5 tips to develop an ACTION MINDSET and beat procrastination

Action mindsetAccording to David J Schwartz author of “The Magic of Thinking Big” average or mediocre people are passive. They do not take action and postpone doing things until it is too late. They debate themselves out of doing things, find a good reason to put things off or wait until everything is 100% perfect before taking action – they procrastinate.

Successful people take the right action at the right time leading to greater results. They are proactive, get things done and follow through on ideas and plans.

A key success ingredient is the ability to take action. By taking action one gains confidence in one-self and a feeling of self-reliance in the ability to get things done.

Here are 5 tips to develop an action mindset that will enable you to slay the procrastination dragon every time he rears his ugly head.

#1 – Anticipate obstacles and challenges. Risks and uncertainties are everywhere. You cannot foretell them but you can certainly equip yourself to handle them. Have a back up plan for when things go wrong.

#2 – Meet challenges as they arise. Do not run away from the challenges that come your way. Instead face challenges knowing that you’re capable of handing them and that you have a back up plan.

#3 – Use action to cure fear and gain confidence. Try things out and fail fast. Any failure is an opportunity to learn what needs adjusting or replacing. Action feeds and strengthens confidence while inaction feeds fear.

#4 – Use the mechanical way. Don’t deliberate on the merits or demerits of getting something done. Just do it and get moving on it. You can course correct as you learn from the results your actions produce.

#5 – Think “NOW”. Banish tomorrow, next week and later. Once you decide to do something, start it. Get used to saying “I am starting right now”. Be a crusader for your goal, pick up the ball and run. Just go!


“An only fair idea acted upon and developed is 100 per cent better than a terrific idea that dies because it isn’t followed up” – David J Schwartz

Executive Presence – the WHAT and HOW

Exec Presence picThe first time I heard the phrase “Executive Presence” many years ago I dismissed it thinking that it did not apply to me given that I was a team leader and not an Executive at work.

Then over the following couple of years I encountered the phrase a number of times. My manager and a number of key stakeholders I worked with commented that my work was exemplary and that I needed to “raise my profile” so as to “become more visible”. I wanted to run for the hills when I heard this.

All I could think of was why would I want to become more visible. Who wants to be in the spotlight? I was comfortable with where I was and did not want to attract undue attention to myself like those smug colleagues who suck up to the boss. I believed that my outstanding work should speak for me.   I thought that I would be promoted and given more opportunities based on my results.

Then I got passed over for a promotion – I was mad! I was livid!

My boss explained that many of the leaders did not know who I was and could not put a face to my name when my nomination came up for discussion. Not one senior leader was able to back my manager’s nomination. Why? Turns out it was because I was not “visible” and that the solution was for me to “raise my profile”. Those words again!

I was fired up. I needed to know what this “raising your profile” was all about and how I can get it quickly. I learnt that what I needed was Executive Presence, so I dug in and did my homework.

Here is what I discovered and share with others.

In plain and simple language, Executive Presence is about exhibiting mastery in 3 key areas:

  1. Gravitas or Presence – how you present yourself, including your posture and gestures. Gravitas is born of confidence and confidence is born of achievement. So remind yourself of what you’ve already achieved in the past that gives you the right to be where you are right now. This exercise will amplify your self-worth and help you present yourself with confidence. To have Presence you must believe in yourself so others can be drawn to believe in you too. Learn to be present in the moment so you can have the mental flexibility to handle the unexpected question or comment with confidence.
  1. Appearance – how you dress and the impression you make on others is important so don’t fight me on this one. Decide what “dress style” you want to own and make that your signature look. Remember to observe those around you and pick up clues as to the culture of the workplace you are in so you can match it, but with an infusion of your own personality. Also, it pays to dress for who you want to become, the role you’re seeking, and not the role you currently have.
  1. Communication – how you get your message across, including vocal command, persuasion and influence. Speak up and make sure you get heard. Listen to the buzzwords at work and make sure you understand them and can use them. Master how to speak with intent and practice authentic listening. Listen to podcasts in your field and master the appropriate communication style. Most important of all is to have conversations with a variety of people, listen, observe and learn.

Mastery of these 3 areas will enable you to be more memorable (raise your profile) and therefore stand out from the crowd (be visible). You will be seen as “leadership material” and given opportunities that are only available to a select few.

By proactively managing your presence you will be able to direct others’ perception of you and your potential. Ultimately this will increase your chances of landing promotions and key assignments.

Over to you…

As always, let me know if you need help with your Executive Presence. Contact me at nancy@thriveatwork.com.au

Don’t make New Year resolutions, set GOALS instead

Resolutions and GoalsNew Year Resolutions don’t work FULL STOP.

Correction – they may work for a while as you bask in the euphoria of having something to look forward to. However, 9 times out of 10, by mid to late February that New Year resolution has lost its puff having been replaced by the busyness of life.

Yet every year you still make those resolutions. Every year you promise yourself that you will start this thing or stop that other thing, you will do this or not do that, and on it goes. Come the end of the year, you reflect back and realize that you have to make the same resolutions you made last year because nothing has changed.

Enough already! It’s time to do things differently. Starting today you are going to stop making resolutions and start setting goals instead. Here is how:

Step 1 – Start with the end in mind. Clearly imagine what you want to achieve by the end of the year. What is your big dream for the year in each area of your life – health, finances, career, relationships, family, education and community? These are what you want to HAVE by the end of the year.

Then write your goals imagining that it is the end of the year and you are reviewing what you have achieved.

For example, a weight loss goal may go something like this…

”It is now 31st December 2016 and my health is great. I have lost 10 kilograms and now have a BMI of 19. I consistently exercise 5 times a week, drink 8 glasses of water daily and have 2 check-ins with my personal trainer/coach every week.”

Do this for each critical area of your life. Make sure you have at least one goal for each area. Remember to make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound).

Step 2 – Now that you know what you want to HAVE, you need to determine who you need to BE to achieve these goals. Ask yourself what Qualities, Skills and Habits a person needs to have to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

It might be something like…I need to be someone who:

  • knows the caloric content of different foods
  • wakes up early each morning to exercise
  • watches only 1 hour of TV to free up time to learn something new
  • builds relationships with leaders in their field
  • embraces uncertainty

As you figure out what your specific ones are, make sure they are aligned to your goals. These become the resources you will require to help you achieve your goals and will be handy in the next step.

Step 3 – List the things you will DO to achieve your goals. For each of your goals list the step-by-step daily, weekly or monthly process to achieve them. You can categorise them as START, MAINTAIN and STOP activities. Or you may prefer a sequential list of activities to get you to your goal.

Step 4 – Schedule your goals into the 4 quarters of the year. You should have some goals to be completed in Q1, others in Q2, another set in Q3 and a few in Q4. Set a specific completion date for each goal and schedule the dates in your diary. This will keep you focused and accountable.

Do these 4 steps and review your progress at the end of every week, month and quarter.

You will be surprised by what you can achieve in one year, what you will learn in the process and the confidence you will have in your ability to achieve any desired outcome.

This method sure beats having to make the same resolution year after year. So go ahead and just do it. You can always contact me if you need help – nancy@thriveatwork.com.au