I came across a great eBook last week, The Luck Factor, by Richard Wiseman. I was struck by one of the principles on page 5: “Lucky people build and maintain a strong network of luck.” As I read more about the network of luck concept, I realized that it has a lot to do with what I call creating positive personal impact and with relationship building. Building a network of luck has three components: meeting a large number of people, being a social magnet and keeping in contact with people. Take a look and see for yourself…
“Lucky people dramatically increase the possibility of a lucky chance encounter by meeting a large number of people in their daily lives. The more people they meet, the greater opportunity they have of running into someone who could have a positive effect on their lives.
“Social magnets attract others because, without realizing it, they exhibit the types of body language and facial expressions that other people find attractive and inviting. Lucky people exhibit exactly the same pattern of behaviors. Upon reviewing video tapes of interviews with (self described) lucky and unlucky people, we found that lucky people smiled three times as much as unlucky people, and engage in far more eye contact. The lucky people also tended to engage in three times as much open body language as the unlucky people.
“Lucky people are also effective at building secure and long-lasting attachments with the people they meet. They are easy to get to know and most people like them. They tend to be trusting and form close friendships with others. As a result, they often keep in touch with a much larger number of friends and colleagues than unlucky people. This network of friends helps promote opportunity in their lives.”
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are interpersonally competent. Interpersonally competent people build strong relationships. According to The Luck Factor, strong relationships help you make your own luck – and success. It’s not difficult to make your own luck by building relationships. Just do three things:
1) say hello to people, initiate conversation;
2) act in an inviting manner, make eye contact, display open body language and smile; and
3) stay in touch with the people you meet, turn contacts into relationships.
That’s my take on The Luck Factor and interpersonal competence. What’s yours? Do you have any stories to share about how chance encounters turned into lucky relationships for you? If so, please share them with us in a comment. As always, thanks for reading.
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If you’re like most people, you always have more to do then there is time to do it. I’m pretty good at managing my time, but I do get stressed and overwhelmed occasionally. Time is a very precious and non renewable resource. When a moment is gone, it’s gone forever. In this post, I’d like to discuss how you can better manage your time.
When you think of your time, all activities fit into one of four categories:
• Not Important and Not Urgent
• Not Important and Urgent
• Important and Urgent
• Important and Not Urgent
Unfortunately, a lot of people spend a lot of time engaged in not important and not urgent activities. Surfing the web is one of the biggest culprits in this area. I, like most people today, search for and find a lot of the information I need on line. I am pretty disciplined, yet I can caught up following interesting links when I am researching something on the internet. Following links after you’ve found what you’re looking for is not important and not urgent activity. It is a waste of time and a productivity killer.
Not important and urgent activities can become time traps. These are the kinds of things that you have to do, but in the greater scheme of things, they are not likely to do much to help you become a professional success. These are things like expense reports that must be done within so many days of a trip, weekly staff meetings that you either lead or attend – the types of things that you have to do, but don’t contribute to your larger goal. The trick is to get these activities done in a timely manner, but not to spend a lot of your precious time doing them.
Important and urgent activities are just what they seem. I write this blog five days a week. My blog is a very important marketing tool. It increases my awareness in a very crowded market. It positions me as an expert. And it reinforces my Common Sense Guy brand. Writing and posting my blog is an important and urgent activity. I do it first thing every day. I’m sure that you have several important and urgent activities on your to do list too. Do them, and do them well.
Important but not urgent activities are where you get the real payoff when it comes to creating your professional success. It’s important to become a lifelong learner. That’s why you need to read, join professional organizations and volunteer for projects in your company. You probably don’t need to read every day and join all of the professional organizations in your field and industry. These activities are just not that urgent. However, you have to make time for them over the long run. If you don’t, you’ll find that you are falling behind, not getting ahead or standing still.
Another example – my books serve much the same purpose as my blog. They increase my awareness in a very crowded market; position me as an expert and reinforce my Common Sense Guy brand. I don’t need to work on a new book every day. Writing a book is an important but not urgent task for me. I manage this by budgeting at least three hours per week to write. As one book goes into the editing and production process, I get busy writing another. In that way, I never find myself without a forthcoming book.
It can be hard to budget time for important but not urgent activities because they are, well not urgent. However, important but not urgent activities left unattended will soon become important and urgent and may even become career crises. My best advice is to focus on your personal set of important but not urgent activities and build some time into your daily or weekly schedule to work on them.
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are outstanding performers. Outstanding performance is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success. Outstanding performers manage their time, life and stress well. If you want to manage your time well follow this advice. Engage in “not important and not urgent” activities like web surfing in your leisure time only. Complete “not important but urgent” activities quickly and move on. Focus on “important and urgent” tasks. Get them done well and in a timely manner. Create time to work on “important but not urgent” tasks. This will give you a leg up on your competition and lead to your personal and professional success.
That’s my take on time management. What’s yours? What is your time management system? Please take a minute and share it with you by leaving a comment. In case you’re wondering. I think of reading and commenting on blog posts as an important, but not urgent personal development activity. Thanks for setting aside some time to read this one.
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“The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” Samuel Johnson
If you are going to set and achieve high goals, you need to develop positive habits. This is true for both positive and negative habits. At first, you hardly feel either of them. However, over time they can become your master. This blog is a good example. When I first started writing it, I decided to post five days a week. At first, I had to consciously work at finding a topic and writing 500 or 600 words every day – this one is very long at 1,000 words. Gradually, posting to this blog became ingrained in me to the point where I began noticing things in my everyday life and thinking “that would make for a great blog post.” Now, the habit is so strong that I make time to write and post every day. I wouldn’t feel a work day would be complete without writing a blog post.
Unfortunately, this phenomenon works the other way too. I like to bicycle. I ride almost every day in warm weather. However, I don’t ride very often in the winter months. And, as the old cycling saying goes, “the first crank is the hardest.” In other words, I find it hard to get back on my bike after a three or four month layoff. Once I get out of the habit of riding, I find it hard to get back into it. Ever had a similar experience? How did you reverse the negative habit?
Dan Robey is a friend of mine and the author of a great book, The Power of Positive Habits. He sent a killer e mail about “going for it.” Dan talked about your “IT” goal. The goal that is most important to you. Dan is a sharing guy. He has given me permission to excerpt any of his e mails any time I think his thoughts will benefit the readers of this blog. Dan’s thoughts on an “IT” goal are certainly worth sharing. See for yourself…
"IT" can be any worthwhile goal:
These are just a few examples. Your "IT" could be something completely different. However, I have no doubt that you have an "IT" goal and that your life will change for the better when you reach it.
I challenge you right now, as you read these words to take the plunge, to make the decision right now, TO GO FOR IT!
Because “IT” matters. Because "IT" can change your life. Because success is always more difficult than mediocrity but the rewards are HUGE! Because you CAN do it.
Do this right now.
Dan’s last point brings us back to Samuel Johnson. You become your habits. Habits are self reinforcing. Positive habits will lead to personal and professional success. Negative habits will add roadblocks to your success.
The common sense point here is clear. Successful people are outstanding performers. Outstanding performers consciously develop positive habits – in their work, their home life, and in their health and well being. These positive habits become indistinguishable from who they are. If you want to become an outstanding performer, you need to consciously choose positive habits. On the other hand, if you want to become an outstanding performer and a personal and professional success, you need to break any negative habits you have developed over the years. The longer you put up with your bad habits, the more difficult they are to break.
Outstanding performance is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success. If you want to become an outstanding performer, you need to do three things. 1) Stay on top of things in your field by becoming a lifelong learner. 2) Set and achieve high goals. 3) Get organized. Manage your time, life and stress well.
That’s my take on outstanding performance and habits – positive and negative. What’s yours? How do you reinforce your positive habits? How have you successfully broken negative habits that were inhibiting your personal and professional success? Please leave a comment sharing your stories with us. As always, thanks for reading.
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