Should You Spend Money to Achieve Your Goals?

August 11, 2011

This is the first in a series of “Biggest Blunders” articles I’m posting about avoiding key mistakes when it comes to getting what you want and achieving your biggest goals. To begin the series, I’m going to make a shocking statement:

Don’t spend your money on coaching!

You heard me right…

Mistake #1: Buying coaching

This may strike you as odd—with me being a coach and all. But that’s what qualifies me to make such a statement.

As someone who has coached very successful entrepreneurs, busy professionals, writers & filmmakers, and stay-at-home moms, I can tell you that I wouldn’t spend a dime on coaching.

BUT… here’s a list of things I would personally (and very happily) spend my money on:

  • Doubling my business in 6 months
  • Attracting a wonderful woman into my life as my romantic partner
  • Getting “6-pack abs”
  • Simplifying my life to eliminate physical and mental clutter
  • Learning how to achieve deeper and deeper states of meditation and quiet my mind
  • Taking my favorite hobbies (like yoga) to the next level
  • Learning how to cook nutritious and delicious food that’s easy to prepare

You probably have a similar list of the kinds of results that you want in your life. And some of those goals are probably important enough for you to spend money on so you can achieve them, right?

Well, here’s my expert advice:

Never spend money on coaching—spend money on getting results.

Better yet, spend money getting the results that are most important to you so you can make your life richer and more rewarding.

Coaching is not bad. But the kind of coaching you get can be, especially when you haven’t first figured out what’s most important to you.

Done right and with a clear objective, coaching is still the most reliable and efficient way to help people achieve greater results.

Don’t believe me? Ask those who are the very best in their field how important coaching is to their success. Every super-successful athlete or business person or super-mom has key people in their lives—oftentimes, coaches—who help them break through obstacles and achieve incredible things. Sometimes it’s a parent or spouse…sometimes it’s a mentor…or sometimes it’s a “success partner” they hired (a tutor, a coach, a trainer, etc.).

But here’s the key distinction: These successful achievers aren’t paying money for coaching. They’re paying for results! And if they don’t get what they want, they move on very quickly and find someone else who can deliver results.

When we get clear on the results we want—and have a coach that understands his/her role in helping us achieve our goals—what can happen?

Here are some examples of results my one-on-one coaching clients wanted in their lives—and got:

  • A business coaching client of mine is an entrepreneur who wanted $10,000 in new sales in 90 days. Instead, he sold $14,000 in contracts in that time!
  • A life coaching client wanted to lose 30 lbs in one year. He lost 32 lbs in just 9 months—achieving his lowest weight in 10 years—and he’s kept it off!
  • Another business coaching client wanted more customers. Together, we more than doubled her clientele (from 80 to 195 clients)!
  • And another life coaching client wanted to eliminate her $15,000 debt. In just two years, she was not only debt-free but she’d saved an additional $20,000!

For these people, it was easy to make the decision to hire a coach…once they were clear on the results they wanted. Clarity made it easy to choose coaching as the best path to their goal—beyond their goal, in fact!

Coaching is the “how,” not the “what.”

People who aren’t clear on the “what” hire a coach too soon, and then get discouraged or disillusioned. Many even jump to the mistaken conclusion that “coaching is useless.” And then when they do get clear on what they want, they miss out on success because they don’t hire a coach who can guide them to their goal.

So knowing how important a coach can be to your success, are you ready to spend your money on coaching?

No! That was a trick question! Remember, you do not spend money on coaching. You spend money on getting results!

As long as you remember that one rule, you’re ready to move on and ask yourself two important questions:

  1. What results do I want?
  2. What are those results worth to me?

If the results you want are worth paying for, then start looking for a coach. I guarantee there’s a coach out there who has a track record of helping people just like you get the results you want!

Got it? Good.  🙂


What do you want, and how important is it to you?

If you’re not clear on the answer to that question, or if you are clear and want to find out how to get results faster and easier than you think is possible, then it’s time to get AMP’d!

Contact me for a free Action|Momentum|Power Strategy Session. By the end of this 30-minute session you’ll have:

  • A clear, written description of your top goal/results
  • A 3-stage plan for achieving them
  • A new awareness of the hidden challenges that slow you down or sabotage your progress
  • A deep understanding of why your goals are important to you, so you can always generate the energy and motivation needed for success

These sessions are first-come first-served, so don’t wait. Click here to schedule your Strategy Session right now, and make your most important goal a reality.


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Hope & Fear (4/5): Avoid Layoffs & Down-sizing

November 18, 2008

As a business owner or top executive, your priority is the survival and growth of your business. Sometimes you have to make tough choices. In a bad economy those choices may include scaling your business back. Of course, things like layoffs and down-sizing are not your first choice. You’ll make that choice if it’s your only option. But you’d prefer to GROW your way out of tough times, right?

My intention today is to give you some tools to help you avoid layoffs and down-sizing in a bad economy. I can’t PROMISE these tools will work — the choices you’ve made up to this point play a big part in what’s possible for your business. But these tools give you the best chance. It’s like this: if you’re lost in the woods at night, having a flashlight and compass doesn’t guarantee you’ll find your way out. But without them, you’re doomed!

Assess the Situation

Anthony Robbins says it best: See the situation AS it is, not WORSE than it is. But to do that, you need to have a clear perspective. Your vision can’t be clouded by stress and worry. In other words, you must be peaceful.

I’m sure you’ve had the experience where someone close to you was very worried about something, to the point where they were reacting foolishly in ways that only made the situation worse. But you were calm, so you could see quite clearly what the best, rational course of action was. That’s the power of a clear perspective.

In your business, you need to be passionate enough to inspire and innovate, yet detached enough to make all of the rational, clear-headed decisions that make your business successful. Too much passion and you lose that clear-headed perspective. Too much detachment and you stop inspiring and innovating. Inner peace is the bridge between those two worlds. Both clarity of perspective and creative inspiration arise from a state of inner peace.

The human mind is almost magical in what it can do. But when the mind is filled with worry or stress, it can’t function to its full capacity. When the mind is peaceful, that’s when the magic happens. When the mind is peaceful, that’s when the million dollar idea suddenly POPS into your consciousness. When the mind is peaceful, that’s when you suddenly have the perfect solution to your most intractable problem.

So how do you keep a peaceful mind in a bad economy? Separate the FACTS of the situation from your INTERPRETATION of the situation.

Normally, we see THROUGH the lens of our interpretation. It distorts things just like a funhouse mirror, making us think the facts are something they’re not. But when you acknowledge there is this lens of interpretation, you can recognize the distortion in what you’re looking at. And you can get at the actual facts, the actual information you need to make effective and powerful choices.

Assessing the situation means creating a clearer perspective by becoming more peaceful. When it comes to a strategy of action, we want to revisit earlier lessons in this email series and expand on them.

Team Productivity Saves Jobs

Parts 2 and 3 of this series went into detail on how to increase your productivity and use that as a strategy to grow your business. For employers, there’s an added layer. Instead of just focusing on your own productivity, you get to be a leader and increase the productivity of all of your employees.

Whole books have been written on this subject, so the best advice I can give in this limited space is that you lead by example and enroll your team. Increase your own productivity, and do so openly. Make it public. Encourage your managers and their staffs to do the same. Grow as a team. Then enroll everyone in increasing the productivity of the company as a whole. Set team goals and communicate why those team goals are important to each individual employee.

If there are 10 people in your business, for example, let them know that if everyone increased their productivity by 10%, that would save one person from getting laid off. Show them the connection between the success of the individual and the success of the company.

Peaceful Productivity for Teams

Even if you kept all of this a secret, practicing Peaceful Productivity will transform your life and your business. But when you lead others and train them to be more peaceful and productive, a powerful synergy happens. In a group, people learn at an exponential rate. Everyone benefits from each other’s insights and growth, not just their own. It’s like a chain reaction in an atomic bomb that explodes the growth of your business.

As a leader, you can create that experience in your company.

Be a leader today and sign up for this week’s free teleseminar called “Productivity & Peace of Mind — You Don’t Have to Sacrifice One for the Other.” You’ll learn:

  • The 3 steps to increase your productivity
  • The 3 steps to greater peace of mind
  • The 2 paths to Peaceful Productivity
  • And lots more…

And just think, if you can train your team to grow your business in a bad economy, what might be possible in a good economy? Pretty exciting thought, right?

Learn more about this free teleseminar, and sign up today:

http://www.PeacefulProductivityNow.com

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

This is the fourth in a daily series of five posts on how to respond to this mixture of hope and fear in the world today. Here’s the full list:

  1. Commit to Change
  2. Keep Your Job and Prosper (for busy professionals)
  3. Grow Your Business in a Bad Economy (for entrepreneurs)
  4. Avoid Layoffs and Down-sizing (for business owners & executives)
  5. Shape Your Child’s Future (for working parents)

Hope & Fear (3/5): Grow Your Business in a Bad Economy

November 17, 2008

One of the silver linings to a bad economy is that it forces us to grow as entrepreneurs. Innovation is what drives business growth. In other words, doing something BETTER adds value to people’s lives, and that’s what gets them to open their wallets and buy from you.

In good times, we all get a little lazy. Why innovate when we don’t have to, right? But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. And when the survival of your business is at stake, that’s some damn good necessity!

When innovating, remember that there are two perspectives. On one side of the table is the seller. On the other side of the table is the customer. Let’s first look at the “bad economy” situation from your customers’ side of the table…

Provide the Most Valuable Solutions

Your customers are not interested in your products or services. They ARE interested in solutions to their problems. So your job is to solve the problems of your target market. And no matter what those problems are, a struggling economy will tend to make them worse. So the solutions you provide are needed even more. But, there are many others who provide similar solutions, so you need a way to stand out.

In my opinion, the best way to stand out from your competition is to do things BETTER than they do. In other words, create more value for your target market than your competitors do. To create the most value for your customers, you need to maximize your productivity. In other words, they will choose you if you produce solutions to their problems more effectively than anyone else.

Now let’s look at the situation from your side of the table…

Focus on Your Customer’s Problems, Not Your Own

In a good economy, a business can hang up their shingle, and as long as you provide a decent product or service, customers will buy from you. In a bad economy, people tighten their belts and don’t spend so easily. As I’ve already pointed out, they may still need your product or service (maybe even more so), but they are afraid to buy it.

So your job is to communicate better. And communication includes two parts: listening and speaking. Start by becoming a better listener. Listen to what your customers’ fears are, listen to what they really want, and listen to how they want it.

Now let me ask you a question: How well do you listen when YOU’RE stressed or fearful? Not very well, right? The more peaceful you are, the better you’ll be able to listen to your customers and really HEAR how they need you. And once you know that, then you can educate them on how perfectly suited your product or service is to solve their problems.

To summarize how to grow your business in a bad economy:

  1. Increase your productivity so you can create even more valuable products and services for your target market
  2. Cultivate your inner peace and confidence so you can listen better to your market and hear what their fears and problems are
  3. Educate your market on how YOU are perfectly suited to solve their problems

The entrepreneurs who thrive in a bad economy are the ones who respond most quickly to the needs of their market. This ability to respond (your response-ability) is magnified tremendously by the practice of Peaceful Productivity.

Productivity is a learnable skill. Peace of mind is a learnable skill. Do the response-able thing for your business, and sign up for this week’s free teleseminar called “Productivity & Peace of Mind — You Don’t Have to Sacrifice One for the Other.” You’ll learn:

  • The 3 steps to increase your productivity
  • The 3 steps to greater peace of mind
  • The 2 paths to Peaceful Productivity
  • And lots more…

Keep in mind, the businesses that thrive in a bad economy will likely become the leaders in their industry when the economy gets booming again. This is an awesome opportunity to really grow as an entrepreneur!

Learn more about this free teleseminar, and sign up today:

http://www.PeacefulProductivityNow.com

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

This is the third in a daily series of five posts on how to respond to this mixture of hope and fear in the world today. Here’s the full list:

  1. Commit to Change
  2. Keep Your Job and Prosper (for busy professionals)
  3. Grow Your Business in a Bad Economy (for entrepreneurs)
  4. Avoid Layoffs and Down-sizing (for business owners & executives)
  5. Shape Your Child’s Future (for working parents)

Hope & Fear (2/5): Keep Your Job & Prosper

November 16, 2008

Life has always been potentially stressful for the busy professional — juggling a career, family, personal relationships, health, hobbies (“yeah right!”). But this uncertain economy adds a brand new wrinkle. You might be worried about job. So let’s break this down into what’s within your control and what isn’t.

The fate of the company you work for is in the hands of the decision-makers at the top executive level. They are the ones who made the choices in the past and will make the choices in the future that determine whether or not the company survives this economy. What they choose to do — whether they layoff employees or cut bonuses or scale back work hours or close the branch you work for — is not within your control. So stop focusing on what they may or may not do. Focus instead on what’s in your control.

So what IS in your control? Just two things: What you choose to do and how you choose to feel about it. Let’s take them one by one…

What You Choose to Do

There are two parts to “what you choose to do”: what you focus on doing, and how well you do it. And the name for how you measure your success at these two things is productivity. In other words, your productivity is within your control. And to maximize your productivity, you want to focus on the most important things first and then do them as efficiently as possible.

Time for a reality check: Are you as productive in your job as you could be? Be honest…

So how much more productive could you be? To answer that question, try this: Think of a specific time when you were being your most productive. Call this your “kick butt” level of productivity, and give it a number from 1 to 10.

Now think about your “average” level of productivity. Those normal days where you maybe surf the internet a little, or chat with co-workers, or get sucked into meetings that go on longer than necessary, or get distracted by less important tasks, or just simply procrastinate. Give that a number from 1 to 10.

Compare that “average” level of productivity with that “kick butt” level of productivity. How far does it fall short?

In that distance between those two levels of productivity lives your opportunity to keep your job and prosper.

Most people perform so far below their peak level of productivity that in just weeks they can double or even triple their output. How much more valuable would you be to your employer if you doubled or tripled your output? In bad economic times, the demand for productive employees becomes even higher than usual. And as demand increases, price increases. So it’s even possible to get a raise in this economy if you increase your productivity.

And if layoffs do happen, the LEAST productive employees go first, right?

How You Choose to Feel

How productive are you when you’re worried? You may be busy when you’re worried and think you’re productive, buy how much important stuff do you really get done, and what’s the quality? Not a lot and very low. How productive are you when you’re happy and peaceful? When you’re happy and peaceful, there’s something called FLOW, where productivity seems almost effortless. Some call it “being in the zone.”

Whether you’re happy or worried, stressed or peaceful, you are CHOOSING to feel that way. And you can choose to create feelings of peace and happiness, even in an economy like this one. So in good times, your productivity sky-rockets from that state of peace and flow. And in bad times, you don’t let worry or stress cloud your decision-making or decrease your productivity.

When you’re peaceful and productive, you’ll have a calming effect on your co-workers and your employer. You’ll be part of the solution, not part of the problem. You’ll be one of the most valuable, level-headed members of the team. And even if you were to get laid off from your job, you’ll make better decisions about what to do next if you are peaceful inside.

Increase Your Productivity & Peace of Mind

Productivity is a learnable skill. Peace of mind is a learnable skill. When times are good, you can get by in your job pretty well without being very skilled at either. But when times are challenging, the employees who prosper are the ones WITH those skills. The employees who get hit hardest during times of uncertainty are the ones who are less skilled at productivity and peace of mind.

To make sure that you’re as valuable as you can be to your employer, and you’re able to prosper in these uncertain times no matter what happens, sign up for this week’s free teleseminar called “Productivity & Peace of Mind — You Don’t Have to Sacrifice One for the Other.” You’ll learn:

  • The 3 steps to increase your productivity
  • The 3 steps to greater peace of mind
  • The 2 paths to Peaceful Productivity
  • And lots more…

Focus on what you CAN control and you’ll give yourself the best chance for success and happiness. Learn more and sign up today:

http://www.PeacefulProductivityNow.com

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

This is the second in a daily series of five posts on how to respond to this mixture of hope and fear in the world today. Here’s the full list:

  1. Commit to Change
  2. Keep Your Job and Prosper (for busy professionals)
  3. Grow Your Business in a Bad Economy (for entrepreneurs)
  4. Avoid Layoffs and Down-sizing (for business owners & executives)
  5. Shape Your Child’s Future (for working parents)

Use “Ethical Bribes” to Get What You Want

October 28, 2008

My cousin, Carleigh, is an actor. Several years ago, after an amazing performance, she told me about her acting technique. In every scene, no matter what the scene was about, she focused on what her character WANTED.

She told me that every character in every scene wants something. It may be obvious or it may be subtle. Actors who remember this fact create characters that feel real to us.

Now in real life we don’t ALWAYS want something from the people we interact with. But much of the time we do. And wanting, especially frustrated wanting, can be a big obstacle to Peaceful Productivity.

So I’m going to outline 3 steps to help you get what you want in a way that serves the highest and best good for all involved.

STEP 1: RESPECT

Understand that people are not a means to an end. They are human beings, just like you. They may or may not choose to give you what you want. And you must respect them enough to let them make that choice without judging them if you don’t like what they choose.

Respect includes listening to them, understanding what THEY want, and respecting that. As Stephen Covey puts it, seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Without respect, you are using that person. And no one likes to be used.

STEP 2: ENROLL

You might know for a fact that what you want is truly in the best interest of the other person. But if they don’t know that, if they don’t FEEL that, then they’re likely to say no.

Enrolling is giving someone an exciting vision of what’s possible. It’s in those feelings of excitement and possibility that people love to say yes.

When a person is enrolled, saying yes to you will feel natural to them. When they are not enrolled, your question will feel like pressure to them. And no one likes to feel pressured.

STEP 3: BRIBE

Bribe is a word with negative associations. What makes a bribe “ethical” are the first two steps. Without respect and without enrollment, your bribe becomes manipulative. Another way to describe the ethical bribe is “sweetening the offer.”

Even when someone knows and feels that a choice is in their best interest, even when they feel respected and excited by the possibility, they still might say no. Why? Habit.

We are so bombarded by people asking us for things, whether it’s personal favors or telemarketing calls, that we build up a resistance. We say no first, regardless of the situation.

The ethical bribe gives a person an excuse to say yes to something that’s good for them.

EXAMPLE

Let me use my Peaceful Productivity Group coaching program as an example:

Respect

First, I show respect by letting my prospects know up front that THEY get to choose if the program is right for them or not. My job is to provide as much information as I can to help them make the best choice for them.

I do this by introducing them to Peaceful Productivity in a free teleseminar called “Productivity & Peace of Mind: You Don’t Have to Sacrifice One for the Other.” I also outline exactly what the program includes so there are no surprises. I also give them my personal phone number to call me if they have questions.

And I even offer a no-hassle guarantee so if they join and find out it was a mistake, they’re not trapped and they don’t lose a penny.

And beyond all that, I offer to help them find a DIFFERENT program or coach that fits them better, if they’re not happy with me and my program.

Enroll

I enroll people in the excitement and possibility of the Peaceful Productivity Group by giving them a powerful EXPERIENCE in the free teleseminar.

It’s not a teaser. It’s a stand-alone interactive teleseminar full of valuable and actionable advice and information.

At the end of it, they can choose to take that experience and go off and never talk to me again. But when I explain that what they are feeling at that moment is something they can feel again and again each week in the Peaceful Productivity Group, my intention is that they will be so excited by that possibility, they will join.

Bribe

Finally, I sweeten the offer by including ALL of my products and services in the group membership. You can see the full list of extras here:

http://www.PeacefulProductivityNow.com

And I’ve just added a few more ethical bribes:

If you complete and submit the group program application, you get a downloadable recording of my “Productive Planning” teleclass, whether or not you join the group. In this teleclass I outline a 6-step planning process that’s perfect for when you have too much to do and not enough time.

If you submit the program application within 24 hours of requesting it, you get an mp3 of a song I recently wrote and recorded called “Where I Want to Be.” Know that I have no aspirations to be a professional musician. This is just something fun that I hope you’ll enjoy. 🙂

And finally, if you join the Peaceful Productivity Group by midnight on Thursday, you get one month of one-on-one coaching from me (a $358 value). My minimum coaching term is normally 6 months, so this is something you cannot get unless you join this group.

ACTION STEPS

  • How will you put this 3-step process of Respect, Enroll, and Bribe into practice in your business or personal life?

I’d love to hear your ideas, comments, and questions.

Always remember the first two steps. Even if you’re not comfortable with the ethical bribe, the more you treat people with respect, and the more you enroll them in your vision, the more they will want to do for you.

As long as they feel empowered to choose what and when, people LOVE to give.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt


Listening 101 – Improve Your Listening Skills

September 18, 2006

Odds are your listening skills stink…

Granted, I don’t know you. So why would I say something so offensive? To shock you and get your attention, of course! Face it, if in fact you’re not a good listener, then I need to do something special to engage you, don’t I?

Not to mention, it’s probably true! (There I go trying to get your attention again…)

Before you get the impression that I think I’m better than you are, let me say…

As a listener, I have my good days and bad days.

The bad days are when I fall into my old habits, habits I developed because no one taught me how to listen. It’s on those days that I focus mainly on MY point, MY perspective, and MY agenda. It’s on those days that I wait to talk instead of actually listening. And it’s on those days that I feel discouraged because of unresolved disputes, bitter arguments, and biting comebacks.

The good days, however, are when each conversation deepens my understanding of the other person and strengthens my relationships. It’s on those days that disagreements are opportunities for growth and progress, that differences are celebrated instead of feared.

It’s on those good days that I follow a few simple listening guidelines which I’ll now share with you.

Read the rest of this entry »