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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?



Knowing the answer will help you plan the route to attain it

D0 YOU often look at successful people with a longing eye and wish you were like them? In her book If Success is a Game, These are the Rules, Dr Cherie Carter-Scott shares 10 simple rules to guide you to achieve the success that you desire.

1. Each person has his/her own definition of success

Success can be many things — it can be a concept, an experience, a dream or something that you are trying to grasp at. However, the true essence of success is feeling satisfied and fulfilled internally. It is not judged by external benchmarks. Consider a person, who volunteers at the hospital to read to children with cancer. Is he any less of a success than the business tycoon who masterminds corporate buyouts?

Some might equate success with financial freedom, or to changing the status quo, or even being able to raise their children well — what is important is that you set your own standard and know what success means to you.

2. Wanting success is the first step towards attaining it

Your ownership of the desire for success is the initial thrust that will start you on your quest. By harnessing the intensity, drive and causality. you can make things happen. No soccer team would win their championship if they just said "it would be nice if ..." Team members must have an intense desire to win that will propel them to success.

3. Self-trust is essential

Knowing and trusting yourself leads you to the path that is uniquely yours. This self-trust can be tapped only after you truly know your purpose in life — what do you want your life to be about? What matters to you? Stop being a passive participant in your life — are you the driver or passenger?

4. Goals are the stepping stones on your path

When you drive from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, you know you are nearing the city by distance markers along the way.

Likewise, goals are the mileposts to motivate you to reach the finish line.

How often have you put off making goals because you were afraid of failure? Sure, it might seem unsettling, because of the possibility of disappointment, but missing goals does not equate to failing. You can revise deadlines and re-evaluate them.

5. Your actions affect your outcomes

What you say, do or think directly affects the results you produce, and this puts the power of making your goals happen in your
hands.

Focus on what you want to do, not how you are going to do it. Knowing specifically what you want moves you into action steps you can take. -

For example, Erlina wanted to start a gourmet ice-cream store. She began by mapping out
her action plan: She listed down the things that she needed to do —research on other ice-cream joints, find out more about franchises available, register the company and so on.

Since the first item seemed to be least threatening, she began with that and was inspired to pick another "to do" item on her list.

All that is required to move into action is that you venture forth. What is most important is to take the first step.

6. Opportunities will present themselves

Opportunities in life may be glaringly obvious or hidden, and you will be faced with many decisions throughout your life.

Assess the opportunities with your head, heart and gut, and trust your intuition. Do a cost/benefit analysis to establish whether the opportunity is worth taking . Risk -taking might be unsettling, but it might lead to the most exhilarating moment of your life!

7. Each setback provides valuable lessons

Setbacks build character and perseverance, if you do not give up. Determination was what kept star basketball player Michael Jordan practising and improving his game after he was cut from his high school team!

If you are to succeed, however, learn how to deal with disappointments that come your way. Acknowledge that there will be obsta¬cles and things might not always go as you want them to.

8. Managing your resources maximises your efforts

Time, energy, relationships and finances are elements that can impede success or enhance it. Make them work for instead of against you.

Organise your time to give you the freedom to create, think clear thoughts and live life effectively, as opposed to being weighed down by tasks. time constraints and chaos.

Maintain your energy by finding a balance in your life. spending it wisely, and recharging when necessary.

9. Every level of success brings new challenges

Attaining some form of success does not mean the end of the game. A promotion might mean added responsibility and pressure, but if you are prepared to deal with changes and stay humble, you can keep your perspective and maintain your integrity.

10. Success is a process that never ends

There is no magic door labeled "Destination: Success" that you can enter permanently. It turns, bends and curves, and can place you at a vantage point that enables you to see a whole new world of opportunities and challenges.

Being successful is a process that never ends because our definitions of success are constantly changing and evolving. Live fully for the moment and enjoy the journey!

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

SUCCESS COMES WITH A PRICE



... but do not let that stop you from living up to your potential.

AS STRANGE as it sounds, many people actually fear success. And this fear holds them back from achieving their goals and dreams.

But how could anyone possibly fear such a wonderfully positive thing as success? It may sound more reasonable to fear failure, so what is this all about?

Here are some reasons why people fear success:

1. Change itself is scary

It is easier to maintain status quo and go along unthinkingly. Life is easier when you can live it on autopilot. Change brings you into the unknown with its mix of exciting adventure and scary possibilities.

2. People will expect you to succeed again

There is a new pressure to perform to a level you did not have to before. You are aware of people watching and waiting for you to repeat your good performance.

3. The bar has been raised on your perfor¬mance levels

Your old habits and processes will not work. You have to change familiar and comfortable ways of doing things for the new.

4. You will get more attention from people

If you are a private person. or are not used to having an audience, being in the limelight will take some adjusting to.

5. Your private life may suffer
Athletes and actors who make it big complain that they no longer have privacy, and that they must hire security personnel and worry about financial and personal safety issues.
6. You question if you can do it again

If you succeed the first time, and fail the next time, people will say it was a fluke. This puts added pressure on this second performance and takes away the value of the first perfor¬mance should you fail.
7. People expect you to “be" a certain way now

Famous stars in show business are expected to be big tippers or to sign autographs, and if they do not, are denigrated. People have a set of expectations about how you should behave in your new position.
8. It is harder to stay at the top than to get there

It was tough succeeding, but maintaining your success is usually even harder. It takes more time, more planning and with your new distractions and obligations, keeping focus is even more demanding.

9. You make enemies when you perform better than others

You may leave former peers behind, symbolically and literally. when you raise the bar. Many people may be happy for your success but some may feel slighted and envious.

10. Your time demands will change

You have less time now because maintaining new levels of performance brings new demands on your time and new experiences you have never had.

11. Being a success can limit you

When an actor makes it big in a role, he is forever remembered as that character - and if he does not manage his career well, he will become typecast.

When you do a great job on a project, you might be known as "the one" to do this job for eternity because you are "so good" at it.
12. Being a success changes your self-image

Perhaps you have always wondered if you could succeed at something. You may not have felt worthy of this success.

People may have told you. covertly or overtly, that you do not deserve success. You, at least, know your place as one who is average.

When you succeed, people will look to you for advice, leadership and as being a model of virtue, and it will forever change how you see yourself.


Do any of these reasons strike a chord with you? If you are afraid of being successful, think these points through, and seek the advice of a career coach or mentor who can help you resolve these issues.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

WINNING IN THE GAME OF LIFE



Take the cue from top sports personalities like Tiger Woods and apply the laws of winning in your personal and work life.

SPORTS champions know how to win and accomplish their dreams. They have learned the secrets of winning and success in sport. The mental game concepts that follow are familiar ones in the sports world. Examine these principles and laws of winning in sport and see how you can apply them in your daily life.

1. GO EXTRA MILE. Making that extra effort can make the difference between winning and just barely losing. It means going the extra mile — when you are tired, when victory is not a guarantee, when things look bleak. Champions routinely push themselves.

2. GET IT DONE. High achievers use this phrase constantly to display their commitment to the task at hand. They will do whatever it takes, against all odds, to succeed, once they have made the commitment to succeed.

3. THE KILLER INSTINCT. Champions know how to finish off a contest once a lead is established. They have no qualms about defeating the opponent. They keep their sights aimed at victory and are unrelenting as they forge ahead.

4. RAISING YOUR GAME. Performance levels must be ratcheted up at various stages of a contest. To seize an opportunity to win, the champion digs deep and pulls up from within the all-encompassing desire to succeed that takes him to the next level.

5. COMING FROM BEHIND. Champions know how to win even on a bad day. They hope for the best but also have plans for the worst. They are able to kick themselves out of the cellar and find a way to win, even if it is not pretty.

6. PLAYING TO WIN. Champions are not bashful or ashamed to say that they love winning. They play positively, confidently and play like they mean it. They take bold, yet reasoned chances and believe that they will succeed.

7. AVOID "PLAYING NOT TO LOSE”. Losers or also-rans play not to lose. They play scared, they worry about making errors, they are indecisive and they doubt themselves. When they get a lead, they protect it and are fearful of losing it. Champions hate to lose more than they love to win and will do everything in their power to make sure they win.

8. AVOID “PROTECTING A LEAD”. Champions do not attempt to protect leads. They seek to increase leads. Also-rans try to protect a lead and lose in the process. Champions step up to the plate and go for it even more because they allow that surge of confidence to take them over and go to the next level as they increase momentum.

9. DIGGING DEEP. Champions live or those make-it or break-it piv¬otal moments in a contest. They compete to taste those times when only a supreme, back-breaking effort will propel them to victory. They want to have a story to tell. They want to be in a contest that is meaningful and significant and that will be remembered for a long, long time. They reach deep down inside to find the magic needed to win.

10. IN THE ZONE. High achievers Inn how to climb into that optimal performance zone and ride the wave of success. They know how to get in the flow and allow things to happen. They do not get in their own way and block them¬selves. They soar with success.

11. GETTING THE MOMENTUM. Peak performers understand and use momentum to their advantage. Every "contest" has momentum and the secret is to identify it and tap into it. The champion increases momentum and the chances of success by ramping up energy and by taking more risks. No mind games A true champion does not need to play mind games. He is aware of all potential mind games that various opponents may indulge in and is ready for them. The champion counters all mind games and maintains true integrity.


Champions are a different breed. Are they born this way or do they develop the attributes of winners? Whatever it is, you can learn from them, be inspired by them, use them as benchmarks and view them as role models. Just as they win the mental game of sport, you can win the mental game of life.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

TRUST ME, I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING


Even if you do not know how to fix a problem, it is important to think of ways to handle it, instead of looking on helplessly

COMPETENCE goes beyond hav­ing a specific expertise. It cer­tainly means being knowledge­able and skilful in your field. But it also means possessing a problem-solving ability that goes beyond your own speciality.

Even if you do not know an answer or how to fix a problem, you will know how to go about getting some­one who does — if you have compe­tence.

Competence means having a can-do attitude and knowing how to fol­low through a problem.

You know incompetence when you see it. I speak a lot in public, and once in a while. I run into a situation where the person handling the tech­nical aspects of the event — the audio-visuals - does not know what to do when something goes wrong.

For example, there is feedback in the microphone or the projector is showing the slides crooked, and the person — who obviously has not had the right training for the job — looks on helplessly.

Some of them actually look at me to see if I know how to fix it!

I am happy to say that, the great majority of the time, I work with peo­ple who are truly competent at what they do.

When something goes wrong —like a buzz in the public address sys­tem, for instance — they may not know exactly where it is coming from, but they know how to trou­bleshoot to find it.

They check one piece of equip­ment, and then another, and then another, until they find the problem.

Exhibiting competence in knowing what you are doing, or knowing how to get something done, is communi­cated to others in a variety of ways.

There is the obvious level of actu­ally being able to do what you say you can do.

Your "non-verbals" — how you look, the sound of your voice — go a long way towards conveying compe­tence.

So does the style of behaviour you choose — whether you come across as a very casual person, or as some­one who is a professional and takes yourself seriously. Notice I said, "the style of behaviour you choose", because you do have a choice.

That is my tip on competence: You can choose to behave in a way that exudes competence, or you can choose to undercut what skills you do have by looking and acting as if you are not sure of yourself.

Your ability to gain influence with other people is dependent on how they see you, whether they judge you to be trustworthy, and whether they think you really know what you are talking about or can manage the tasks you claim you can.

You will go a long way towards gaining that trust when you are able to impress them with your compe­tence.

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

THE ART OF NEGOTIATION



Have you ever had a discussion with yourself about when to go to bed? The word "negotiation" may conjure thoughts of hostage standoffs and high-stakes labour disputes, but there's a more quotidian brand of conflict resolution that enters daily life at nearly every turn. Negotiation, in fact, doesn't necessarily even require another person.

Mary P. Rowe, an ombudsman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge), encourages people to think of negotiation as "all interactions between two or more points of view: it's possible to negotiate with yourself."

Negotiations crop up on the way to decisions big and small-when to fill the gas tank, how to spend money, who picks up the kids, when to have sex, whether to get married.

Granted, forging a compromise over which DVD to watch isn't the same as signing the Camp David Accords, but regular human beings can benefit from the same skills world leaders use to solve problems. And best of all, getting better at reaching agreement is pretty painless.

Principled negotiation is a strategy that seeks to move both parties away from polarising and usually entrenched positions, and into the realm of interests. It asks how both parties can get their interests satisfied while keeping their relationship strong. Negotiating well means neither party need feel cheated, manipulated, or taken advantage of.

Psychologist Daniel L Shapiro, associate director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, has trained Palestinian and Israeli negotiators. He taught members of the Serbian parliament how to negotiate.

When Shapiro was dating his wife, Mia, a painful imbroglio erupted after he asked her to watch his apartment while he was away. He returned to discover she had redecorated. Gone was his "cool" construction lantern. The card table he ate on had a new flowered tablecloth.

"In truth, it looked better," but Shapiro was incensed. The trouble, he recognised later, was that Mia had inadvertently trampled his autonomy. That turns out to be one of five "core concerns" his research identifies as critical in creating disputes and finding resolution.

The other core concerns are appreciation, or having actions acknowledged: affiliation, being treated as a colleague: status, feeling that others respect one's standing: and having roles and activities that are fulfilling. Cross one of the needs and conflict arises. Respect them, and com¬promise is around the corner.

The most important element of effective negotiation, says Rowe, is preparation, preparation, preparation. She recommends drafting a letter that includes an objective statement of the facts, explains how those facts were injurious, and outlines what the writer thinks should happen

Even if the letter is never sent, writing it can help clarify what is needed to repair any damage.

If there is not enough time for a letter, even a 10-minute break from a highly charged situation allows murky issues to be thought through and real needs to come to light.

'There's a saying among negotiators that whoever talks the most during a negotiation loses," says Bobby Covic, author of Everything's Negotiable! How to Bargain Better to Get What You Want (Pendulum Press, 2004). Being the first one to listen is crucial to building trust. Just getting the listening part of a negotiation right can satisfy many of the core concerns Shapiro cites.

However, listening - really paying attention to what the other person has to say - is hard. Gregorio Billikopf, a negotiator for the University of California system, offers several good lis¬tening practice:
SIT DOWN. This signals to the other person that time will be spent to hear their side. Never ask someone to talk if there isn't enough time to listen.

FIND COMMON GROUND. Approach the other person by talking about a neutral topic of mutual interest, say, baseball or knitting. It helps both parties relax and starts the flow of conversation. Transition to the problem by saying, "I want to talk about an issue important to me, but first I want to hear what you have to say about it."

MOVE IN LEARNING. Learning in to the conversation indicates interest. Head nods also help in letting the other side know their thoughts are being followed. But constant nodding or saying "right" over and over will seem insincere.

KEEP YOUR COOL. Experts agree on ground rules for communicating problems -no yelling and no walking away.

BE BRIEF. Don't go on and on, says Billikopf. He also suggests avoiding words such as "we disagree", a phrase that throws a person on the defensive.

FORGET NEUTRALITY. Trying to control your emotions usually backfires, says Shapiro. The other person can read anger and frustration, and negative emotions ruin negotiations. Instead, mine the situation to find whatever positive emotions can be brought to the table - like letting a spouse who's fallen behind on his end of the chores know that his hard work is admirable and the extra money he's earning is appreciated.
AVOID EMPTY THREATS. Intimidation can be powerful -but use it sparingly. Empty threats will diminish the other person's respect for you.

DON'T YIELD. Caving on important issues may seem noble, says Billikopf, but it ruins a relationship. "You're not asking the other person to consider your point of view," he says. Instead, look for compromises. Compromise is like stretching. Stop doing it and pretty soon there's no way to bend at all.

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