How High Are Your Standards?

I always have interesting conversations and incredible people watching episodes when I’m at the airport.  I listen and observe, I engage and I observe some more.  At one airport, I was waiting for a flight and we were delayed so many times that it was almost a game to see when the app and the actual board in front of us would match as to the newest departure time.  There was a woman standing next to me. She was well-dressed and was friendly enough.  We were sharing some travel stories and then we got to “what do you do?” I told her I was an Executive Coach, a speaker, trainer, radio show host and author. She asked who I worked with and I gave her that information. I of course turned the conversation to her and asked what she did. She worked for a large organization and had been there for many years… “After all, why should I leave? I get paid, don’t have to do too much and I get to do some traveling.” The conversation went on for a bit and she mentioned that she had never had a coach but her boss swears by them.  Of course I needed to probe a little more and she told me, without any hesitation, she had never and would NEVER hire a coach because she would be expected to work more and harder and that is not what she wants to do. It started me thinking about standards and how as entrepreneurs we need to set the bar higher than we can even imagine. People will choose to work with you if what you are offering them is the best quality or service to solve their problem.

The truth is most people don’t like high standards because they create a lot of work – especially the kind of work that nobody likes in the first place. In the real world, getting from good to great requires extraordinary efforts and high standards. It demands more time than you want, more energy than you have, and more cooperation than any normal person can be expected to contribute.

That’s IF you want high standards. If you are willing to settle for “good,” things can be much easier – and you can be much nicer. How about if we talk about standards…for instance what are they anyway?

Your standards define how you act, which, in turn, builds trust in your brand. They can be guidelines that describe your quality, your performance, your style or your systems. Standards must align with your mission, business objectives, and leadership, and be implemented consistently.

What about our own personal standards? Are they written on a wall for all to see? Not necessarily, but think about this; personal standards are what separates the highest achievers from everyone else. Personal standards are nothing more than a set of behaviors. These behaviors are built upon expectations you have of yourself in a variety of situations. Your personal standards are reflected in how you treat yourself, and also in how you treat other people. They are also reflected in how you expect to be treated by other people. When you have high standards you expect to be treated with the highest of regard. However, when your standards are low it suggests that you are lacking in the self-esteem department. Remember though, no matter who your customer is, you shouldn’t change your standards to meet theirs.

Your personal standards are also reflected in the promises you keep, the way you show up, and are reflected in the quality of your work, values and communication. In fact, everything you do and say gives others an indication of the personal standards you live by. As women, we might have to work a little harder and set the bar a little higher to be treated on an equal playing field, and that’s ok.  It’s just a little extra stretch…and we’re used to that.

Luckily, if you turn to entrepreneurship as a way to fulfil your potentials and meet your standards as well, there are so many valuable resources to learn from. No longer do we need to learn everything through trial and error! And that feeling that you’re not alone in your striving, that helps. Just recently I’ve interviewed Stefan Pretty, an interesting Scottish entrepreneur who created Subbly, a management software for subscription businesses. But what really inspired me is the way he shows a step-by-step approach (that’s what I love about it…plus it’s easy to follow) on how to start a subscription box, making that start line (which is often the most difficult one) as straightforward as possible. And once you actually start something, it becomes easier to continue evolving and also, raise the standards when you realize that goals were more achievable then you thought!

Speaking of which…Do you have goals that you would like to achieve? Have you ever considered that in order to achieve these goals that you must first raise your personal standards in certain aspects of your life? Setting low standards will only take you so far along your journey towards your goal. With low standards you will simply not put enough work, time, energy or resources into this goal. You will not be able to give this goal what it requires, and therefore you will end up not getting the results you truly want.

When you set high standards you immediately raise your expectations of what’s possible. You suddenly expect more from yourself, more from your actions, and more from others. And with a higher set of expectations you are willing to do more to get the results you’re after, and your performance level shoots straight up.

As Tony Robbins said, “Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards.”

Don’t be like my airport buddy thinking that having a coach means others will expect more from you and that is a negative thing…after all, what is wrong with that?

 

The Value Of Coaching

When I started my company in 2009, one of the first things I did was to understand what I didn’t know how to do. I loved people, I could sell, I wanted to make a difference and always wanted to bring value.  All sounds great so far right? What I didn’t really know how to do was to create a company or a business that would support me in loving people, selling, making a difference and bringing value.

So the first step was knowing what I needed and then realizing I didn’t know what I didn’t know and that is where my business coach came in.  She sat me down and asked me a lot of questions, listened to my goals or dreams and together we worked together to put that in place.  Again, sounds great so far right?  Here’s the REAL truth.  You have to know how to listen to your coach.  They have the experience and expertise. If you had an athletic coach who told you to hit the ball or kick the ball or catch the ball or whatever with the ball and you thought you knew better, where do you think that would end up?  Ok not much different with a business coach.

Everything she told me to do made perfect sense, however, I already knew that, already tried that and was already to dismiss that.  Let me just say that if you asked me what type of person I don’t ever want to coach…it would be the ones that say I’ve done that already, I’ve tried that already and the rest of that nonsense.  During one of my sessions, it was decided that I would write a book.  It wasn’t necessarily my decision as it was never on my radar, but my coach suggested that since I had 30 years of “stuff” in my head, why not organize it and share it with others.  I finally agreed and she told me to have an outline, not the book itself, just an outline completed by a certain date.  I sheepishly agreed and didn’t really give it another thought.  Remember, I knew better…The date came and we were having a session and towards the end she asked me to show her the outline. It was not completed or really, it was not even started.  She was less than happy but very professional.  She didn’t say what she probably wanted to say but she did say this… “Let’s get in the car and drive for a few minutes.  Then let’s open the windows and throw all your money out, roll up the windows and leave.” I thought she had lost her mind and then she finished with “Why are you paying me all this money when you don’t do any of the work? How will your business ever get off the ground? How will people know who you are?  How will you ever make a difference or bring value?”  That was the day I realized how important a coach really is.

The truth is that coaching helps people focus on the things that are contributing to their being stuck, and then move beyond them.  I knew I was stuck in a place that I didn’t recognize and I needed someone who knew better than I did and who was totally objective to move me along. Harvey Mackay said, “Athletes and actors have long hired coaches to help prepare for a specific competition or role. But they aren’t the only ones who can benefit from expert advice. Coaches are available to help people in any field improve their “game.” You see will all need to improve our game…no matter what field that is in.

There are so many reasons to have a coach for your business. Ever think about what qualities you should look for? I put together a Slide Share about this topic.  Here are the highlights and you can go to slideshare.net- 15 Qualities You Should Look For In A Business Coach. You can check it out at https://www.slideshare.net/JHoberman/15-qualities-you-should-look-for-in-a-business-coach.  The highlights are below:

  • FRIENDSHIP Builds a Mutual Relationship based on mutual respect. Look for someone who uses respectful dialogue. This could turn into a life-long friendship. Even though this begins as a business relationship, in order to be truly effective, it generally goes beyond that phase because the coach learns as much from the client as the client learns from the coach.
  • TRUST Not everyone in today’s society has a trusted advisor they can count on. Many people have ulterior motives when they are asked to help someone else. A great coach is someone you can trust and has true interest in your success and reaching your self-declared goals.
  • LISTEN A great coach really understands good listening is often taken for granted. The very best conversations and relationships involve our intentional listening- listening to learn, with a clear and quiet mind, not just waiting for our turn to speak. Listening is a great coach’s gift to their client!
  • INSPIRE A great coach helps create a vision and helps describe it. They will understand your passion and continues to inspire you by reminding you of your original passion and purpose.
  • EXPERIENCE A great coach should have years of experience and speaks your language. Their experience should not only bring an understanding in business, but more importantly, experience with people.
  • GOALS Many times goals are set too low requiring minimal effort to reach them, or too high where it becomes unrealistic to reach them. A great coach helps you set realistic goals that are achievable but requires effort to reach them.
  • MOTIVATION What drives you? What are you looking to achieve? It’s easy to be derailed when your goals aren’t reached quickly enough. A great coach defines your goals and breaks them down into small steps so that you can see successes along the way.
  • ORGANIZED A great coach provides organization & simplification. They help order thoughts and gives a formula for success and help develop a process to achieve whatever you want to accomplish. A great coach customizes the process to align with your needs.
  • CHALLENGE A great coach identifies challenges. Including ones that you may not even see which can prepare you for a smoother outcome. Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know!
  • PATH A great coach develops solutions. They help develop a path out of the challenges at hand. A road map that runs interference and provides a clear path to achieve your vision.
  • EXPECTATIONS A great coach is someone who helps guide expectations. They help you to understand your own expectations which tend to be influenced many times with over optimism. Reasonable expectations with early successes, victories and important milestones reached will take away the discouragement many find while navigating a difficult path.
  • GROWTH A great coach ensures your growth by challenging you. They move you out of your comfort zone with necessary steps and actions to achieve your goals and create scenarios and opportunities for you to be well rounded.
  • MEASURE A great coach evaluates your performance. They develop a process that measures your performance. Constantly evaluating your performance with real time feedback gives you the opportunity to learn and trains you to solve your own challenges with a set of effective tools.
  • ACCOUNTABLE A great coach is an accountability partner. For your self-declared goals, a coach will provide constructive feedback so that you can achieve what you set out to do. You are less likely to hold yourself fully accountable if you don’t share your goals with someone that is a trusted and objective partner.
  • SUPPORT A great coach is supportive. They are always there for support even when there may not be anyone else that can see, believes in, or supports your vision.

Remember, Coaching is the universal language of change and learning.

Will You Make It Out To…..

Lots of people write books with the intent of being a best selling author.  There are all kinds of systems that you can put in place to make that happen online and when any of my friends do this, I am more than willing to offer my support.

When I wrote my book, I wrote it for a different reason.  I wanted to get 30 years of experience out of my head and share whatever information I could to make the path for others easier, if I could.  My book was my calling card and believe it or not, I was perfectly content.

Well, recently I was introduced to someone who introduced me to someone else who asked me if I would like to have a book signing… at Barnes and Noble.

Ummmm let me think…

YES!

This was an unexpected happening and I have to tell you I am truly excited. I guess that’s what all the fuss is about.  This is what I was missing?? While I still wrote my book for the reasons I mentioned,  having a book signing scheduled is amazing.  I hope you come and see me on November 3rd at 2:00 at the Barnes and Noble University Village in Fort Worth. Come by and say hello and I would love to sign your book for you!

More details about the exact location can be found here: http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/store/2687

Commitment

According to dictionary.com, commitment is defined as: a pledge or promise; obligation.  We all have made commitments and try our best to keep them.

The other day I was watching a form of commitment that gave new meaning to the word.  I wanted to share this with you. From my back door you can see trees, flowers, my pool and lots of birds.  I have an outdoor fan that has blades that are not flat, not perpendicular to the ground, but somewhere in between. Seems like a great place for a bird to build a nest, except that even though the blades are wide enough, they are slanted so that if anything is placed on them, it will fall off.  However, I have a momma bird that is determined to build a nest on the blade….and I watch.  She goes back and forth from the rose bush to the fan, from the crepe myrtle to the fan, from the tree branches to the fan.

Back and forth carrying one tiny piece at a time.  Placing it ever so gently on the blade.  Sometimes three or four pieces stay on the blade and then it all falls down.  But, she doesn’t give up because she  knows that she made a promise to her unborn babies that they will have a place to nest and so she continues. We all know the ending to the story….she needed to move on and find another safe place for her family.

I was quite impressed by this “I’m not giving up” attitude of this tiny bird.  It made me think about people giving up on their promises or businesses giving up on their obligations.  I too have thought of throwing my  hands up because something was too difficult or I didn’t see how it made sense to continue.  And then I think of this tiny bird dragging branches larger than she in order to fulfill her commitment.

Here are some simple principles on commitment in business:

  1. Commitment to a set of values, principles or beliefs
  2. Commitment to oneself
  3. Commitment to your customer
  4. Commitment to results
Happy Selling!

How Women Can Get Ahead: Advice From Female CEOs

Sometimes the differences between men and woman are slight and sometimes they are quite obvious. Women now make up approximately 50% of the workforce and believe it or not some of the same issues that women faced decades ago are still challenges for women today.

Women are looking for certain things that will make a difference in their workplace. This includes mentoring programs, building relationships, understanding the differences in the genders and work life balance. Can women have it all? Maybe or maybe not but it’s all about choices.

I stumbled across an article by the Wall Street Journal titled “How Women Can Get Ahead: Advice From Female CEOs”. I think it gives a great perspective from very powerful women. You can see the full article by clicking here or on the image below.

 

So What’s Next… For Me?

It’s always funny when someone suggests something for you to do but doesn’t actually do it.  Like someone talking to you about sales but has never sold anything, or a choreographer that has never danced.

Last week I gave you some thoughts to consider and told you that if you shared your thoughts with me, I would possibly share it with my community of amazing people.  I also mentioned that you didn’t have to share them but that if you did, it would become a reality.  So I decided to share my thoughts with you.

 

1-When I resigned from my position a few years ago, I immediately got a business coach.  Doreen Rainey was a gift from above.  We sat in a room for 8 hours and talked about what I would do if I couldn’t fail and if age, time and money were not issues.  My long term dream would be to own an upscale bar on an island where everyone knew everyone and people came there to share their dreams and passions.  But that was for later and this is for now.  So we brainstormed and Selling In A Skirt was born.

For 2012, my goal is to get my message out both nationally and internationally and I am working hard to make it happen by Q2.

 

2-In 24 months, I am living in a city, not the suburbs.  I’m not sure if it is Dallas as I’m still weighing the options. I live in a high rise building with a doorman on a floor higher than 10.  The building has all the amenities that make it feel like a home and not an apartment.  I am in a loving and committed relationship with a man that I was introduced to by a friend. He “gets” me and we have mutual respect.  We travel abroad quite often and try to tie that in with my speaking in Europe and Asia, but no matter we go anyway.

My online training site has been up and running for awhile and I have met so many amazing people through the memberships.  I am concentrating on working with Veterans and that is extremely rewarding.  My book has been translated into many different languages and my 2nd and 3rd books are doing better than anticipated.

Life is good.

 

3-My next great thing is to do more mentoring. Since my online training will help to leverage my time, I can give back and help young women starting out get the mentoring I would have benefited from if I had one so many years ago.

I would also like to help prepare young men and women for the real working world.  Businesses assume the Universities will prepare them and Universities assume Businesses will prepare them. We all know what happens when you assume now don’t we.  If I can help make the process smoother, how exciting it would be to me.

 

So there you have it.  My realities for 2012…..care to share yours now?

So What’s Next?

As we get into the craziness of the holidays, we seem to let things go and blame it on the craziness of the holidays…there is a pattern here. For me, I have been lax on my blog posts because after all, isn’t everyone too busy to read what I have to say?

I decided this morning to put down some thoughts as we turn the page from 2011 to 2012. We generally reflect and promise ourselves to commit to our resolutions, even if it’s for a month or so.  I have a few thoughts that I want you to consider as we get to the end of the calendar year. You can keep your thoughts to yourself, share them with your loved ones or perhaps put them in a blog post that you will allow me to share with my community of amazing people. Remember , if you share it, it becomes a reality.

In any event, here is what I want you to consider:

  1. if you could do anything you wanted and time, age and money were not obstacles AND you could not fail, what would you be doing? This is where our dreams begin. You have to start at the end and work your way backwards. Be daring and stretch yourself.
  2. Where do you see yourself in 24 months? We all know how quickly time flies and 24 months will be here before you know it. What is your picture? Where are you? What is your passion? Have you fulfilled your dream? Write it as if you are living it now…if you can’t see it, how can it happen?
  3. What are you going to next? Is it scary to think about your dreams? Then you are on to something big! If you are doing what you love to do right now and that is your calling, what can you add to your life to make it extraordinary? It’s easier to accomplish the impossible than the ordinary!

Here’s to some amazing new ideas for 2012 and even more amazing people to accomplish them!