Planning a Road Trip? If So, Use It as a Guide to Business and Life.

20150729195849-road-map-travel-tripImage credit: Shutterstock

May is the time when many people think about planning their vacations, and oftentimes, that vacation involves a “road trip.” No matter if you’re an entrepreneur or staff member in a company, road trips and vacations are nice getaways and can help recharge your batteries. Generally, we all need time and space to recharge our batteries.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about life and business and how all of it is like a road trip. A road trip in business-terms is a continual vacation and not just a once- or twice-a-year event. Because when people are on vacation, they have to constantly make decisions about what clothes and essentials to pack, the route they’re going to take, the vehicle they’re going to use and if they’re going to fly or drive.

 

They need a map to guide them, places they will stop and eat, or shop, places they will visit, expectations from the trip and people they will interact with. This is what you do on a road trip. But this is also what you do throughout life whether it’s in your personal, business or academic world. And all of these incorporate some trait of leadership that’s within you. You are the entrepreneur of your world.

Within these leadership and entrepreneurship attributes, there are four traits that contribute to whether you’re a good leader or a bad leader. Those are: positive attitude, honesty, listening to your inner voice and trust. I’ll explain further how each one affects your road trip and leadership style.

Think about this: What skills or talents can you as a business leader or team member bring to the table?

We’re all on journeys. Personal and business. We’re all on road trips in life. Just like it’s important to get fellow travelers’ opinions and ideas about the road trip, it’s important to do this if you’re having a meeting or planning an event at work. This encourages teamwork and it helps the co-workers feel valued.

1. Positive attitude

An important part of planning your road trip is your attitude. As you plan your road trip, what are your expectations? Are they positive or negative? If you go into a situation feeling negative, you immediately impact everything that you will experience as a way to validate your preconceived notion.

For example, if a fellow traveler says, “I don’t want to go to Orlando, Florida in the springtime. It will rain every day.” And then, you proceed to go to Florida, and it does rain every day, your travel companion says, “See? I told you it would rain!”

If you are negative about your journey, you will constantly be on the lookout for things that reinforce that negativity. For that “See, I told you so” moment. Unfortunately, along the way, because you’re looking for the negative, you may have missed some wonderful opportunities for enrichment and enjoyment.

Attitude is everything and is just as impactful on your road trip as it is in the workplace. It’s important to have a positive attitude instead of negative, but sometimes, you can take that negative attitude and put a spin on it, making it a positive.

In the workplace, you might find gratification and satisfaction in pointing out the errors others make. Many people who are trying to make themselves feel more important will do this. By pointing out negatives in others, it makes them feel superior. Now you might think of this as a very negative trait, and it can be. But, if you thrive on that negative feeling, you can turn it into a positive by explaining to others ahead of time that you have this tendency.

Point it out as a “positive” to demonstrate that the overall goal is a perfect product, and by catching these items you are only doing your job.  Explain that it isn’t personal when you point out the negatives in a decision or a product — that you are only thinking of the company and bottom line. When you do this, you put yourself in a leadership role whether you are the boss or not. And you are turning your “negative” into a “positive.”

Planning a road trip can bring out the worst and best of people — just like your work environment can. If you continually emphasize the negative with your fellow travelers without putting a spin on it and pointing out the positives, then, people won’t want to travel with you ever again, and in the workplace, they won’t want to work with you.

2. Listening to the inner voice

Part of maintaining a positive attitude while planning your road trip or conducting your “trip” at work, means trusting yourself to make good decisions. We all have an inner voice that is driven from our knowledge of our “self.” The better you know your tendencies and thought processes, the more likely you will be able to acknowledge your true self. This is your true voice — and this voice never lies to you. We don’t always listen to this inner voice, however, but it’s important to tune into that voice.

Use your inner voice to assist your leadership role in the workplace. It is important not to confuse this inner voice with irrational feelings. When we get overly emotional, angry or frustrated, we tend to act before we thoroughly think through the situation. By taking a moment to think about your options, your true “inner” voice will guide you with ideas for the best course of action based upon what you are most comfortable with or most qualified to do.

3. Honesty

No matter what your leadership style is, there’s one quality that should be taken for granted — but it’s not. Not everyone has this quality, and this can cause many problems on your “road trip at work” and your journey in business and life. And that’s honesty.

In the workplace, you need to be able to identify who will give you an honest answer.  Are you listening to the real experts? Too often, internal expertise is overlooked in favor or external guidance.

To be an effective leader, you must trust yourself and your abilities. Being your true self in the workplace provides an avenue for you to offer genuine qualities that others can respect and admire. Attributes like a positive attitude, honesty and listening to your inner voice.

All of our experiences are part of who we are and our leadership abilities surface when needed. It’s how we exist and how we survive, and in difficult times, it might be the one thing that sets you apart from others.

4. Trust

On a road trip, there are times when you are not in control, and the way you handle these situations can define who you are as a leader. If you’re a passenger in a car, on an airplane or on a cruise, you do not have control of the vehicle. You have to know how to let go of control.

Those who feel uncomfortable and have a tough time letting go may find themselves with a team of individuals in the workplace that view them as a micromanager or one who does not provide trust in others.

Trust is the root of not wanting to let go. We can all find things to occupy ourselves, but refusal to let go can demonstrate your ability to trust only what you can do. When people hand in their work or turn in a project, do you review it for errors? If so, you may be displaying a lack of trust. If you trusted that person, you would have confidence that it was thoroughly checked before handing the work in.

Leaders and entrepreneurs must be willing to let go if they desire to have a true trusting relationship with their staff members. Leaders recognize what each person needs to do their job successfully and ensures that the environment around them supports their talents and abilities.

What type of road trip are you planning this summer? Is it designed to enrich your life or learn something? Are you going somewhere to help others, to volunteer your services or learn a new skill?  Are you ready?

Likewise, as an entrepreneur or leader in business, are you ready?

No matter what kind of road trip you’re on — in life and in business — our road trips bring us “back to us” and help us establish an ongoing process of self-recognition, self-definition and self-awareness.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Why It’s Vital That You Plan Your Life

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Most people would rather plan their next vacation destination or what they are going to buy during their next trip to the mall rather than their own lives. Many executives, entrepreneurs and business owners would rather build their businesses than devote time and energy into planning their lives.

Planning your life must happen if you want to win at the long game, 20 or 50 years from now. Planning your life is all about finding out who you are as a person, what makes you tick, what your values are and what deeply satisfies your soul.

After my keynote presentation a few weeks back for a sales organization, I had a lengthy conversation with one of the national sales leaders and he expressed his sincere gratitude for the wake-up call I had given him when I was on stage. At first I was unsure what he was referring to, but then he went on to say, “I have worked and planned 30 years to get where I am now and not one hour went towards planning my own life. Everyone from the outside views me as a major success, but something deep inside feels missing.”

This happens because what we think will give us instant gratification, things such as making more money, landing the big promotion, purchasing our dream cars or where we are going to go for the next big vacation means absolutely nothing if we don’t know who we are as a person, what we really want out of life and what our values and priorities are.

The belief that taking the time to plan life and get serious about what’s meaningful is a waste of time will eventually eat you alive and leave you unhappy. You have to get your inner life right before your outer life is right.

Just because you may make a lot of money, have an excellent career or drive a nice car doesn’t mean anything in the long term. It may temporarily put a smile on your face and make you feel good, but without planning your own life first, it will leave you empty and searching for the meaning that has been missing for so long as life continually goes on and the older you get.

Every single one of us needs meaning. Plan your life and then translate that over to building your career. Don’t let life pass you by.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

10 Ways to Become the Most Productive Person Around

Have you ever come across someone who just seemed to get so much done and was by far the most productive person you knew? Why can’t you be that person?

Here are 10 ways to become the most productive person you know.

1. Eat to win.

We really are what we eat. The “eat to win” mentality is fully understanding that what we put into our bodies greatly effects our focus, energy and well-being throughout the course of the day. A junk food diet will lead to a junk performance. When we start our day by consuming foods that increase our energy, focus and well-being, we instantly set ourselves up for a productive day.

2. Start your day with a green smoothie.

There is no better way to feed our mind and bodies than consuming an alkalizing drink such as a green smoothie first thing in the morning. One of my favorite recipes is as follows: 8 ounces of water, 2 handfuls of organic spinach, 1 apple, 2 stalks of celery and a juiced lemon. This drink is high in fiber, which will help rid the body of toxins and provide us with the vitamins and minerals needed for world-class energy levels.

3. Plan your day the night before.

Take 10 to 15 minutes to plan your day the night before. Adopting this habit yields phenomenal benefits. Lack of sleep mostly comes from thinking about all you have to do the next day. This makes the mind restless, and it becomes much more difficult to get a good night’s rest. Planning your day the night before should crush this problem right away. When we plan our day the night before, we wake up ready to hit the ground running knowing exactly what has to get done.

4. Write a productivity creed.

This has been an absolute game changer for me. For example, my creed is written on a note card that reads, “I, Matt Mayberry, am the most productive person I know. I dominate my day and move quickly from task to task, accomplishing things that matter most.” This simple creed has worked wonders and I carry it around with me everywhere I go. When I catch myself in a funk, I glance down at my creed and get right back to work. I look at this creed at least 10 times throughout my day.

5. Jumpstart your day with a workout.

I say it all the time. Fitness is the best productivity tool you can ever invest in. Find a routine that works best for you and work that routine into the ground every morning. By starting our day with a workout, we get the blood flowing and rid ourselves of the morning blues with the release of endorphins. Not only does a good workout release stress and increase energy, but you will feel super charged and ready to conquer the day.

6. Drink up!

Instead of rushing to grab a cup of coffee every time you feel sluggish or tired, drink some water. Our bodies need proper hydration to perform at our absolute best. It’s a natural tendency to look for an instant “pick me up.” These methods of energy are very short lived. The human body is made up of over 70 percent water. More times than not, when you are feeling sluggish or tired, you are dehydrated. Water is a fundamental aspect of high performance.

7. Do not disturb.

How many times throughout your day has someone come into your office and interrupted you just to talk about nonsense? Chances are you are getting interrupted via text, phone or email throughout your day. If you work in an office, set up a “Do Not Disturb” sign when it’s time to get important work done. If you work from home or outside of an office, set a policy so people know not to call or interrupt you during certain time blocks. If you are able, completely silence and stow your phone away so there is no distraction or urge to stray from the task at hand.

8. Take a walk or eat lunch away from the office.

Instead of eating lunch at your office, find the nearest place where you can step away and enjoy yourself. A great way to rejuvenate and be prepared to attack the rest of the day is to take a lunchtime stroll. Eating lunch outside of your regular work place or going for a midday walk helps to clear your mind of clutter and distractions from earlier in the day. This should recharge you for an even more productive second half of the day.

9. Hour to greatness.

This is one whole hour first thing in the morning that is dedicated to preparing my mind, body and spirit for the day ahead. This routine consists of reading an uplifting book for 15 to 20 minutes, rewriting my goals while visualizing the achievement of each one, meditating on my productivity creed while looking over my to-do list for the day, and finally, flooding my mind with positive and motivational messages via audio. This alone can drastically skyrocket productivity levels. Instead of watching all the negativity that’s on the news or in the newspaper, indulge in preparing your mind for a phenomenal day.

10. Decide.

To actually become the most productive person around, you must first decide to do so. Don’t beat yourself up over how unproductive you’ve been or relish over how productive someone else is. This will never get you to where you need to go. Making the decision is half the battle. Once you’ve made up your mind, you will begin to challenge yourself to see just how much you can accomplish any given day.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com