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The Power Of FOCUS!

I was talking to a client today and they were telling me about everything they had to do. They told me that it wasn't a lot of big jobs and that it was just a bunch of little jobs. They also told me that there was so many little jobs and they had put it off so long that now they felt overwhelmed every time they thought about doing something about it. Well it turns out that after talking to this client, that well... they were all over the place. It seems like they couldn't focus on anything unless it absolutely had to get done. Does this sound familiar to you?

But wait... there's more...

Digging deeper, it turns out that this client has a main business that they needed to grow... and if that wasn't enough, they were also involved in two more businesses. So now they have 3 businesses they were growing at once along with a mountain of small "jobs" that had to get done. No wonder they were feeling overwhelmed!

Overwhelmed

In fact, I felt overwhelmed just listening to them! Whew!

So what now? What do they do and how do they regain control of their business?

I think most people would think the answer would be for them to get organized first. The challenge with them getting organized first is that they are so disorganized that it would take them forever to get organized. In addition, it's so overwhelming that they'll never get started organizing to get organized. They're somewhat in a state of analysis paralysis! What do I do first?!? What's next? There's this and that and this and that and ahhhhh!!!!!!!

Here's the thing... when people feel overwhelmed, then the natural thing for them to do is avoidance. It's natural to avoid the thing that's making them feel overwhelmed and put it off as long as possible. So getting organized will actually just be another step in the avoidance process where they'll work on getting organized and never get anything done. I know that sounds somewhat counter-intuitive and I've seen it over and over again. People feel unorganized and cluttered, so they spend hours upon hours and days upon days getting organized... and if they're lucky enough to actually get organized, they'll soon realize that they didn't get anything done and they still have the weight of getting everything done on their shoulders. So then they look for something else to do other than organization instead of actually just tackling what they just organized. Or they'll take a break... because they spent so much time and energy organizing... and still nothing will get done.

It's a vicious cycle.

So what's a person to do instead?

The answer is FOCUS. Focus on getting stuff done. Chip away at the mountain of "stuff" that needs to get done and stay focused on getting things done. If you've got so much to do that you're overwhelmed, then just focus on doing what you already know that needs to be done first. Get that mountain of "stuff" down to a hill... and then organize.

Here's the thing, most people probably already know what needs to be done without first having to organize everything and prioritize it. So work on what you know needs to get done one by one. Here's the thing, by getting one thing done, it removes the pressure of that one thing and makes you feel "lighter". Do another thing you know needs to get done and you feel even lighter and more refreshed. If you can mentally choose something that takes less time than something else, then yes, tackle that first because you're goal or focus at this point is to get things done and off your plate as fast as possible. Once you have completed several tasks, you'll be surprised at how you feel... somewhat renewed, relieved, energized... even if you know you have a lot more to do.

Let me give you an example... a 1000 piece puzzle.

When you first dump out the pieces of a 1000 piece puzzle, it seems overwhelming. How are you going to put together an entire 1000 piece puzzle? It's going to take you forever! Now, if you took the time to organize all 1000 pieces into separate piles based upon color, size, shape, or whatever it is you decide, that might take you hours or more (maybe even days) depending upon how you organize them... and you still haven't gotten anything done. Now if you had to get stuff done, this may help you down the road only it didn't help you get anything done in the short term and you've still got 1000 pieces to put together!

Now what if you did what many people do with puzzles first... focus on getting the frame completed by finding all the edge pieces and putting them together first. Find the four corner pieces and then start finding the straight edges and putting them together. After a bit, you'll have parts of the frame put together and you'll feel a sense of accomplishment. Stay focused and after a bit more, you connect two sides and you give a little whoop of excitement. Then you connect pieces of all 4 sides together and you're feeling the excitement. Then you finish the frame and ahhhh... a nice feeling of success!!! Never mind that you've still got about 700 - 800 pieces to go... you've got the frame together! Wahoo! Progress!

Now that you have the frame done and you're riding an energy high, start organizing all the pieces of one color together... or of one part of the puzzle picture. For example, if your puzzle is a picture of the ocean with a lighthouse on one side and a ship on the other, then look for all the pieces that have the lighthouse on them. Don't organize the whole puzzle yet - there is still too much... focus instead on just getting the lighthouse completed. Little by little, you'll start putting the pieces together and before you know it... shazaam!! The lighthouse is completed! Relief... energy... excitement... onto the next thing you know needs to be completed... the boat.

Stay focused and soon enough the boat is complete! Now you look and half the pieces are completed! Now the remaining pieces are manageable and you can organize them however you please. You've got energy from completing three or four pieces of the puzzle and now you feel like you can conquer the rest!

This is the power of focus. Don't get me wrong, organization is a powerful process as well and it still needs to be done. And sometimes organization itself is a stall tactic... and can still overwhelm you. FOCUS is power though. When you focus on getting things done... one step at a time... the results are amazing.

In fact, my client told me that the other day they had tons and tons of messages to respond to and it was all overwhelming. They had considered organizing all the messages into different subjects and then prioritizing them by importance and they just couldn't do it. It was just too much. Then they said that instead of focusing on responding to all the messages and organizing them into different piles and priorities, they just focused on responding to the messages that they had that day and didn't worry about anything else. And when they got through that, they felt a sense of relief. Then they started focusing and tackling the messages from the prior days... one day at a time. Soon enough, they had caught up on all their messages. It was amazing!

Again, this is the power of focus. And if this helps anyone out there, remember that FOCUS stands for Follow One Course Until Successful. If you're overwhelmed by the mountain of tasks you have to complete, focus on the things you know you need to do and just do them one at a time. You'll start to feel empowered as you complete your tasks and the mountain won't seem insurmountable. Once you feel the conqueror spirit, then organize and prioritize the rest and then once again, focus on completion. Remember, how do you eat a cow? One hamburger at a time!

Communication Is Key!

Hey everyone!

Rollo May once said, "Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing."

On that topic, we've failed you in the past.  And for that, we apologize... and we will make sure that doesn't happen going forward.

Two weeks ago, you were told to expect a big announcement in a week.  Well, as we said, that was two weeks ago.   Turns out rebranding is a LOT bigger task than initially expected.  And if you haven't figured it out yet, that's exactly what we're doing... rebranding!

So the big announcement is that the Chicago Entrepreneur Meetup Group is no longer going to be the Chicago Entrepreneur Meetup Group.  Why?  Because we've grown beyond Meetup.  This group started in 2003 as the Chicago Entrepreneur Meetup Group.  Since then, it's changed hands a few times and has had many organizers and co-organizers.  For over 7 years, this group was soley on Meetup.com.  The last time it changed hands was back in 2010.   Since then, we've expanded to LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and more!  Because of this, we're no longer just a group and no longer just a Meetup Group.  We're now a Network!

So welcome to the Entrepreneur Success Network!

With this new network, we're focusing on better communication, interaction, and engagement with you... our members.  We'll be sending out regular communications on what's going on and upcoming events.  In addition, as we all know, entrepreneurs exist everywhere!  And while we're headquartered in the Chicagoland area, we want to be able to share our message with entrepreneurs everywhere.  That's why we're the Entrepreneur Success Network and not just the Chicago Entrepreneur Success Network.

Going forward, we'll be refocusing on three things.

First, we're focusing on providing more great content and information to everyone.  We'll be doing this through regular communications via our networks with a primary focus on our Website at http://www.EntrepreneurSuccessNetwork.com and our LinkedIn Group for discussions.  So if you haven't joined it yet, please join our LinkedIn group by going to http://bit.ly/EntrepreneurSuccessNetwork.

Second, Networking events.   Networking events are important for people to attend, interact, and meet others.  Networking events are the start of relationship building, future business, and resource connections.  So to that end, we'll be having an After hours Networking event every quarter and work on promoting it well to get people out.  These will be in a fun and relaxing environment, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the next one coming soon.

And third, we're focusing on workshops and trainings.  There's a great need out there to educate current and future entrepreneurs on how to run their business.  Whether you're just starting your business or you've been in it for a while, there's always something new you can learn.  We're excited about the upcoming workshops which will focus on the Entrepreneurial mindset, Business Structures and Financing, Leadership Development, Sales and Marketing, and Time Management, Organization, and Prioritization.  In fact, we've reviewed Entrepreneurial programs from Universities across the country and combined real life entrepreneurial experiences to design workshops which you can use and understand.

These are exciting times for us and we're so happy you're a part of our group.  You'll start seeing changes coming down the line and we'll keep you abreast of them.

So stay tuned for more great information coming your way.

Until then,

Celebrate Life!
Chaffee-Thanh Nguyen
Entrepreneur Success Network Organizer

 

Future Pacing To Catapult Your Goal Setting

Sometimes I write blog posts and share them on my social networks and sometimes I just write a lot on Social networks. Well I just posted how to use Future Pacing to catapult your goal setting on our LinkedIn group. (Go here for the full post and entailing discussion http://linkd.in/Shif3r)

In a nutshell, most people fail at achieving their goals.  If you want to maximize your goal setting success, learn how to use Future Pacing which is  a form of visualization and a proven strategy used in NLP or Neuro-Linquistic Programming.  I also talk about how to use your vision and passion to pull you forward and motivation to push you forward.  And if you haven't figured out what your passion is yet, I share a powerful technique on how to do that as well.

If any of this interests you and you want to increase your odds of achieving your goals, make sure you read the entire discussion at http://linkd.in/Shif3r.

Celebrate Life!
Chaffee-Thanh Nguyen

You Can Lead A Horse To Water…….

I am in the business of helping people, whether it is as Director for a Logistics Company or as the Leader of a Networking group I founded, I help.  I have to admit, sometimes I help too much and end up just “doing” for someone instead of helping them do it themselves ( don’t tell my friends I said that ), this is because I have a genuinely deep affection for whoever it is that I am trying to help.    I have several friends who have “helped” me see that I am being more of a hindrance than a help in these cases.  That by helping to that extent, I am actually preventing them from growing and learning, who would have thought huh.

Everyone has heard the old saying…. “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink”.  Sometimes you can give someone all of the resources they need to be successful but they refuse to use any of them, so no matter how many resources they have at their disposal it is never enough.  They either expect you to do it for them or they expect it to work the way they want it to work otherwise they aren’t happy.

You have to recognize these types for who they are and walk away from them, and help those that actually help themselves.  Yes even if you have a deep affection for them, you need to draw the line somewhere and then stick to it.  I have a relative that I was trying to help.  He was in sales and very depressed because sales were down.  The logistics industry is a tuff market to sell in, it is a lot of networking and cold calls and hoping you are in the right place at the right time.  The sales cycle takes forever and the margins are very small.  I had just started in sales myself so I can understand him not wanting to take advice from a “rookie” but the things I was doing were having results.  I told him what I was doing and how I was doing it.  All he could tell me is that he tried “That” and it didn’t work.  Everything was negative, and I of course had no clue what I was talking about, after all He had been doing sales for over 20 years.  When he would do something I suggested and it didn’t work out precisely the way he thought it should it was my fault.  He is one of the many that think just because you belong to a Business Association or Chamber that companies should automatically give you all of their business.  When something would work, of course it was all his idea.  In the end, by giving too much help, he expected things to be done for him.

Everyone can use help now and then, you have to recognize when someone is actually asking for help and when they are asking for things to be done for them.  When people ask for help, they are looking for idea’s to try, and a different perspective. When people are asking for things to be done, they want to you give of your resources and convince your resources to support them.  I have learned to draw the line; unfortunately it is when I am past the point of wanting to help anymore.  For me there is nothing worse than giving my opinion, perspective and advice only to have someone tell me that I should only tell them nice things, or they list the reasons why I am wrong about everything and they are totally right about everything.

I will tell you there is no greater joy than helping someone start on the road to their goals, or help them achieve their goals.  Being an Entrepreneur is hard. When you start down this road, try and surround yourself with as many like minded individuals and those that possess the skills you need.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t be afraid to change your way of thinking.  Technology is different, the sales cycle is different, and the manner in which people buy things are different.  Checks are becoming passé; everyone has a debit card or credit card, and carries very little cash.  I come from an industry that has been a traditional invoice and check industry.  I have clients now asking me if they can pay online with a credit card because they want to rack up points, that’s right even the large companies are asking to pay by credit card.

If you are brand new to all of this, then seek out some groups to join, obviously the Chicago Entrepreneurial Meet up group is the best place to meet like minded individuals,(shameless plug yes I know ) but if you aren’t anywhere near Chicago, then look for groups on Meet Up or thru LinkedIn.  If you can’t find any, then start one of your own.  If you are a veteran in the Entrepreneurial game reach out and help the newbie’s, don’t be afraid to learn something new.  Even someone who is not in your industry can have some valuable insight; if nothing else they can help you see something from a different prospective. New or seasoned Entrepreneur’s don’t reject ideas without really thinking them thru.  Remember something that didn’t work 5 or 10 or more years ago, may just work now.  It is a different economy, it is a different world.

I am very blessed to have several really great people in my circle of influence.  Each challenges me to step up my game every time we meet or talk.  They are there to bounce ideas off on, they are my collaborators, my mentors, my friends, they do not judge, they offer advice, alternatives and solutions. I don’t always agree with them, and that’s OK.  The end result of all of this support has been some pretty deep friendships, for that I will be eternally grateful.

OK now that I have led you to the water, it is up to you to drink………..