My End-Of-Year List: Three Words To Live By
Just Show Up: It never ceases to amaze me how few people really allow themselves to be prepared or focused in business situations. People often fail to take the time to analyze a prospective client's needs or are just so anxious to get through a task that they leave opportunities on the table.
Know Your Customer: Part of "showing up" means taking the time to assess things from the other party's perspective. When I was on the client side, the firms that I did business with took the time to build relationships. They knew my hot buttons and non-starters. They had visited our website, read an article that I had written or inquired about us through a friend or acquaintance. An alternative for this item -- "Do your homework."
Make a List: I am always working off a one-page list that follows me everywhere I go. I list everything that I need to or want to accomplish and assign it an "A", "B" or "C" importance grade, followed by a priority number. While I don't force myself to complete the list, or even all of the "A" tasks, every day, I do make sure that I check in on each of these. The list not only keeps me organized, but allows me to let it go, and get absorbed in the moment of whatever I then need to do. I know that the list will always be there, when I finish.
Learn Something Everyday: Part of what makes life meaningful is the ability to observe and process new things. It keeps us fresh and gives us more to strive for. I've always been one who enjoyed learning for its own sake. That curiosity may in part be what led me to marketing research.
Energy Is Infectious: Part of "showing up" means evoking a passion for what you do. I've found it amazing to see how that often carries over to others who you come in contact with. It's human nature that people generally want to find connections with each other. If you don't believe me, try this experiment. Pre-arrange with a friend that he will laugh at a non-funny joke you are about to tell in front of a third person. Five bucks says the third guy will laugh along, when the two of you go hysterical.
Never Give Up: Every year, it's inevitable that one of my little league baseball teams falls behind in a game, and it evokes the following amazing but true story: At age 10, I was on a baseball team that was behind by 17 runs in the last inning. Yes, we won. But more importantly, I was the only guy in the dugout who was trying to fire up my teammates. Sometimes, when I get pessimistic about something, I think back on that game. My first thought, is, geez, I was an idealistic, and silly little kid ... this situation is different. Then I stop feeling sorry for myself, and do something. We all can.