as an individual and where you want to go professionally is one of the most important projects you will ever work on.
Make it a Success!
Tactics to Positively Overcome the Difficult Client
Irrespective of what industry you are in, there is always that odd difficult client that as a result of various factors can leave you feeling frustrated, angry, unmotivated and possibly even full of self-doubt. For some of us, the reaction to a difficult situation can be defensive for others it can be offensive which can have either positive of negative outcomes regardless.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to establish smart habits
The fact remains that there will always be clients that are a little harder to please than others, so the question at hand is, how do you handle those situations in a way that will have a positive outcome for both you and the client? Well, while in my previous role, I had done some research on the topic and I came across an article by Barbara Markway (Ph.D.) who has some excellent insight into handling difficult clients, which I will delve into a little further, but one of the factors she mentions amongst others is going about things in a way that may seem unnatural to you as first. What does this mean? Well simply put, we all have our ways of doing things, and sometimes it works other times it doesn’t but if your finding your not getting the outcome you want from a difficult situation – perhaps its time to step outside your comfort zone, try a new approach and create smart habits.
Some Tactics to be Used with the Client
Out of the many tips given in Barbara’s article, the following tactics on how to handle a difficult client stood out to me:
- Listen & Stay Calm. Listening is the number one step in dealing with “unreasonable” people. Everyone wants to feel heard, and although staying calm can be extremely difficult in an emotionally charged situation, real progress can’t take place until the other person feels acknowledged. While you’re listening, really focus on what the other person is saying, not what you want to say next. I have often said to people in the past, “I know your hearing me, but are you listening to me? There is a difference”. Taking the time to really listening to what someone else is saying, can give you a fresh perspective and clarity on a situation at hand.
- Reflect respect and dignity toward the other person. You don’t know what the other person is going through. Chances are, if a person is acting unreasonable, they are likely feeling some sort of emotional or mental strain for whichever reason and showing contempt will not help productively resolve the situation.
- Saying, “I understand,” usually makes things worse. Instead, say, “Tell me more so I can understand better.” This for me was an interesting point, because I personally have often used the term “I understand” countless times with clients and looking back it wasn’t always well received, looking at this approach has given me a new perspective on how a client would possible react to the situation differently.
- Saying, “I’m sorry,” or, “I’m going to try to fix this,” while establishing boundaries can go a long way toward defusing many situations. This tip can be quite difficult to follow when you feel your not the one in the wrong and are feeling defensive. Sometimes by being humble in the situation and saying the words “I’m sorry” or “I’m going to fix this” can completely diffuse a situation, and in turn can give you the opportunity to establish the hidden need. The client could end up disclosing what they are really trying to gain or avoid within the project/ task and positive outcome can take place for both parties. Having said that, you will also need to assess the situation, while some of the above tips have encouraged listening and letting the angry person vent, you also have the right to be assertive and say, “Please don’t talk to me like that.” if the situation is gets out of hand.
Some Tactics to be Used with Yourself
Handling a difficult client with some of the tactics, may be draining for you which would defeat the purpose of positively overcoming difficult clients, that’s what there are also a few things you should do:
- Debrief. After the situation is over, talk to someone about what happened, take 5 minutes to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and just allow yourself to process the situation.
- Discharge your own stress. You had to put your natural reactions on hold for a while. Now is the time to discharge some of that pent-up adrenaline. Go for a run. Take your dog for a walk. Don’t let the emotions stay stuck in your body.
- Give yourself credit for getting through an uncomfortable situation. It takes a lot of energy not to act like a jerk when someone else is behaving badly. Don’t skip this step!
Positive Outlook, Positive Outcome
Remember these tactics are simply guidelines to help you along the way. How you implement these tactics is up to you, and maybe they won’t give you a positive outcome every time, but its all about trying and keeping at it until you establish smart habits that work for you. If you do not have the time or cannot see yourself dealing with difficult clients that’s ok, perhaps consider getting a VA to deal with your Client Relationship Management and can implement strategies for you! I have seen how these tactics have worked for me, and to this day some of the best connections and relationships that I have established in my career have been as a result of a rocky start with some pretty difficult clients. The key to all of this however is to always have a positive outlook, and having said this I will end with a quote by Lailah Akita “Our reaction to any situation will determine the outcome”
How self-love can make you more productive
Love yourself enough to add whitespace to your day and become the productivity guru that get things done!
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, employee or virtual assistant; we all fall into this trap more often than not. If you don’t know what whitespace is or don’t have whitespace in your day, you’re sacrificing your health, well-being and productivity in a major way. The solution to becoming a productivity guru is easier than you think; all you need is love!
#Love your health
This question is for my virtual assistant friends. Let’s examine our lunchtime health. Are you snacking at your desk? Just meaning to complete that one extra task. I mean an hour ‘wasted’ on lunch could have been a valuable contribution to your income at the end of the month, who can’t do with the extra 20 billable hours?
BUT…at what cost do that extra 20 hours come? You’re carving away at your vitality every day by ignoring the opportunity for increasing your energy and boosting your creativity.
I love this equation from WhiteSpace At Work!
“Lunch – Desk = Vitality”
Don’t eat at your desk! Get out of your office, breath in some non-artificial, non-airconditioned air. Notice the birds outside, notice the cloud formation that day, take a brisk stroll around the block – yes even if it’s 40 degrees outside, believe me, you’ll appreciate your office and desk that much more. Get the spider webs blown out of your mind, don’t spend this time strategizing the accomplishment of your next task. Create that whitespace in which to recharge so when you get back to your desk, it’s with a grateful attitude and a revitalized outlook on the challenges you’re trying to solve.
#Love your business workflow process
Starting out with another question… and be honest, this is definitely time to get real with ourselves. Are you overwhelmed with your business workflow process? Because you either don’t have one or you have one but it’s worth zero because you don’t follow it or it’s so complicated it wastes more time than saving time.
Well, friends, I think it’s safe to say you need to declutter your workflow. No one has the time to do damage control – all the time! You can’t afford to work on a reactive basis all the time! AND that’s exactly what we try and achieve. Every email that comes in has you dropping everything, losing your productive streak to reply to an email that could have waited half an hour. Believe me, emails aren’t the only culprits. You know that as well as I do.
What you want is to get to a point where your workflow process leans itself towards ultimate productivity. Creating whitespace between activities, the opportunity to breath and reflect is not a time waster, but should be seen as a “strategic pause in which you are infused with enthusiasm and creativity” for what you are passionate about. Don’t just go through the motions to get the job done. Love yourself enough to declutter your workflow to truly be productive and efficient.
We need to look after ourselves! Nothing is more true to me than the quote: “Less is more”. Simplify your life, simplify your workflow, love yourself and take care of your wellness. Don’t set yourself up for a love-hate relationship with your well-being and business. You deserve the best! You deserve to love yourself, your business and your life. Best of all, with a little bit of strategic whitespace in your life, you can become a productivity guru that not only get things done but excels at it!
Celebrating Everyday Heroes as a Daily Inspiration
“Celebrating the Women in your Life in Honour of Women’s Month” WOW, what a topic.
There are many Women in my life both alive and the dearly departed that have made a huge impact on my life and impact of the direction that my life has taken.
The woman who made the most impact in my life
Let’s begin with the most amazing Women that has made the biggest impact, my Mom.
What a truly remarkable, inspirational and caring person she was. My Mom brought me into this world and taught me the value of life, love, happiness and most importantly time. My Mom always used to say, “make the most of every second in your life, every second that has been wasted on the trivial matters in life and things that don’t matter is a second you will never get back”.
My Mom taught me the value of work ethic, the value of working hard in life for what you want. Nothing gained in life is for free. What you put in, is what you get out! Remember what your mother taught you, it came from the most sacred place of love that exisits.
The reason I get up in the morning
Then I have my daughter and granddaughter. What a combination these two angels are. These two angels are SO special to me. The tinkle in my eye, the reason I get up in the morning and the reason that I live life to the full.
The biggest blessing one could ever hope for is too be able to bring a child into this world. Melissa, my daughter, is such a wonderful young lady, she has brought SO much joy and happiness into my life. She works hard, focuses on the important things in life.
I truly see so much of my Mom in her. Melissa is such an inspiration to me. I am SO very proud to be able to call her my daughter.
Then we have little Mia, Mia has taught me the biggest lesson of all, LOVE, LOVE and more LOVE. Just when you thought you couldn’t love someone any more than you do, along comes a grandchild. Have you noticed the admiration they have in their eyes when they look at you and everybody around you? So much love.
How does a child spell L O V E ……. They spell it T I M E! My little Princess, your Nanny is SO lucky to have you in her life. I am constantly amazed by your beauty and the love that you portray for the little things in life.
If I could turn back the clock to when my kids were much younger, there are so many things that I would do differently. First and most important of all, I would spend more quality time with my kids. Embarking on adventures together and loving life. When my kids where younger I found that I spent far too much time working and I kept telling myself that I was doing this FOR them.
The Entrepreneur that inspires me the most
The next lady that has come in too my life, teaches and challenges me on a daily basis. I mention her now, but not last as in order of importance, Karen Wessels. Karen has taught me the value of doing what you love and doing it with all your heart. Such an inspirational lady. Karen has brought back into my life the importance of why I do what I do and to love, grow and feel challenged by what we do in our lives. Walking alongside her is such an honour.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the very special Women who have made an impact in my life. I love you all SO much!!
I stick by the philosophy in life, “Do What You LOVE, in order to LOVE What You Do!” Take time to smell the roses for want of a phrase.
You only have ONE life, LIVE IT!
VA Connect has a team of Virtual Assistants just waiting to be of service to you, to lighten your load! To FREE up some of your time!