July 2018
The Leading Edge - Taking Care of Business
Take 60 Seconds Now!


Take 60 Seconds Now!

Are you too busy? Does everything seem to be going so fast you can't catch your breath? Is your brain beginning to get foggy - are you suffering brain overload?

Running a business can be all encompassing - it often seems like there's no break from one activity to another, from one demand on your time to the next. The noise is incessant and eventually there comes a time when you can't fit anything else in - you start to spiral and you are in danger of crashing and burning.

If that sounds like your life right now, STOP! Seriously, there gets a point where carrying on doing everything just because it NEEDS to be done will be dangerous to your health and your business. We all make excuses, "I can't spare a moment, I have to do all this, if I don't do it no one will and it has to be done now - right now." Does that sound familiar?

If it does, and your head is spinning and you know deep down your decisions are becoming sketchy you need to clear your head - give it a reboot. Before you say, "I don't have time!" take a look at the list below and choose just one thing to do right now, right this minute. Some of the items on the list can be done in 60-seconds. Others may take a little longer, but none of them take long. Once you experience the benefit, do one every day and start to clear out that old attic you call your head. Some of these can be done at work others at home.

  • Set the timer on your phone for 60-seconds and simply breathe - focus on your breath, nothing else. There now - that feels better doesn't it? Feel free to increase the time as you begin to notice the benefit of just a few seconds of nothing.
  • Go out for a walk and really stop to notice the beautiful things around you. Do it - even if it's just for five minutes.
  • Okay, you can't leave your office. Stay where you are and clean off your desk and get yourself more organized. Doesn't that feel better? Uncluttered desk, uncluttered mind.
  • Delegate a task - it can be just one, but delegate something to someone. There, you just cleared some mental space.
  • Make a list of all you have to do and prioritize tasks over the next few days. Clear some space for today at least.
  • Share your stresses and struggles with someone - this can be at work or at home. Just talk, share, unload a little.
  • Ask someone for help, and listen when someone offers to help you - don't be a martyr.
  • Go for coffee or lunch with a business colleague - choose someone who makes you feel good about yourself.
  • Book time to do something you love - treating yourself to time makes room in the brain.
  • Sit and think for 3-minutes about why you do what you do. If you discover you are only doing it because...then you may want to reconsider your long-term goals. Hopefully, you will reconnect with your mission, goals and objectives. It's like pressing a reset button.
  • Hug someone - someone who likes to be hugged, not just anyone, that could lead to problems. If all else fails hug yourself.
  • Pet a dog or a cat - connect with their unconditional love.
  • Eat a healthy meal or resist a muffin or cookie. Then, feel self-satisfied.
  • Call a loved one - yes even if you are busy working - and tell them you love them. Feel good now?

Use this list as a starting point. You can only shove so much into that brain of yours before something breaks. As entrepreneurs we put ourselves through a whole lot of stress and we think we are invincible - we often even take pride in being a workaholic. But no one can keep pushing themselves forever - something will break and it might just be you.

Take 60-seconds right now and breathe - just breathe.

Take 60 Seconds Now!


Adopt, Adapt, Innovate

Too often we get so caught up in our own personal and business lives that our thinking gets stale. One way to ensure that you are thinking outside the box, or at least your own box, is to pick up on successful ideas that are being adopted by other businesses. Then you can adapt and innovate the trend to increase the success of your own business, while at the same time keeping ahead of your competition.

So, how does that work exactly?

First, take a close look at your direct competition. Those businesses either close to you geographically, or who sell directly to your market. Ask yourself the following questions.

  1. In general, what are they doing differently from my company?
  2. More specifically, are they selling the same products and services as me? If they are, are they packaging them differently, pricing them differently, distributing them differently? If they aren't should I diversify my product range or service offering?
  3. Is what they are doing likely to be thought of positively by my customers?
  4. How do they advertise and promote what they sell?
  5. Do they sell to the same customers as me? If not, should I be selling to that market too?
  6. What do I consider are their strengths? How do I stack up against them in these areas?
  7. What are their weaknesses? Can I make any of them my businesses strengths?

Write down your answers to each of the questions and then look for ideas and strategies that might benefit your business if you adopted them. Write down your ideas and strategies.

Now, see how you might adapt what they are doing to fit your company, your budget and your operation.

Finally, look for ways you can improve on what they're doing. This is the innovation part of the equation.

Second, carry out the same exercise with similar businesses in other parts of the country, or even other parts of the world. Every business is different and you can use that to your advantage. Seek out innovative ideas then adopt or adapt them to your circumstances and build innovation on to their base.

Third, you can also carry out the same exercise with companies that sell different products and services to you but target the same demographic. Businesses within an industry often get stuck in a rut when it comes to marketing what they sell. The adopt, adapt, innovate exercise works well when used on non-competing businesses in different markets and industries because it shakes up your thinking. For instance the owner of a used car dealership could get ideas to adopt, adapt and innovate from a yacht broker.

Take 60 Seconds Now!


Coach's Corner - Not Always According to the Plan

In David Richo's book entitled "The Five Things We Cannot Change..." he outlines what he calls five unavoidable givens.

  1. Everything changes and ends.
  2. Things do not always go according to plan.
  3. Life is not always fair.
  4. Pain is part of life.
  5. People are not loving and loyal all the time.

Although it is worth reflecting upon each of these givens and to note how each impacts on both our personal and business lives, it is the second "given" that we may find ourselves struggling with at certain stages.

Many times we have an idea or goal in mind, something that seems important to us in achieving. We have become invested in a particular outcome, whether it is of a personal or business nature. We become entrenched in focusing that this is the only endpoint we will accept.

There are times when things happen outside of our control, that throw a wrench into our plans. As well thought out and developed as our plans might be, these external circumstances may have shifted the playing field. They may have thrown up barriers, making our plan obsolete or at least delayed it indefinitely.

What happens when we suddenly realize that our planned expectations will not be realized? How do we handle the disappointment? How do we make the best of it?

It is at times like these that our reactions and actions are crucial to overcoming the roadblocks. Blaming and complaining only exacerbate our steps, as negativity gets in the way of moving ahead. By focusing on the negatives, we are impeding steps forward.

Once we realize the plan has been thwarted in some way, we need to accept the change of plan and shift to constructively moving forward. Without dwelling on the reasons that our plans will not be realized, we do need to reflect and ask ourselves questions that will lead us to positive solutions.

What was important to us about this particular plan? What were we trying to accomplish? What did we learn from the development of the plan that can be used going forward? Had we considered other plans before arriving at our desired strategy?

In asking ourselves these and other questions, we may find ourselves pursuing new ideas and dreams and in a better place than originally expected.

"In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching and Development


Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot
4757 Tebo Avenue, Port Alberni, BC, V9Y 8A9
Phone: 250-724-1241 | Fax: 250-724-1028