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Archive for June, 2009

“Winning in business or in personal life is all about inches: going small distances successfully; then going farther still.”  —  Vince Lombardi


A lot of success pundits, coaches, and motivational authors and speakers tell you to THINK BIG. Have a big vision in order to succeed. And I agree. Having a bigger vision of what you want to accomplish is necessary to accomplish big things. But more and more these days I find myself coaching clients to think small.

If you or a loved one are out of work, and have been out of work for some time, it’s often difficult to think about the perfect job, or the position you are hoping to rise to in five years. At this stage of the game, many just want a paying job, preferably with benefits. This is not the time to think big…it’s the time to think small.

Focus on the little things in life that we so often take for granted. And appreciate the opportunities that are in front of you…instead of focusing on the fear and lack. You can spend more time with your loved ones, help the children with their homework, toss the ball with the dog, plant some flowers. You can teach yourself a new skill, or take a local adult ed class. Join a Meet Up group. If you are out of work, remember that while it may not feel that way…you are NOT going to be out of work forever. Take advantage of the time you have now.

It’s time to think small when a project you are working on just feels HUGE. If the project you’re working on is so big, with so many moving parts, that you become overwhelmed every time you think about it, let alone try to work on it. This is the time to focus on just the next few itty bitty steps. Locate the phone number of the person you want to call…schedule the time to call on your calendar. Outline the chapters of the book you want to write…commit to writing just one chapter a month. Declutter one drawer rather than thinking about decluttering a whole house. Baby steps.

It may be time to think small about your business too. When we’re in a Think Big state, we (or is it just me?) often complicate things with too many ideas, too many projects. It can be overwhelming, and we do it to ourselves.

FIVE TIPS FOR THINKING SMALL

1.   Pick just one or two things to focus on each day. One of the challenges I find most clients face is that they are trying to do too much in too little time. The result is too little is finished, or sometimes even gotten too. If you commit to focusing on one or two things in a day, you’ll likely find you will get more done and feel less stressed.

2.  Revel in the little things. Go out and literally smell the roses, or the garlic. Slow down and appreciate your surroundings. Taste your food instead of inhaling it. Stop to have real conversations instead of quick interactions.

3.  Get rid of things. Not just physical clutter, but mental clutter as well. Review the obligations you’ve committed yourself to…do they really serve you? Do you need to withdraw from some? Stop carrying to-do’s in your head. Do a mind dump and put your ideas, your to-dos, the things you are tolerating (like those doctor appointments you haven’t made or that missing button) down on paper. Decide what you will do and what you won’t, and tackle them one at a time.

4.  Focus on being good at what you do, rather than being the biggest or most prolific. If you shift your focus to being good, or even great, you’ll begin to do things differently. If you were hiring an advertising firm…would you rather hire the largest one or the boutique firm where the principle spent time on your account?

5.  Allow yourself double (or triple) the time for everything you do. If you think that writing a letter will take you no more than ten minutes, allow yourself a half hour. If you finish in less time than that…go watch the clouds.

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