Lifestyle 10 October 2016
As a psychology major, a corporate executive, a coach and a Director Consultant for BNI I’ve gotten tons of training on building relationships and managing my reputation. I don’t always do it perfectly but I’m constantly learning and integrating this learning into my life and my business.
Because of this training I’m also really good at identifying when others are doing things that hurt relationships and hurt their reputation. What also catches my attention is when they do these things oblivious to the consequences. I see it all the time and I know it’s hurting those people’s opportunities to grow in their career or grow their business.
People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. The same is true within organizations. Managers want to promote those they know, like and trust. Treat trust like a valuable business asset, and protect it at all costs.
Delayed Response Time on Messages
We’re all busy, right? Shouldn’t there be some slack granted? Sure, but then you end up in the category of busy people who are cracking under the pressure and I don’t think that’s what you want. Rather than being seen as successfully busy you’re seen as someone who has too much on their plate and should not take on more.
Now you’re thinking, “But wait, I don’t want to be taking on more. I don’t need more busy work.” Right! You DO NOT want more needless busy work.
However, this “more” also takes you out of the running for some really great opportunities: juicy projects, promotions and clients. I know many business owners whose prospective clients were referred to their competition because the perception was the busy business owner was too busy to take on any more clients.
In regards to response time on messages there’s a magic number. It’s 24. After 24 business hours the person who sent or left the message starts to wonder. They are wondering if you got the message, they are wondering if you understood the message, they are wondering if you decided it wasn’t important, they are wondering if you are going to get back to them. They are wondering if they are going to have to take more time out of their busy day to reach out to you again.
As human beings when we don’t have information we make stuff up and we tend to lean toward the negative. It’s the survivalist part of our brain that wants to protect us and is preparing for negative outcomes.
Here’s a quick solution: send a quick note or voice message back letting them know you got their message and will be working on it in the next couple of days. This resets the expectation clock and reaffirms that you are responsible and professional. Now the sender is no longer left wondering…and making stuff up.
You Allow Yourself to Get Distracted
We live in a world of bright shiny objects. Many things are pulling at our attention. But if you are not all in and focused on what is going on right now and the person right in front of you, you convey that something else is more important. This can manifest itself as starting a side conversation during a meeting when someone else is speaking, looking over someone’s shoulder while talking to them, checking your phone, or spending too much time taking breaks when works needs to get done, etc.
And when people feel that they are not important or what you are doing for them is not important, they don’t trust you to take good care of them and all their “things.” I’ve had a business owner go on to me about how attentive they are to their clients and that listening was what people wanted. In our next conversation this person’s eyes kept darting over my shoulder to what was going on behind me.
When I was in corporate I had someone on my team that wanted to be developed to be in management someday. Usually this is a great thing. Having someone who wants to prove they are ready for more responsibility makes work more engaging and life a little easier. However, this person felt their current tasks were beneath them and so did their tasks too quickly, without care, and mistakes were being made. They were so eager to move on they were proving themselves to be unreliable. Here’s my advice: be where you are right now. If you’re working your way up the ladder do your absolute best to prove that, even when a task is tedious, you can be relied upon to produce good work.
If you cannot be where you are right now, literally or figuratively, make your apologies and go. But if you’re in, be in. And yes, there will be plenty to demand your attention after this conversation or this meeting or this project but give what you are doing now 100% of your attention.
You Share Mistakes You’ve Made without Highlighting the Lesson Learned
We are in a new era of business where we should be sharing ourselves more with our co-workers and clients, to build stronger teams and solidify relationships. Sharing our failures can create stronger bonds than sharing our successes. The compassion and empathy we feel when someone talks about their struggles adds emotion to the equation forming closer ties. The caveat is if you don’t finish the story with what you learned or what you’ve put in place to make sure it never happens again, you leave people with the impression that you’re failure did not lead to learning.
There’s no sense that you’ve taken any responsibility for what happened or that you know how to prevent it in the future. You may have in fact put a system in place to correct the problem but if you don’t mention it, the other party is left to assume the problem could happen again. Here’s how to do it right: always finish your story by highlighting what you’ve learned from your mistake, what systems and safety nets you have put in place to make sure it will never happen again.
For me, that builds trust. When I hear the solution they have come up with I know this person has made mistakes but has become stronger and wiser from them.
You Share Stories of Other People’s Mistakes for Entertainment
I know you are a good person. I know you mean no harm. I get it. We’ve all done this and it feels great in the moment. It lightens the mood. But at the end of it all you’ve just earned yourself the reputation of a gossip. If you’re lucky the other person will never find out what you’ve done but they often do…days, weeks, months or even years later. Oftentimes we do this when tension has built and we need to let off some steam. A comical story seems the way to go. When we gossip we give unconscious permission to those listening to gossip about us.
We teach people how to treat us. Remember the golden rule? Treat others as you want to be treated. This rule exists because it's true, what you give is what you get. Also, no one will want to work closely (or refer those they know) to work closely with someone who would use their mistakes for the amusement of others. Remember, this also pertains to listening to gossip. By listening and laughing along, you will become guilty by association. It won’t matter that you were not the one actually gossiping.
How to avoid being associated with those who engage in gossipy mean girl behavior? For starters, do not share stories that put other people in a bad light. Furthermore, when gossip starts, find an excuse to leave the conversation or change the subject. Oddly enough, intolerance for gossip solidifies your reputation for being kind, professional and a person of integrity. It may annoying in the short-term to those who would like to initiate it, but they will come to respect your stance, because they will trust that you won’t gossip about them.
If you want to get promoted, if you want to grow your business, guard your reputation as a person who has compassion and can keep confidentiality, no matter how funny or juicy the information that crosses your path may be. When the urge to share information about a coworker comes up let it pass and then pat yourself on the back. You are building the confidentiality muscle. This is priceless!
Instead of sharing gossip, make the conversation about the people in the room and leave the people out of the room, out of the room. Your offer of support will also pay off in the long run.
You Let the Fact That You Know Better Leak Out
You have worked hard to be where you are and your level of earned expertise shows you where others are making mistakes. Your natural reflex is to offer suggestions. Helping peers identify and correct their mistakes will likely make a significant improvement in their health, wealth and happiness. However, somewhere between identifying the problem and the other person executing that perfect resolution something happens in the communication. Something that turns good intentions into preachiness.
Rather than considering you an expert, your audience perceives you as one or more of the following: an interloper, a critic, a know-it-all, the judge, a complainer, the do-right, the fun police, the Kool-Aid drinker, a dictator, the hall monitor, or just “that annoying person.” What you don’t realize (and what I didn’t at the time) is what you are “leaking” is your attitude. “I know better than you” comes out in your facial expression, your tone of voice, and the words you choose in your communication. It's a delicate science to give criticism without coming off this way.
No one likes to be considered less than. No one appreciates having flaws pointed out, so even with the best of intentions, you’re left with a bad reputation. Before you speak, check and re-calibrate your attitude. Remind yourself why you are trying to help the other person. Come from a place of compassion, offering up your insights as merely one solution, as a gift without strings attached, and leave it up to the other person to agree or not agree.
3 Min Read
With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.