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🎯 Work Smart Wednesday

👋 Hey there!

Here is your weekly dose of Work Smart Wednesday

In these emails I will share with you 3 things to help you work smarter  in 3 minutes or less. That leaves you with 10,077 more minutes to conquer your goals this week

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1. 🙏 The need to believe

One of the things many smart people struggle with is the belief that being right matters.

People often realise how little being right matters when they get into a serious relationship like a marriage. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what is factually correct - something else in the moment may matter more, or it matters more how the information is delivered, or how it feels.

While we learn the lesson personally, often with a child or spouse, few people take it a step further to effectively apply the lesson to other important relationships in their life.

As a business person, particularly if you provide a service, it doesn't matter if what you suggest is effective. The person needs to feel that it is effective.

Your customers need to see, and more importantly understand, the results you provide. You need to make the transformation obvious. Overcommunicate the change.

People gravitate towards strategies that feel effective in the moment, strategies that show progress with immediate feedback and that don't feel difficult. 

Working on social media as a new small business owner is a great example of this - it feels effective because you see follower numbers increase or you get immediate feedback in terms of likes, it is relatively easy, but it rarely truly moves you or your business forward at any real speed. Social media is what is called a ‘kind learning environment’. Unfortunately, social media is a relatively long-term game, you often need to post consistently for years before you reap any real rewards. Yet people do it because they believe it makes a real difference.

Whether you sell a product or provide a service, it is your job to make sure your customers understand that they have achieved a positive change in circumstances. This is one reason why post-purchase systems are so important, such as automated email campaigns. It doesn’t matter if what you sold helped if the person doesn’t believe it helped, they will still ask for a refund or refuse to recommend you.

You need to help you clients see how effective what you do is. Give them immediate feedback. Prove it works.

Sometimes you need to provide this feedback and instill this belief multiple times throughout the process, particularly if you are providing a service. To use personal training as an example, imagine a friend who wants to do lots of pushups. You go to their house and see they're doing pushups on their knees. They would likely get more benefit from doing harder tasks like plyometric push ups or those explosive clap pushups, but those are much more difficult. Humans are predisposed to choose what seems to be an easier option, even if it turns out to be less effective. Your friend tells you they tried explosive push ups, but it was hard, so they do lots of knee pushup because look how many they can do, surely that will help.

Your clients do the same thing. You suggest or sell something that will truly help, they may try it, but they will usually opt for what seems like an easier option. You need to keep your clients on course. You need to keep them believing that what you suggested will make a difference. You need to make what you do easier and a kinder learning environment. You need to constantly give feedback, show results, and instill the belief that they are doing the right thing.

How to make your feedback effective and create kind learning environments:

1. Make sure feedback is given in real-time (instant)

2. Make sure feedback is ongoing - Continuous feedback complements continuous learning, but 28% of employees report that feedback is not frequent enough to help them understand how to improve.

3. Make it relevant - Feedback should always relate to the material a learner is dealing with in the moment, otherwise it runs the risk of being non-specific, vague and ineffective - it loses its power in embedding knowledge.

4. Complement it with positive reinforcement - Make sure feedback you provide is encouraging, constructive and positively reinforces people, so that learners are motivated to try again and keep going, rather than giving up in frustration.

5. Structure feedback well - Before learning is delivered, make the desired outcome clear at the start (set expectations and objectives). Receivers of feedback decide to adjust their behavior by comparing it to a goal. Make feedback regular and create repeating patterns.

6. Make feedback two-way - This improves your own understanding and your learning material you learn how to improve your content.

The legendary cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practise at age 90 "because I think I'm making progress" he replied.

What can you do today to help your clients believe?

Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from the x-files in front of a poster saying "I want to believe"

2. 🌍 When in doubt, zoom out

Sometimes it is difficult to see the progress we have made, yet when we compare ourselves to who we were 10 years ago the differences become obvious. 

The same is true with problem, it can be hard to see what the problem really is, to ‘see the woods through the trees’.

Getting objective feedback can help a great deal, somebody else who can see the bigger picture for you, but that isn’t always possible (or the person isn’t always able!). 

External help is useful, but we also need to be able to see the bigger picture ourselves.

Being perpetually zoomed in creates two challenges:

  1. Struggle feels bigger than it really is.

  2. Growth feels smaller than it really is.

Zooming out provides perspective, both on the manageable nature of your struggles and the impressive nature of your growth.

There are two highly effective ways to zoom out:

  1. ↔️ Horizontally: Zoom out via “time travel” to the past or the future and observe the present through that new lens. Think back 10 years and consider how your past self would react to who you are today. Go forward 50 years and think about what life you wish to be leading or how your future self would give anything to be back doing the things you get to do today.

  2. ↕️ Vertically: Zoom out via "altitude" and see the bigger picture context of the moment. Write about, or talk through, your situation. Try to identify what variables are affecting the situation, and which variables are within your locus of control. Consider the causes and consequences. Which people are involved, why are they involved, what are the causes of the thing, what are the consequences. Creating scenario plans can help, especially with particularly tricky situations.

Zooming out is made much easier by being well rested, recharged, and even idle. You can learn more about that here.

When in doubt, zoom out. Two graphs showing a short term emotional view vs long term objective view and the power of looking at the bigger picture

3. 💡 Quote I'm pondering

"I think many of us have the sensation ­– I certainly do — that we’re standing about two inches away from a huge screen, and it’s noisy and it’s crowded and it’s changing with every second, and that screen is our lives. And it’s only by stepping back and then further back and holding still that we can begin to see what the canvas means and to catch the larger picture” - Pico Iyer

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That's it! I can't wait to hear what you think. What did you find most useful? What do you want more or less of? Reply to this email now and let me know

Also, if you have anything interesting to share, I want to know about it😊

Have a great week,

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P.P.S. Thank you for trusting me with your time. If these emails ever turn into a burden, I encourage you to unsubscribe. I strive to provide real value and I am here to help you to make the most of your time

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