Tuesday, November 30, 2010

6 Ways to Increase Your Self-Esteem, Boost Your Self-Confidence, and Motivate Your Creativity!

Contractors are amazing people. We build something out of another person’s dreams, and we love doing it. We possess the skills to turn nothing into something.

However, what happens when things turn sour? When you have nothing to focus your creative energy upon? Do you find yourself lacking the self-esteem, self-confidence, or the motivation to get something going?

We measure the value of a person not by his or her falling down, but what they do with themselves when they pick themselves up. The true measure of you as a person is when you take responsibility and action for your better being.

Today the economy is hurting a lot of people. It is knocking them down. Will they get up and do something, or allow themselves to feel beaten?

Just this morning, I listened to a man, practically in tears because he had no work. He was losing his cable service, fearing his cell phone was next and was focusing all of his being on being knocked down. “What do I do?” He asked, “Who will help me?”

It happens to all of us at one time or another, but we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and do something for ourselves. If someone wants to lend you a helping hand, say “Thank you” and as soon as you’re able, pay them back. If they won’t accept it, then donate your time to community service; find something you can do to help someone else in need.

Since we all will experience a moment of self-questioning, here are 6 steps you can follow to help you get through the down moments.

First, greet people; go out of your way to say “Hello!” Look them in the eye, ask them how they are and shake their hand. If you’re on the phone, answer it pleasantly with a happy tone to your voice. It will make all the difference in your own feelings, as well as those you are making contact with.

Secondly, tell the people you love that you love them! Give them a hug, don’t ignore them, speak with them, and ask them about themselves. We are social beings, and the most important people in our social network are the people we love. Never be afraid to show them how much you love them.

Thirdly, don’t be afraid to compliment others, and gracefully receive compliments from others.

Fourthly, be aware of negative thinking. Yes, you have a problem, recognize it and start developing a plan to correct it. Stay away from negative people; they are your positive energy sucking leeches. Get out and find positive thinking business owners, meet with them, share your ideas, listen to theirs and find a way that you could implement them into your plan. Network your community. Doing something is better than doing nothing!

Fifthly, develop a plan a day ahead to keep you productive for tomorrow. What are the best things that you could work on tomorrow that would help you get out of your present situation? List them, and do them! That fear in your stomach will either make you sick, or you can use it to make tomorrow a better day. Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to ‘paralysis by analysis.’

Sixth and last, learn from your problems so you never do them or get caught by them again. My dad always told me that everyone makes a mistake once in their life, but to make it again is just plain stupid! See your mistakes, problems, shortcomings as opportunities. Own up to your shortcomings, but do whatever you have to do to correct them. This economy is not the end of your career as a contractor, unless you allow it to be.

Even if you feel that everything in your life is going poorly, be aware that in the end, only you are ideally positioned to correct them. A failure is something you have done; it may very well be something you will do again on your journey of being a person --- but failure is not YOU!

Yesterday, I read an article on the new Chevrolet Volt. It goes for 40 miles on its batteries before its gasoline engine kicks in to re-charge the batteries. You see, unless it is parked in a garage near an electrical outlet, it will charge itself while it is in motion.

Why do I tell you this?

Taking action is creating motion. Bodies in motions produce energy of some kind. The only way you will ever get through your problems is by getting yourself in motion. Take positive action and DO NOT EXPECT anyone else to pick you up.

However, to prove my point.

As I sit here typing this blog, an electrical contractor just came to my front door and hung a door hanger. Its message was simple: “Need an Electrician?” Just so happens I have an outlet that is giving me a problem.

You see . . . positive action produces positive results!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Three Early Tell-Tale Signs that the Economy Could Change

Fifth teen years ago I wrote an article titled: “The FIVE Early Warning Signals of a Downturn Economy.” It was a big hit and ran in numerous trade magazines. As each signal came true, the economy down turned and everyone quickly realized how valuable my article was to them.

As I look around me today, I am seeing slight signs that this economy will get better no matter what internal conflicts are upsetting it presently.

One of these signals that is a key driver has already proven its worth. Companies that have cut the fat from their operations and are working lean are surviving, and many are profitable. Many companies are flushed with cash, just waiting.

Hopefully soon which will boost our economy even further, we will see an emergence in re-establishing our manufacturing base.

In the last ten years, the effects of Free Trade that was spearheaded by the Clinton Administration, over 40,000 U.S. manufacturing plants closed as that important element of our economic engine went overseas to cheaper labor.

With the reality that cheaper products do not equate to the high standard of American made, I believe we will see an up-tick in those plants coming back home to roost. This will mean increase work as these plants are remodeled, refitted or re-built to accommodate their revival back here where they belong.

Another signal is on the political front. With the average American voting no to progressive, socialists and communist political tactics and leadership that has failed us miserably, we hopefully will see a positive change in our future. One thing is for sure, we have neutered any further destruction by a party that has been taken over by the extreme far left revolutionaries and placed its cronies in our White House and Congress. However, only time will dictate how this will turn out as we move forward to 2012.

Meanwhile, it is a positive sign that we might take back our country and get it on the right track to constitutional forum, free enterprise, and the common voice being heard. However, there is much more work we need to do, and it will take time and multiple elections to rid ourselves of this progressive cancer.

One area that the government could help boost and accelerate the economy is in our infrastructure. It is obvious that it needs it after years of neglect from politicians who bought their votes with entitlements. The lesson here is simple. If you want to help Americans to be the best they can be, give them a job, not handouts. A handout in the form of welfare puts them on the road to serfdom. A job completes their dignity as a man.

The third signal is the American consumer. Because of the down economy, many have been forced to cut their spending, reduce their debt and increase their savings. All of these things are good, especially if you understand the underlying consumer’s emotional drive.

Consumers consume. They may retreat, save, reduce their debt, but they must consume in order to be happy. I believe that we are reaching a tipping point in their emotional driver and going back to consuming is inevitable. It makes them feel good and justify their actions.

I do expect consumers to go back to buying. Every indicator points that they will be more informed and focused than before. Expect them to remodel or upgrade their home over buying a newer or bigger one.

The new home market will be focused on a scale of economy. It will be sometime before you see a reemergence in the vanity of the Jones’s. Expect the heart is in the home emotion to prevail.

Today, we are living in a chaotic transition period to a new age and a new economy. The pace of change has become so rapid that it will take a different type of firm to get its fair share of sales. To put it bluntly, we’ve experienced a major colon cleansing of those companies that will not adapt, and it still hasn’t finished.

This new environment will be driven by a consumer whose fickle preferences has quickly changed and adapted to its economic arena. For you the owner of a contracting company, this means you too must adapt quickly also. You must be focused, lean, opportunity-driven, customer-driven, and innovative and possess a sound knowledge base.

Business will be at the speed of light as rapid change will dictate the marketplace. Those on top of the wave will devour those who are too slow to change.

A key ingredient will be differentiation and the sowing of your marketing message must start now in order to reap a bountiful harvest later. The concept of being unique or different will be far more important than it was four years or even ten years ago. The key to successful marketing and competition will be differentiation.

The winners will be the owners of construction companies that notice this change and adjust the quickest. That means it will not be the big versus the small, it will be those who react quickly who will come out on top.

If you want to hire me to help you with a marketing message that will fit this new economy. Use this link

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Real Reasons We Succeed or Fail

The other day I was talking with one of my business advising clients, and he asked me what the ONE THING was . . . the one thing that meant all the difference for me and my success as a contractor. That one thing that he needed to focus on in order to be successful in his own business.

A really tough question, but it did give me a ‘WTF moment.’

The real answer lies in the answer to the question, what makes that difference.

I would have to say for owners of construction businesses it is “opportunity cost.”

Wikipedia says that opportunity cost is “the cost related to the next-best choice available to someone who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices.”

I want you to stop and think about this for one moment. Life is all about the choices we make. If we make the right choices, we succeed, if we make the wrong choices, we suffer.

And cost is not just restricted to financial. It could be the cost of what is easy, desirable, painful, risky, pleasing to others, time and any other choice we could have available to us at the moment.

I like to call this “opportunity choice.”

For most, especially right now, capital is limited and it bears heavily on making the right choices to help themselves or their businesses.

That means picking the right choice is HUGELY important. Making the wrong choice can be painfully costly, but remember this.

What is even more costly is something called “decision split.”

Decision split can sink a great opportunity. You become frozen in your evaluation process. You let all the positive reasons go because you choose to follow the path of negative thought. One is always money. If you worry about spending the money to help yourself, you are actually accelerating your failure. You’ve failed to properly access the value of its relative worth to your success.

Never underestimate the value of improving your business situation.

That is why I said that the answer lies in the answer to your question, what makes the difference?

It’s like the contractor who told me he can’t afford marketing because he has no sales. Duh? See the decision split?

I’ve even had one tell me he couldn’t afford to come to the SUPER Business-Building Conference because he wasn’t making any money. Another Duh? moment.

What he was really saying is this. I’ll stay home and make no money, continue to lose it, rather than go to an event that will show me how to make money. See the decision split?

All the excuses like, this won’t work for me, I know what I’m doing, it costs too much, or the insidious – “My business is different” are self-inflicted wounds for failure.

You see, doing nothing doesn’t contribute to the success of your existing business situation. It’s actually a self-defeating decision or an action of self-sabotage.

You have to make a choice to create opportunities, not suppress them.

You also need to understand that . . .

Choices have a cost attached to them, one way or the other, and that is why I said in the beginning of this blog that the answer lies in the answer to the question. You have to make a choice, so make one that makes a difference.

Inaction, doing nothing or procrastinating is NOT the right choice. By doing nothing, you are compounding the cost, and it becomes far greater than you can even imagine in time, money and opportunity lost.

The real answer in making choices is evaluating the effect or opportunity created for you from the choice. This is often called “opportunity flow.”

See if I can explain it better with this scenario.

I’ve been working with a lot of contractors under my new Business Advisory Service. What I am seeing is profoundly rewarding for these individuals. By making a decision to get help, to open up to new ideas or methods, to increase their business skills, and to do something positive in their business, they have created opportunity flow. Deals are now coming to them.

This is what successful people understand. Once you make a choice that makes a positive difference on your situation, you create ‘opportunity flow’ and even more deals come knocking on your door. That is why doing nothing creates nothing for you; it is the universal law of action VS. inaction.

Opportunity flow is a GOOD thing. That’s how the rich get richer. That is the one of the reasons my construction business was successful. I was not afraid to invest my time and money into creating opportunity flow.

And the ultimate beauty of creating opportunity flow is that you can have so many opportunities coming at you, you can pick and choose which ones are the best for you.

What hurts most is “Mindset Cost.” By having the wrong mindset, believing in the wrong mindset, acting on the wrong mindset, usually costs the individual heavily. Decisiveness with a focused sense of what makes the difference is far more rewarding than indecision.

The most tragic pain one can suffer is that of life’s lost opportunities because they were too afraid to “put it out there.” Understand that moving ahead is always better than doing nothing. At least it doesn’t create a whole bunch of lost opportunities that are lost forever. Learn to do the things that matter for your success.

Because . . .

Having no opportunities for your business really sucks!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

America Has Spoken; Now Let’s Get Back to Work!

Over the last year, I have had the pleasure of speaking across this great country to thousands of contractors. No matter where I spoke, I couldn’t help but notice one thing was missing. That missing element was confidence. Confidence in their government and the direction the country was heading.

Certainly times have been tough. People have suffered; businesses and wealth have been lost. The election of 2008 spoke of Hope and Change. Americans were looking for positive hope and change. Instead, it got lies, deceit and corruptible government that wanted to go in a completely opposite direction than it portrayed during the election.

The lesson that I hope all Americans have heard is this. Even when a mistake is made, we have the power to correct it on one day and one day only, voting day. We need as a country to get more engaged in what is going on in Washington. This is our government, it does not belong to those who wish to take control over us or impose on us ideologically views that we see as un-American.

However, now, the real work is ahead of us. We must re-build, re-direct and correct the course of the country. We need to fix the problems by getting Americans back to work. It will not happen overnight, but it can happen over time. Slowly, and methodically, but in an American way.

We will never do that by over-spending, over-taxing, bloating an already inefficient government and by allowing that government to inflict its will into our lives and businesses.

The greatness of this country is in its people. Its people who pioneer, invent, build businesses and go to work every day to be a part of our society.

The people, who are responsible, build strong families, instill values and live the principles of those who founded this great country and most important of all, accept the responsibility for their actions. They are this country’s greatest national asset.

Our Founding Fathers gave us a great gift, a government by the people, for the people and of the people. We spoke loudly on that this November 2nd. We can’t rest now. This is a pivotal time, but only a turning point. The public mind is engaged, and the eyes of the people are on Washington to see if their government will listen to them once again. We must seize the moment, or the moment will be lost, and so might our country.

It is our job now to make certain that our leader’s in Washington listen and follow the basic conservative principles that made this great country. We as the people need to make sure that they hear our voices. It is our job to keep them on-track and on-course.

We also need to get Americans back to work. We need to revive the American entrepreneurial spirit. It is the enterprising person who sees a scrap heap of metal and envisions a beautiful building. It is the enterprising person who drives through the worn down part of town and sees the opportunity in it as a thriving development.

It is the American, not the government that sees all of this.

We need to think “Made in America” once again. We need to see the best in ourselves. We need to find a way to bring our lost jobs back to America where they belong.

We need to eliminate that which prohibits our ability to be the best at what we are. We must see the future in our present. We must find ways to take advantage of the situation, to blaze the trail to success. We shouldn’t wait for opportunities to come to us. Instead, we must stay on course to reaching them. It is our creativity that will fuel our successes.

However, we must not only be creative, but we must also be courageous.

We must have the courage to stand tall, or to stand alone, we must have the courage to speak out and to be different, and courage to be the best. We must have the courage to see things differently, to go against the grain, and the courage to choose being active over inactive.

It all starts with us. It starts with our confidence level. If we have the confidence, we can muster the creativity and courage to act.

It starts with those of us who are skilled enough, brave enough, confident enough and disciplined enough to recognize the change and seize the opportunity to creating the jobs.

For you the business owner now is the time to learn, sharpen and master those skills. Now, more than ever, you will need them as we venture forward into the future.