Atlanta’s Snowmageddon 2014

It happened in 2011, and we thought it was the worst we’d ever see. The snowstorm that hit Atlanta that year paralyzed the city for four days straight. Millions of locals couldn’t even get off their streets. There’s only so much that five or six snow plows can do in a region of 5 million strong. Surely, we thought, that was as bad as it could get.

atl snow heroesWe were so very, very wrong.

This past Tuesday, Atlanta was hit by a sudden snowstorm that dumped 2+ inches on the city and promptly froze to every exposed surface. Roads iced over as cars sat idling on them. Over a million people tried to go home at the same time, on the same roads. I personally know colleagues, friends and family members who were stuck on highways for more than 11 hours, trying to get home. In some cases, they had less than ten miles to go. We’re calling it Snowmageddon 2014, and if you’d been here, you’d understand why the name is apt.

The Facebook group, SnowedOutAtlanta, was quickly set up and began connecting people who needed resources with those who could help. But it was a tense night on Tuesday as people posted desperately asking for help- a van of people needing medications trapped here, a school bus filled with kids trapped there, a mother with small children stuck in her car for going on 8 hours with no relief in sight…The stories were terrifying, because so many people needed help- and we couldn’t get to them.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 12.42.36 PM2014 will go down as the year that Atlanta had to suffer a failure of urban planning so big that it was impossible to ignore. Even today, three days later, the city is still jittery. There’s no other word for it. Everyone here is still walking on eggshells. Ice still covers huge, unexpected patches of roads. We’re not recovered- we’re coping.

At the same time, we’ve shown ourselves and the nation what we as a people can do. When push came to shove, people got out and pushed. They opened their homes to strangers without second thoughts. They rescued motorist on their ATVs. Our leaders may have failed us this week, but regular Atlantans rose to the challenge.

I’m proud of my city. Well done, Atlanta. Well done.

Ignore the News (and other ways to pivot)

Capture

In general, I ignore 90% of the news. Very little of it is helpful to me. When I want to educate myself on what’s important, I have online resources I can go to- they’re frequently more up to date and informative than TV news, and I have more control over what I consume, which is something I value deeply.

I’m not in control of traffic, politics, other people, world events, or science- but what I am in control of, I choose to give my deliberate attention. As a result, I can have a measurable effect. Watching the news gets me next to nothing but wasted time, a useless knowledge of local minutia and a shorter attention span.

Everyone has a Circle of Concern in their life, the daily things they fret over and that inform most of their emotional decisions. Everyone also has their Circle of Control, which needs no explanation. But most people, especially in business, waste time and energy managing these circles very, very poorly. Are you one of these people? When is the last time you really took an inventory of where your energy goes each day? Is your Circle of Concern workable for your life, or are you chasing your tail?

Buffer.com has a fantastic article out about the power of ignoring mainstream news. I highly recommend taking a few precious moments and reading it. Our world is as noisy as it’s every been, and reminding ourselves how to filter out the excess is not a luxury- it’s a survival skill. You need it if you don’t want your days to get overrun with the urgent/not important.

Think about it. I challenge you to check your Circles of Concern/Control today and see what you can streamline.

Using Twitter as a Business Tool

Why Twitter? You Might Be Behind.

For those of you already on Twitter, only parts of this post are for you. You can skip down to the section about Hashtags. For the rest of you not utilizing Twitter, I have 2 things to say:

1) Why not?

2) Get on it.

twitter_iconConversations- relevant conversations- are going on right now on Twitter about your industry. Whatever it is, it is being discussed on Twitter, by people who are active in your field. Your peers are on it, your clients are on it, and decision makers are having more discussions there than on LinkedIn. So what is holding you back? Your view that Twitter is for high school students and drunk college kids? The fastest growing demographic on Twitter and Facebook is the 45-65 age group, and Twitter is now the fastest growing social media platform in the world. Read that last sentence again. Let it sink in. Then go create a Twitter account.

How Twitter?   (a.k.a. The Hashtags Section)

Once you have a Twitter account, go find the conversations you want to be a part of. To do this, you use hashtags. Hashtags are just markers that group things by topic (i.e. #business, #cooking, #NFL). If there is an industry event that you are going to/want to go to, I can guarantee you that they already have a Twitter hashtag out there to keep up with what’s happening-

For example, you’re getting on a plane next week to go to A Very Important Conference. The Twitter hashtag for that may be #AVIC. Search for it in the search bar, or just search for A Very Important Conference, and see what hashtag  people are using. Then you can tune in to anything tweeted on that topic. It’s easier than you think, and it’s a great way to network in your field.

NEW INFORMATION: A majority of Americans now expect a customer service response on social media. It’s time to integrate that expectation into your marketing and networking efforts.

When Twitter?

Constantly. You’ll have to be on it for a while to figure out just how much interaction is necessary and comfortable, but just assume that a semi-regular presence is required. You don’t have to be a slave to it- it’s not a new trend, it’s a new component of online networking and should be paid attention to accordingly, but it doesn’t have to be something you’re required to check every hour. It’s your tool, and a valuable one. But just a tool.

Team of business people working together on a laptopA Word of Caution: Going Hashtag Crazy

One word- Don’t.

Don’t over-use hashtags. You’ll look ridiculous. One or two hashtags- maximum- is absolutely fine. More than that may interfere with your message and clutter up what you’re trying to communicate.

If you still have questions about the hows and whys of Twitter, there are some wonderful online resources to be found. I recommend looking here. And here. And here. And here. 

Clarifying Goals- A Few Guidelines for the First Step

You’d think it would go without saying that having clear goals is the foundational step to building both the business and the life that you want to have. However, can you name a quantifiable goal right now? Right this moment? Can you articulate a dream that you have for your life or career without stopping to think for a few minutes?

Most of us, if asked the question, could think for a moment and come up with what we would loosely call ‘goals.’ We say that we want happy, healthy families, financial stability, a nice car, etc. But stop right there. Out of everything just listed, only the nice car is a quantifiable, solid goal. You know when you’ve got what you want. You’ve pictured it, you’ve clarified it in your mind, and you know exactly the steps you need to take to have that (insert year, make and model here) sitting in your driveway, shiny and ready to be driven. You have a clear goal.

For many people, a material goal is one of the few actionable goals that they have dedicated any serious brainpower to getting. They have not visualized how to better their sales approach to close the sale to earn the money (and keep the job) that will enable them to buy the (insert year, make and model here) that they want sitting in their driveway. So they have a reduced chance of getting their dream car or building the career and life they want. All because they think they’ve clarified their goals when they haven’t.

A vague idea is not a goal. An impression of how to succeed is not a tool. A hope that your health will improve is not an appropriate reaction to high cholesterol. None of these things will ultimately help you succeed in achieving anything unless they are paired with concrete action.

We know this, yet we seldom do it. And that, that disconnect from where the rubber meets the road, is the thing that holds so many serious, smart people back. People with have the drive to succeed but don’t reach for the most efficient training or coaching to help guide them as they work to achieve career goals.

Working to clarify your goals goes a long way towards making those goals a reality.

Start today.

Sit down and list five things you want to do- in business- within the next 12 month. They have to be actionable things that you can do. Don’t be vague. In fact, be as specific as possible. You need to create goals that are concrete, that you can tell when you’ve reached them. Make the list, then put it aside for a week. No less. After one week, take the list back out and write down three steps for each goal. These should be three very precise things you have to do in order to reach these goals. Put the list somewhere where you can see it every day.

It sounds incredibly simplistic, like something you might do in high school to get better grades. But there were several structures in high school that do not get enough credit for their efficacy. Having a mentor or guide to bounce ideas off of is one, and clearly defined goals in another. When done correctly, it works. Proven. Don’t spend time trying to reinvent the wheel when you’ve got better things to do.

Get started today and deliberately build the career you want.

Some tips for getting better results faster.

Recently I shared some of my perspective on professional growth in an article on  the website 401(K) Rekon. The website deals with research and information on retirement accounts, among other things.

My article covered several relatively simple tips and techniques to help bring more deliberate and mindful action into business decisions. Anyone with experience will tell you that they see themselves and/or coworkers trip themselves up on the simple things all the time. It’s often the simple things we need to be reminded of the most in our professional (and personal) lives. That is a great deal of what career coaching is for. The complex items in our daily agendas get all of our attention, and we lose a sale or an audience due to one or two basic points that we failed to follow through with. If you’ve worked in business, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

If you’d like to read the entire piece, it can be found here: Want Better Results- Faster?

Here are a few of the highlights:

First, constant and mindful assessment is what makes the best the Best.

Second, your own perspective can be helpful and damaging at different times- you need to know when to seek the guidance of another business mind to get a different perspective.

Third, you can’t escape advice, but good advice must be actively sought.

When you read the article, think about how you choose to improve yourself and your techniques. How proactive are you in seeking out the most effective training and tools to help you build the career that you want? It isn’t going to just happen. Remember that the next time you notice a colleague making leaps forward and ask yourself what you have done lately to improve your skills.

The Starting Point

Welcome to the official blog of Trust Performance Coaching, the fast-growing company dedicated to you and your professional development. In a nutshell, we help you reach your professional potential and goals with expert advice from a successful sales trainer and business mentor. Everyone has to start somewhere, and with quality training and advice, you can polish your skills and deliberately move your career in the direction you want to go. Be proactive and take charge of your career, instead of the other way around.

Here on our blog, we’ll offer tips, insights and opportunities for you to control the growth of your career. Each week will feature new posts with relevant topics to help guide you to a smarter, more purposeful career. Regardless of where you are, you are in the perfect position to start building the skills you need to advance. The market is an ever-moving field of potential- do you know where to look for advice and guidance? Do you know how to connect with other professionals like yourself and sharpen your skills? Do you know what you need to know now in order to be ready for tomorrow?

Now more than ever, it is important to take specific steps to enhance your skills. Learning what it takes to be good at your job is as much a learned skill as anything else. You have to learn how to ask the right questions, seek the right counsel and work smart instead of hard. You have the capacity to become the best in your field. And Trust Performance Coaching is here to help you learn to make the most of your potential.

Follow our blog for more on how you can take your career to the next level.