Thursday, September 25, 2014

My hard drive is full

Attending a four-day conference is something I haven’t done in years, and for any of you who have attended events in the US, you will know that they pack a lot into their day.  It was 9-7pm – making for a long day when you are taking in new information.

Most of the information was new to me, especially on the technical side so I could almost physically feel my brain swell up and expand to accommodate these new insights. But it wasn’t just an information-overload, it was a people-overdose too.  And I am an extrovert.

There were around 750 people there – all shapes, sizes and backgrounds – all with a similar goal of learning how to package themselves as an expert – but that is where the common denominators ended.  It was a mixed group, several of whom we had to hug throughout the day. 

As someone married for 42 years to the same man, I don’t think I have ever hugged so many men who were strangers to me.J

But don’t get me wrong… it was a wonderful experience, one that pushed me beyond my comfort zone to look beyond and recognize the potential opportunities ahead of me. 

I am in total awe of Brendon Burchard’s ability to stay focused, motivated and physically able to talk after four days of presentations.  He was amazing and just the type of speaker I best enjoy – one with humour and the ability to laugh at himself, while delivering useful information.

People have been asking me about what was major takeaway and to be honest, I am still synthesizing the experience, but I know I have learned a lot, and bit by bit I will be implementing the knowledge gained. In fact, Brendon gave us a 90-day challenge – so stay tuned.

Like the hard drive on my computer, I need to clear some space so I can incorporate this new learning, which means I have to delete some prior perspectives and adapt to this new reality.

It speaks to the fact that someone in her sixties still has room to grow, and right now, like children, I am on a growth spurt.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

How to control your calendar, instead of it controlling you

Our little dog loves to collect sticks, which he proudly carries part of the way on his walks, and then drops it when he sees another one that’s bigger and better.  He’s quite ambitious and always aims for the large twigs, but I’ve noticed, when it has several branches, he’s quite smart, he breaks them off, so it is easier for him to manage.

It’s a bit like what we have to do when we take on a large project.  It can be overwhelming, and as some of us heard from Fay Chapple the other day, the thing to do is first think about the project in chunks, and what needs to be done first, and then what’s next etc…

But to be sure you actually get to it, put it in your calendar.  So say on Tuesday, you will block off time to work on the first part, then Friday the next, and so on.  I actually call that the “Swiss Cheese” approach, breaking down a project into manageable bites.  It’s actually a strategy I used with my kids when they had large assignments for school.

Perhaps it is a leftover from my magazine days, but personally I work well to deadlines and then I work back as to when I can get the work done.  If I don’t have a deadline, the task can drift on and reappear on my to-do list for weeks.

In fact, Fay’s advice was that if a task comes up three times and you still haven’t done it, you likely aren’t going to, so you need to decide whether someone else could do it for you, or that it’s not a priority, and let it go.

Her other gem from the presentation was to use Google ‘s online calendar as then you can check wherever you are if you are available for a suggested appointment.  That one I am trying out.

The fall is always such a busy time, with so much to schedule and activities to fit in. It makes sense to try and control your calendar, rather than have it control you.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Go for the gusto

Last week I attended the funeral of my friend’s father who was 96.  Yes, he’d had a good innings and he’d truly made the most of them.

While he had to retire at 65, he chose to keep working, taking contracts and so forth until he was 80.  He lived independently until he was 93, and only then, when his health was failing, did he move into a retirement complex.

He was one feisty old boy.  I first met Lloyd when he was around 80.  Always game to try something new, he insisted on coming along with his daughter and her husband to our annual Burns Party, so he could sample some haggis first hand.  He became a regular after that, and even though he was at least 30 years older than the rest of our guests, everyone loved to see him there.  He was interested, and interesting. 

Always up for a new adventure, in his later years, he bought a large boat which required a lot of work, and for which he had to get his mariner’s license… needless to say … he did. But you know what, he couldn’t swim, but he didn’t let that small fact get in the way.

I share his story because I wish we could all take a dose of Lloyd’s energy and enthusiasm for life.   When we live life with gusto, not much gets you down.  Oh sure there will be some mistakes and mishaps along the way, but when we act as if tomorrow may never come, we live our lives to the fullest.

And even with the kinks on the journey, when you have the right attitude, you can overcome and jump  over these hurdles.  It makes me think of a tree we have growing on our property.  For some reason it is all twisted and curled up, which you think would kill it, but no, the leaves are still there, it is still growing.  That’s what we need to do.

Acknowledge the curveballs, perhaps make some adjustments, but carry on.  Don't give up.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Telemarketing - I am fine thanks, but no thanks.

Because I have been home more the past few weeks with the puppy (don’t worry, not another dog parable),  I have noticed how many telemarketing calls we get.

Whatever happened to that “no call” program the government introduced?  Sure isn’t working.  I particularly resent getting calls on the weekend or in the evening as that’s family time as far as I am concerned.  But even the government seems to have got into the game, with some survey they want completed.

As I told the person who first called, it is a Sunday at 7.00pm and I don’t appreciate you phoning me now.  But they don’t give up.  Got another call on a Saturday, same survey, same time. I realize that this is likely when they catch people at home, but really…

It leads me to ask does telemarketing work?  I have to wonder because certainly if their success depended on me, they wouldn’t be doing well at all.  I never, ever purchase anything after a cold call. Plus no one seems to keep any records, because without fail the same company will call you again about window glazing, heating or construction.  You’d think they’d save time and keep track of who says no.  Plus no one wants repeated rejection. I recognize these sales folks are just doing their job, and I feel sorry for them, but not enough to make a purchase. 

You can always tell when the pitch is coming.  First there’s a silence on the line while they connect to you.  Then they ask how you are before launching into their spiel.  While I try to remain polite, it’s after they ask how I am that I start to cut them off.  I don’t want to waste their time or mine. 

What’s been your experience?