Showing posts with label Enthusiasm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Enthusiasm. Show all posts

Monday, February 20, 2012

Barbara Corcoran’s Recipe for Getting Out of a Funk

Barbara Corcoran, star of Shark Tank

No matter how much you believe in yourself and the value you bring to your work, you’re going to have moments when you temporarily lose your spark. You’re human, after all, and it’s impossible to sustain consistently high levels of enthusiasm 24/7.

So when you do find yourself in a bad place, how do you get out of it?

I recently listened to an interview where some sage advice was shared by Barbara Corcoranstar of the TV show, Shark Tank, and a mega-successful entrepreneur herself.

First, recognize that a slump is a period of feeling sorry for yourself. You probably feel badly because you haven’t come as far as you wanted to be at this point. Either you’re doing the wrong things and not getting results, or you’re doing things you don’t enjoy doing. It’s often both.

Then block out a day in a location away from your office or home, where you’re isolated from people and distractions. It doesn’t have to be an exotic place. The local library works well. Your goal is to make two lists.

If you own a business or are in sales, on List One, include all the business you’ve gotten to date. Then next to each, record where it came from. Barbara discovered that most of her business came from similar sources, and she compared that to where she’d actually been focusing her time and energy. The two rarely matched. Based on what she learned from the comparison, she answered these questions: What three new things can I do to get MORE of that kind of business? What is my sweet spot?

For List Two, take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. At the top of the left column, write: What I LOVE and on the right: What I HATE. On the left, record all the activities and tasks you’ve been doing the past few weeks that you’ve loved doing.

For Barbara, that included advertising, marketing and talking with reporters. It turns out the left side never changed, but there were always new things on the right side that she hated. She detested dealing with bankers and handling minutiae like a messy desk. When she returned to her office, she immediately delegated everything on the Hate side and filled her schedule with more of the activities she loved and did well. This action re-energized her.

Complete this exercise yourself, and you’ll quickly discover why your passion wanes at times. Fuel it by focusing most of your time on the activities that bring you the greatest joy and the best results. Wherever possible, find of way to delegate, outsource or simply stop doing the tasks that you don’t enjoy or that don’t produce the outcomes you need.

"Look for a long time at what pleases you, and a longer time at what pains you." – Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, French novelist (1873-1954)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Do You Have a Passion for What You Do?

Meredith with Denny Coates, her business partner since 1990
"A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm." 
- Charles M. Schwab, American business leader (1862-1939)

When I met my business partner, Denny Coates, for the first time in 1990, it was for a breakfast meeting. That initial conversation lasted more than three hours and almost ran into the lunch hour. I was struck by his passion about a new personality test he’d created based on two areas of brain science – cognitive psychology and neuroscience. I’d never met anyone who knew so much about the brain, and his enthusiasm for the topic was contagious.

At that point he’d already consumed hundreds of books on the subject, and he was constantly on the look-out for the latest research. More than twenty years later, Denny still has the same insatiable quest to learn more about what really goes on in the brain.

His deep understanding of these processes formed the foundation for the creation of our software products – 20/20 Insight, a customizable assessment and development platform, and ProStar Coach, an online virtual coaching system for personal development.

Today his writing is focused on helping teens and parents of teens understand the crucial development that happens in the brain during the ages of 12-22. His unwavering dedication to learn about the brain has simply become more specialized over the years. It’s a testament to what people can accomplish when they’re driven by an intense interest, coupled with a desire to change lives.

Think about your interests in your business life and personal life. Would you describe them as topics you’re passionate about? Many people never experience that depth of emotion. But if you don’t feel boundless enthusiasm and obsessive motivation to excel in a particular area, interest alone won’t carry you far. Even if you do have that kind of intensity initially, it’s difficult to sustain over time.

That’s because the most worthwhile things in life are the hardest to achieve. They typically involve major challenges. Only a highly committed individual would endure the hard work, delays and discouragements involved in getting to the final destination.

So how do you discover this passion, if you haven’t felt it before?

Take time to be quiet and listen to your heart. Think about what energizes you. What kinds of work or play cause you to lose track of time? What would you be doing if you got to engage in these activities on a regular basis?

You may have to listen for a while, but eventually you’ll discover what gives meaning and purpose to your life, what matters most to you. Then you can do what most people never do—commit to getting heavily involved in what you’re passionately interested in.

When you follow your heart, these words from the architect Buckminster Fuller will resonate with you: "The minute you choose to do what you really want to do, it's a different kind of life."