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Lies We Tell Ourselves, and Others

Optimal business performance demands we be honest with ourselves…and others!
I recently read an article about a recent survey that was conducted by Deluxe Corporation of small business owners, which found that more than 80% of them consider themselves more a leader than a follower, AND more than 75% identify as a doer rather than a delegator.
These numbers are so far removed from what I experience as a business coach/consultant, that they border on delusional.
This got me to thinking about the lies that we tell ourselves and others on an almost daily basis, in the course of our jobs or running a business. These lies reduce our workplace productivity, hinder our professional development, AND weaken our bonds/relationships with others by lowering the trust they have in us.
You know what I’m talking about. How often have you heard people say or said yourself:
* All our clients (vendors, partners, suppliers, EMPLOYEES) love us!
* I will start going to the gym next month. 
lying to ourselves
* I’ll start eating healthier soon.
* I will definitely call you back!
* I’ll get to that tomorrow.
* I’ve done enough planning to make a Go decision on my new business?
* My relationship with my business (relationship) partner(s) is just fine.
* I can plan, launch, grow this business on my own.
* I am a GREAT boss – I’m a LEADER, not a “manager.”
Two questions that beg asking are:
1) WHY do we do this so often; and
2) How can we hold ourselves accountable to ensure we don’t do this.
I suggest we are all guilty of this because we HATE coming face to face with the hard truth that we may be deficient/lacking in some capacity. Why do we have distorted views of our own reality? Why do we put off the uncomfortable tasks, encounters, meetings, follow-up calls that sit on our calendar and we keep putting off on our To-Do lists?
As an entrepreneur, business start-up or small business owner, being able to have complete truthfulness and self-awareness in our abilities, values, and behavioral
patterns is absolutely critical in planning, launching and growing a successful business. It’s of central importance in ensuring our professional development, career mobility, and interpersonal business relationships.
Lying To Ourselves – It’s Called Cognitive Dissonance.
This is such a prevalent aspect of our human nature that there is a huge body of psychological research and field of study called cognitive dissonance.
Social psychologists studying cognitive dissonance are interested in the way we deal with two thoughts that contradict each other – and how we deal with this contradiction. So if we think things about ourselves we don’t like or contradict our self-perception, we must reconcile the difference and that’s called Cognitive Dissonance. Don’t believe me? Read this awesome article on why we lie to ourselves.
The lies we tell others come back to haunt us. Often, as start-ups, entrepreneurs, or small business owners our word and how we act, treat others has a direct immediate impact on our personal and professional brand. The lies we tell add up and do much to destroy our reputational brand.
What do you think. don’t tell me you LOVE this…unless you mean it.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach

Achieve Workplace Productivity by 'NOT' Multi-Tasking

Being “in the now.” Achieve maximum workplace productivity by focusing on the task at hand.
Having watched (and coached) thousands of professionals to pursue their dream of entrepreneurship by starting a business, I am always amazed at the people who are constantly on the run, as they attempt to juggle so many tasks at once. They think that by multitasking they will achieve maximum workplace productivity. They foolishly believe they are performing at optimal levels of workplace performance.
They wear their multitasking work-life badge of honor as a Scarlet Letter sign that they are adept at “managing” so many different jobs, tasks, chores at ONCE.
I suggest that it is far from ideal to even attempt to manage multiple tasks at once. In fact, so many people are so distracted by so many things it’s a wonder they can achieve optimum levels of workplace performance at all. The truth is, they often can’t and DON’T! There’s even a well-researched psychological explanation to justify this. Read why humans are BAD at multitasking.
Research bears this out. Scientists have conducted extensive research to dispute the myth that we humans can multitask.
To gain maximum levels of productivity, I urge my entrepreneur, start-up, and small business owner clients to focus on the one critical task in front of them at the moment. Such a focused and singular approach to focusing 100% on the task at hand is referred to as: “BEING IN THE NOW!
Being in the now demands that we give our “UNDIVIDED” attention and full focus to the immediate job we are working on at any single given point in time. Don’t you hate being in meetings where people are constantly refusing to pay attention, pecking away at their PDAs, texting on their smart phones, checking their emails, or playing some mindless distraction/game?
when you are in the now you’ll find yourself applying a militaristic “Zen-like” focus on the task at hand. It demands that we bring our full arsenal of attention to bear on a problem or job to find the maximum number of potential solutions, think creatively, ask “WHY?” and “WHAT IF” and be fully engaged with others.
Being in the now requires us to apply creative problem-solving techniques and critical thinking strategies to resolve challenges. We humans are incapable of “multitasking.” It’s not how our brains work. We foolishly assume we can perform several tasks at optimum performance levels, but the sad truth is WE CAN’T.
Given the blurring of our work-life balance we may feel we have no choice. When they become overwhelmed (as many do because attempting to multitask is an unsustainable human approach to work) I urge my clients to SLOW DOWN! I have them take 15-30 minutes every day to set aside personal/private time in a quiet, secluded place. Once you can carve out “alone time” you can begin to think about the strategic issues you face. It’s your own personal time to free form associate, visualize, and think up new ways to solve problems, address long-term issues, begin planning for future work. Private time away from any/all distractions allows us to focus on the “big picture” items one at a time.
So, instead of trying to do as many things as you can at sub-optimal performance levels and achieving “AVERAGE” results at best, change your work behavior. Focus on one item at a time with all your considerable brain power, attention, and ability to solve problems and think creatively. You will be truly AMAZED at the high performance levels you are able to achieve.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach

This Vacation Achieve Work Life Balance

Your Work Shouldn’t Join You on Vacation. How to Achieve Work Life Balance on Vacation.
Entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small business owners don’t take much vacation time. When they do, they are constantly thinking about their business which does not help them achieve any meaningful work life balance.
While I always preach to my clients that they create a clear separation between their family time and their business time, the reality is many struggle to create boundaries. Their work planning, launching, and growing their business often intrudes into their private life. blends into their private lives.
The flip side is also often true, that they struggle to maintain/honor their family commitments since they are constantly focused on growing their business.
Between July 4th and Labor Day, this internal struggle business owners face in maintaining a balance is always in a heightened state of animation.
What can business owners do in order to create a clear division of work and family life this summer vacation season?
1. Set Boundaries Beforehand: An effective strategy to implement is to define parameters in which there can be no interference from your business while you and your family are away on vacation.
2. Assign Ownership: Before you head out on vacation, assign specific tasks and responsibilities you would normally assume to your staff and explain your expectations.
3. Block Out Time For Work Access: Set time frames each day or every few days that your employees can contact you and explain that those are the ONLY times you may be reached.
4. Leave Your Work At Work: It may be unrealistic to expect you to leave your cell phone, tablet or laptop at home, but don’t bring work with you. The reality is you’ll want to bring work and lie to yourself that you won’t do it when we all know the reason you bring it is you PLAN on doing work on vacation.
5. Set Family Expectations Beforehand: If you know you need to schedule a work call or do work during your family’s vacation, then sit down with them beforehand and explain the specific days and times you’ve set aside for work on vacation, then honor those commitments.
6. Change your attitude about family time: I ask my clients to truly “buy into” the benefit of disconnecting. Nearly all of my clients who take a vacation see at it as a
distraction or barrier to achieving their goals. Change your attitude!
7. What your tombstone will say: I always remind my clients that when all is said and done do they honestly believe their tombstone will read: “Hear lies (insert your name here.) They could have worked more hours.” SEE #8…
8. Define Your Legacy: Often it helps those entrepreneurs and start-ups who are just starting their business to write in complete details what it is that they hope to accomplish and leave behind. Some will say they want to launch a successful business and sell it. Others will say they want to plan, launch and grow a business so they can leave it for a family member.
I propose you extend your reasoning and ask: What are the impacts I want to achieve with this business on our society. When you are tasked with defining what you want your legacy to be, it will hopefully reinforce your values and by extension your family so you can intertwine them and maintain a co-equal balance between your business goals and what you want your impact to your family to be.
9. Let Others Know You’ve Left: Send out an email to all interested parties letting them know that you will be on vacation with family, you’re off-limits, and tell them when you’ll be back.
Well, that’s my list of suggested tactics you can employ to create a clear division between your work life and your family time. What do you think? What would you add to the list? How do YOU achieve work-life balance?
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach

How bad do you really want to start a business?

Can You Predict If You’ll Become a Successful Entrepreneur.
Today’s blog has been brewing in my mind for a long time, five years to be exact ever since I launched my own business start-up consulting firm.
I speak to hundreds of entrepreneurs and start-ups every week, as well as many want to be business owners who are trapped in unrewarding day jobs or unemployed and want to stop looking for work.
I can always spot the person that is passionate and totally committed to start a business. I can also spot the people that won’t. It has nothing to do with the completeness of their business, how many potential clients they have chatted with to get first hand research, not their ability to generate investment funding, or the amount of professional experience they possess.
It’s something more basic and primal, it’s the heart of what leads some to achieve greatness while so many others quit.
The people that I meet and consult with that I know are going to be successful at starting and growing a business all share one common trait and that is, they just WANT it more. I don’t have any real way of defining it, but I do know “IT” when I see it.
Want to know if you possess the “IT” needed to plan, launch and grow a successful business. Do you see any of the following qualities in yourself?
* They don’t put off their business planning when life’s schedule demands become untenable.
* They wake up at 3am because they remember something they had to work on.
* They push themselves beyond their physical, mental and emotional limits.
* They are never afraid to ask “WHY” and “WHAT IF?”
* They aren’t afraid to do the research and planning up-front but they don’t let themselves suffer from the paralysis of analysis as they prefer to test on the fly.
* They align themselves with all the right people and distance themselves from anyone that tells them not to pursue their dreams.
* They hate excuses, won’t tolerate excuses from themselves or others.
* They are naturally curious, love solving problems, enjoy puzzles, riddles.
* The business they are pursuing is a passion.
Well, that’s my short list of qualities that all successful entrepreneurs share and how I know someone that will start a business and be successful at it. I’m sure you can think of a lot more characteristics of world-class entrepreneurs. what are they?
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach

What Got You Here Won't Get You There. Pursue Business Transformation

You CAN Unstick Your Business, Through Business Transformation.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the many people that I encounter in my consulting work as a business coach.
If you believe what people say, then lots of folks are feeling “stuck” these days. They may not use the exact word, but man, do they sure feel “stuck” (trapped, unfulfilled, stagnant, unmotivated…) This feeling of general inertia and immobility is a recurring theme, whether we’re talking about people that feel unfulfilled at work, others who wish they could change industries, or the dreamers who want so passionately to leave the relative “security” (i.e. paycheck) of full-time employment to pursue their dream of starting a business. And there are the business owners who I consult with that have witnessed their company’s sales flat line the past few years and can’t escape the dead man’s zone of doing “business as usual.”
This topic of unsticking yourself is near and dear to my heart. I launched The Chazin Group in 2009 after deciding that 20 years in Corporate America was enough time wasted. I risked everything to go out on my own, to help as many people as I could unstick themselves. For some people I consult with, that means finding their dream job. For others, my work involves helping them realize their dream of starting their own business.
If you’re like the many folks who are feeling “stuck” these days, well cheer up! In my experience, there are many things that we can do to get us unstuck. However, be warned that unsticking yourself isn’t for the faint of heart. It demands a lot, from having the courage to initiate self-reflection and introspection by asking yourself often painful questions that demand brutal honesty. You MUST possess a willingness to embrace risk-taking, AND have a passion for lifelong learning. Oh yeah, you should also be the kind of person that loves moving along the roads less traveled, ESPECIALLY you business owners looking to achieve business transformation in these challenging times. Do you have what it takes to complete this heavy lifting? Great! Let’s get going!
* Ask yourself where your passions and strengths collide. Where they overlap, you have identified a very short list of potential ideal career options that you can and MUST pursue.
* What do you want your LEGACY to be? What do you want to leave behind when all is said and done. What do you want to be remembered for? Write these down, because you are going to hold yourself accountable to the list and set goals around achieving the highest priority items you define.
* Stop doing the same things over and over again expecting a different outcome. Einstein called this act “insanity” and he was right. I am always amazed at people who choose to do “More of the same” when it comes to the things that aren’t working in their lives. Activity for activity sake is a tremendous resource drain and ultimately self-defeating.
2013 GOALS
* Set regular times each day, week, and month to revisit your personal and professional goals. The goals we set often need to be re-calibrated based on our natural tendency to change our values, beliefs, and needs.
* Start writing your own blog. This is a great way to rekindle your passion is to start writing on subjects that you’re passionate about and possess a wealth of knowledge about and experience in. In fact, this is an important first step you can take to begin building your own reputational brand as a subject matter expert. Along these lines, start writing articles to submit to the media for possible publication, maybe even write a book you can self-publish. It’s what I did when I first went out on my own back in 2009 when I authored the book: “Bulletproof Your Career in Turbulent Times.”
* Make the commitment to pursue one new venture each week. Learn a new software package. Take a class to learn a new language. Start playing a new instrument. Do a jigsaw puzzle. It’s the act of udnertaking the unknown on a regular basis that has the potential to get you accustomed to venturing outside of your comfort zone.
* Attend one new group meeting every month that is entirely UNRELATED to your current field (business/industry)
* Hire a professional to help you unstick yourself (career coach, business coach, life coach, therapist, guru, accountant…they all count!)
* Embrace the art of visualization. When you are preparing to undertake a new activity it helps to take time out in a quiet place to visualize all of the steps necessary to complete the task. Clearing your mind of all interfering noise and thoughts to best focus on the task at hand is a tremendously self-empowering strategy. It’s a technique that world-class athletes, artists, and performers all utilize to achieve great performances. You can (and should) too!
* Revisit the assumptions you’ve made about what you can and cannot accomplish. All the negative things we say to ourselves about ourselves add up over time so that we immobilize ourselves with self doubt. It’s such a prevalent behavior of the human condition, that psychologists have a name for it. It’s called “Head trash.” What’s yours, and how are you going to overcome that?
* Approach the challenges that you face not as business people but as artists, performers, musicians do…utilizing creative problem solving strategies. Need help getting started? Check out INSEAD, business school to the world for inspiration!
* Read Jim Collins book “Good to Great!” In it, Collins makes the point that in today’s rapidly changing global environment, being good is no longer GOOD ENOUGH. According to Collins, good is the ENEMY of Great! Truer words have never been spoken. If we accept that we are performing at a high enough level, we never push ourselves to risk achieving the supposedly unachievable. The value to be gained by failing at a great pursuit is a lofty goal indeed.
So, there you have it. A list of immediately actionable strategies you can begin implementing tomorrow to unstick yourself and achieve all your wildest personal and professional goals.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach

How to Achieve Effective Business Advertising

How to Advertise Your Business the Right Way.
When I’m coaching my small business clients and they tell me they want to advertise, the first question I ask them is “Why?”
They need to get their company name out to their target audience and they’re at the point where they know they have to pay to reach their target segments through business advertising after pursuing other FREE marketing vehicles such: as PR, social media, public speaking venues, blogs, email, etc.
Since that makes sense to me, the next few questions I ask them are: where do they plan on advertising, when are they going to advertise, and how much are they willing to spend. That’s typically the point where they tell me: “That’s why we hired you.”
So, the first key to understanding what advertising is and isn’t we need a working definition. Advertising is the collective set of all your structured and composed NON-PERSONAL communications of information, almost ALWAYS paid for and usually persuasive in nature, about products (goods, services, and ideas) by identified sponsors through various media. This means you are paying to influence your existing customers and mostly highly qualified prospects using multiple media (print, broadcast, outdoor, online.)
Next, it helps to understand exactly what advertising can and CAN’T help you to achieve. Advertising is used to help your business:
* Identify products and differentiate from competitors.
* Communicate info about the product.
* To induce consumers to try your stuff.
* To stimulate the distribution of a product
* Increase product use.
* Build value, brand preference & loyalty.
* Lower overall cost of sales.
start by building an ad campaign. The 3 main areas of an advertising plan:
1) What do we want to accomplish? Our objectives or goals.
2) How will we reach those goals? What will we do, and what will it cost, to achieve our objectives.
3) How do we measure results? How do we determine whether we have accomplished our objectives?
Beyond the big three categories common to most advertising plans, the exact nature and details can very significantly depending on the purpose of the plan.
For a comprehensive explanation for how to develop an AD CAMPAIGN, click here.
The key to developing a powerful ad campaign is to define your goals, which are tied directly to your business objectives. Also it helps immensely that you first develop a comprehensive ideal customer profile of your ideal customer, including which media they use, when they engage that media. The goal is to be as efficient as possible in placing your messaging where your ideal customers are when they are most receptive to receiving and considering your messages. If your target are professionals ages 25-34 living in major Metropolitan areas with disposable income who enjoy participating in recreational sports, socializing in bars who are college educated…then you would partner with Zogg Sports. If you need to reach small business owners that run their business in a local community, you would pursue Minor League baseball advertising.
You use advertising to promote all of the following:
* Public Service Announcements: Ad serving public interest
* Goods: Tangible stuff
* Services: A bundle of benefits
* Ideas: Economic, political, religious, etc.
* Products: the particular good or service a company sells
Your advertising plan falls squarely within your marketing plan. Following is a template guideline for a fictitious marketing plan to show you how you would lay your plan out.
Marketing Plan
Target Market: Upscale households with incomes between $65,000 and $500,000 with an emphasis on female decision makers between the ages of 30 and 55
Positioning Statement: The best looking and sounding modular stereo system
Offering to customers: Add one lower-priced model and two higher priced models
Pricing Strategy: Price 10% above our closest competitor (be specific here)
Distribution: Internet gift stores i.e. red envelope, Brookstone, high end catalogs i.e. Sharper Image
Sales Strategy: Expand by 10% for this product line, hire a national account manager
Service Strategy: Available through all major box chains
Promotional Strategy: Develop a new campaign that focuses on the positioning, emphasize higher price and designer look
Marketing Research: Conduct customer audit and identify new market opportunities
Any other component of your marketing plan: Anything else not covered in a prior section of your marketing plan.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach