Quick Tips to be Much More Productive – Part 1

June 30th, 2017 by Rich Kohler

One of the most valuable assets you have as a leader is your time.

The same goes for your Team, your colleagues, your family, and for that matter, your entire social network. Unfortunately, we don’t give it the same level of attention as we do to the myriad of other things we do in our lives. So time just kind of slips by, and we do not maximize our use of it, or our impact.

Over the coming weeks, I am going to provide a number of simple, positive action steps for you to choose from to help you regain control of your time. Not all at once, as big lists tend to overwhelm us.

I suggest you review the list and select five or six of these steps a week and include at least one in your Daily Planner List.

Think about what it means to accomplish this step in your mastering of time. Another idea, is to keep track of where your time kind of slips away on you over the next couple weeks. You might be surprised…maybe even horrified.

Preoccupation … Alertness … Energizing

1. Cultivate observation

2. Perform tasks faster

3. Think with pencil in hand

4. Periodically remind yourself to “Think Alertly”

5. Do the job right the first time

6. Reduce preoccupation time

7. Locate energy losses

8. Unblock natural drive by doing what you enjoy

9. Establish a balanced exercise program

10. Be highly selective in what you read

Let’s make time our friend – not our enemy by using it wisely. Stay tuned, I will provide a few more productivity tips in the coming weeks.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

© Rich Kohler 2017. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Lost Touch – Being Connected

June 27th, 2017 by Rich Kohler

I always found Andy Rooney’s (CBS 60 minutes) comments interesting. He liked to point out that despite their best efforts, people would end up with the opposite of what they were trying to achieve. Like the terms government intelligence – we don’t seem to have any, or tax-free benefits – so why do we need to pay taxes to get them. We seem to have the same problem in our Web 2.0 connected world.

It seems odd that with all the communication and information technology at our fingertips, living in a 24/7 world, we have become estranged from the very people who are essential to our success. It reminds me of the book, Women are from Venus, Men from Mars. Not sure I can solve that problem, but I think I can shed some light on us getting truly connected.

The popularity of social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, My Space, etc.) points out the desire to connect, to be heard and to get an appropriate response.

  • Voters made their voice heard in the last election to a congress and administration that had gone astray.
  • Customers vote with their dollars and quickly move away from companies with inconsistent brand image, who lose touch with poor design, quality and service.
  • Employees no longer desire management, but require leadership and connection. It is said that employees don’t quit companies, they quit their bosses. Too often they work to survive, yet we were made to thrive.

When executives lose focus on their customers (reason they are in business) and connection to their employees (the strength and vitality of their business) they have lost their way and begin the inevitable decline into mediocrity. While man has developed technology, unimaginable to people even a generation ago, it is still the need for close interaction and connection that satisfies the deepest need – “you are important to me.”

There is a lesson to be learned as to why small business and entrepreneurs foster innovation and create jobs while big business struggles in this regard. It begins with connection – to an unmet need, focus on delighting the customer, a bond with their employees that they are making a difference.

Connection – the old fashioned way.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

© Rich Kohler 2017. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

13 Reasons Why Your Marketing Isn’t Soaring With The Eagles – Part 3

July 13th, 2016 by Rich Kohler

And now…the final 5…reasons your Marketing Isn’t Soaring with the Eagles.

You don’t make it easy enough for people to do business with you

The easier it is for people to do business with you – the less complicated, embarrassing, time wasting, expensive, etc., etc. – the more business you’ll do.

I can’t tell you how many beautifully-sculptured, clever ads I’ve seen and read, with wonderful, compelling sales messages … and no proper call to action, and/or specific directions as to how I should go about buying the damn thing.

Oh, it’s there all right but, by the time you get the pen, the commercial is over, or you have to navigate your way through the ad TO FIND THE PERSON WHO’LL TAKE YOUR ORDER!

I repeat: The simpler you make it for people to buy from you, the more you’ll sell.

Your marketing efforts are dead-set BORING!

No need to labor this point, I’m sure. You’ve all seen so much stultifying, uninspiring rubbish yourself, and wondered:

“Who do these people think they’re going to impress with this load of bs?”

Then you toss it where you toss your orange peel.

Of course, nobody says this about your marketing material, do they? Yet, there’s a strong possibility that this IS the case.

You have to work continuously to ensure not only that you’re not boring people, but that you’re actually inspiring, exciting, captivating, or seducing a significant number of your target audience. That said, make sure that you assess the market’s perception of your marketing efforts, and don’t judge things on how you feel. Many a business has “pulled” a successful marketing effort because they were tired and bored with it, when, in fact, the market audience was not.

One of the most famous, and successful, newspaper advertising headlines ran for 30-plus years. It was, They Laughed When I Said I Could Play The Piano – But They’re Not Laughing Now!

You fail to test – test – test

Not every marketing effort will work. In fact, most will fail! The real savvy marketers test and test until they find two things: what works … and then, what works better. Along the way, they document and evaluate their results. They have absolutely no intention of repeating their mistakes.

So, before committing yourself to that big advertisement or mail-out, test your propositions, test your headlines, test whether your ultimate benefits are compelling enough.

Put another way, you have an obligation to conservatively test and let the market tell you what it wants.

You’re a small-town thinker

There’s a huge difference between having enough confidence in yourself, your products, or your services to think nationally, or even globally, and being too big for your boots.

Have you got a great product or service that would be appreciated by a wider market than you’re addressing now? But, you don’t have the budget to capitalize on the situation? OK. That’s understandable. But, at least you can start working toward a bigger audience. It’s the old power-of-positive-thinking thing.

Send your literature to a few selected people interstate and overseas. We’re truly entering the doorway to the global marketplace, so start adopting a mindset that will have you right at the front of the queue.

Maybe there is no market!
Let’s look at an example … one that is played out every day – unfortunately.

Frank and Francine have lived in Smalltown all their lives. Smalltown is a remote township of some 10,000 people. Frank, for many years, worked as the manager of the largest hardware store in town. He knew his industry well and, for that reason, he could hardly wait to open his own hardware business.

That day did arrive (courtesy of an inheritance left to Francine) and so, the Double D Hardware store opened amid a blaze of “Opening Sales.” The first two weeks of sales looked promising.

But then things started to go flat… despite Frank’s attention to marketing and advertising. You see, apart from the large franchise hardware shop, there were four other competitors … and the “Double D” made it six hardware shops in all. Six months after the opening, Frank held his last sale – regrettably, it was a closing-the-doors sale.

Ok, let’s take a “helicopter view” of what happened here.

If Frank had done a bit of homework before the event, Francine would still have her inheritance, her health and her marriage, because these, too, were the casualties of the “Double D” disaster.

Yes, Frank should have realized that the Smalltown market for hardware is finite. True, it can be ramped up slightly by good selling and marketing … but essentially it does have a defined size.

Stuart Street-Smarts, owner of the “Yards 10” franchise hardware store, knows this. He knows that the Smalltown market for hardware products is around $2,000,000 – and he owns 60% of the market. Plus, he also knows that old Sam Davies, the proprietor of Sam’s Hardware, has around 20% – leaving only 20% or ($400,000) for the other three competitors… and the “Double D.”

Stuart said that Frank wouldn’t last any longer than six months, and he was right. When Stuart did his sums he figured that even if Frank could get 10% of the market – that’s only a turnover of $200,000 – he would make less than $20,000 profit after expenses. Well, Stuart used to pay Frank a salary of $40,000.

Simple example, but the moral of the story: Make sure that a genuine market exists before you dive into the business.

So, what do you do if you are faced with a “Frank” situation? Sell! Get the heck out before it’s too late. Take the money and invest in something more profitable.

Simple message: Your business is a money-making-machine. If it isn’t, your job is to fix it. If, after considerable effort, you don’t believe it’s fixable, sell it!

There is one more mistake … and it’s a biggie, so please note it well. It is: Failing to monitor the results of your marketing campaigns.

Most business leaders and owners have absolutely no idea of the success or otherwise of their advertisements and other marketing efforts. They just go on “gut feeling.” This is absolute lunacy. As a business leader, you should never, ever run a marketing campaign unless you have a way of monitoring the results.

It’s interesting to note the elaborate systems people put in to monitor their cash, their stock and their other valuables – yet, nothing to monitor their investment in marketing.

For those who say or think, “Just keep your name out there and you’ll get results”… take it from me, you’re dreaming! At best you’ll get deferred results of which you’ll never, ever know. And, just perhaps, you could have got much, much better results if you knew what worked and what didn’t.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2016. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler



13 Reasons Why Your Marketing Isn’t Soaring With The Eagles – Part 2

July 12th, 2016 by Rich Kohler

Continued from last time – 5 more reasons – Why Your Marketing Isn’t Working…

You’re not persistent enough

Very rarely does any single marketing effort – one ad, one mailing, one promotion – produce a dramatic result. If you’ve got your two feet on the ground, you’ll look for long-term, solid, predictable returns.

Plan your marketing to produce realistic results, and rejoice when something works better than you expected.

Test your propositions (As a matter of fact, test everything).

And keep at it. Marketing is not a function that should be performed by the weak-at-heart, the impatient, or the imprudent.

You forget about the people who have bought from you before

It’s much cheaper, and often a lot easier, to sell to someone who has bought from you in the past – at least so long as it was a pleasant experience for the buyer – than it is to try to attract new customers.

So, why, oh why, do most businesses concentrate almost all their energies on trying to drum up new business?

Have you got something against the people who have bought from you, or used your services, before? Were they rude to you?

Then, why are you neglecting them?

Here’s the order in which you should be directing your marketing:
• Getting existing customers to buy more, and/or more often.
• Going back to people who have bought from you in the past and reactivating them.
• Enticing new customers.

You don’t get back to your customers often enough

See above, then consider this:

People need to be constantly reminded what you can do for them … how you can help them – at least every 90 days.
• Do you believe that it annoys your customers when you do this?
• Are you embarrassed about doing it?
• Don’t think it’s worth the effort? Think again.
You have to create a regular program for communicating with prospects and existing customers (don’t give them a chance to turn into “past” customers), and you have to keep it up until;

… they buy from you, or
… you have no option but to give them up as a lost cause.

You don’t move your customers up the loyalty ladder

Once someone has bought from you, and you have followed them up to make sure that everything involved with the sale went smoothly, then it’s time to move that person up the loyalty ladder.

If he or she has other problems to solve, and the money to solve them, you’re the man! (or woman, of course).

Every time you successfully conclude a deal with a customer, that customer grows a little closer to you, and becomes increasingly easy to sell things to. So, you keep moving him or her up the loyalty ladder:
• From a prospect to a customer,
• From a customer to a regular customer,
• From a regular customer to an advocate of your business…
• and from an advocate to a raving fan!

You don’t get to the point
The best marketing is simple, precise … and straight to the point. No beating around the bush. … no cutesy-cutesy pandering. You find out what the prospect’s problem is and, in the simplest, most direct terms, you tell the prospect how you’re going to solve that problem.

Marketing isn’t about art … it isn’t about winning literary or design awards.

Ultimately, it’s about selling – successfully, efficiently, and economically. Get to the point. Tell them why it’s in their best interests to pick up the phone right now and buy whatever you’re offering … before it’s too late. And the only way to do this is to tell them what’s in it for them.

And an extension of this issue is this:

Answer the “why” question.

If your product is higher priced than your competitors’, tell them why. If your product is better, tell them why. The more factual, credible and believable the reasons you give, the more likely they are to give you the business.

Consider this: I am the customer and I want to know … FAST!

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2016. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler



13 Reasons Why Your Marketing Isn’t Soaring With The Eagles – Part 1

July 11th, 2016 by Rich Kohler

I’ll take it for granted that your product offering, price, and customer service, etc. are all at a standard which ensures your customers will be delighted with their purchases. However, before you can become an Elite Marketer dispensing Marketing Magic, there are two things you MUST do:

A) Resign yourself to the commercial reality that business is 90% marketing. As a business owner or manager, you must concentrate your efforts on getting your marketing tactics and implementation 100% right.

B) Know the basics of marketing. This is one area where rank amateurs abound, wallowing in blissful ignorance of the money they are needlessly squandering and the opportunities they are “burning.” Oh yes, the most dangerous animal in business is the amateur marketer.

Now to those 13 Reasons Why Your Marketing May Not Be Soaring With The Eagles – the first 3:

You don’t have a marketing plan

You must have a clear and very precise sales and profit objective – over any given period of time, but usually a year – for every one of your products and/or services.   Then you have to address the three specifics:

  • What are all the means available to you to reach your dollar objectives?
  • What marketing alternatives can you use, how can you use them, and how often should you use them?
  • How can you convert prospects to customers, and convince your existing customers to buy more, and/or more often?

You don’t know your customer

Hey, this violates the most fundamental rule of marketing: “Know Thy Customer”. You have to be customer-oriented.   Elite Marketers can give you chapter and verse on what their customer looks like. They have a mental image of the customers’ business, their age, sex, educational status, income levels, and other pertinent demographic information. They know their buying patterns, and they understand what makes them tick.   For now, ponder these two questions:

  • How does the successful marketer gather all this information about his/her customer?
  • Who is your customer? (If you can give an accurate answer to this question, congratulations… there are very few of your kind around.)

You don’t know what compels your customers to buy something

People don’t buy things because you want them to. They need their own reasons – very good reasons – to buy.   And you and your staff have to understand fully what these reasons and their motivations are, and then cater to them – as many of them as possible – in every marketing and selling situation… in every customer or potential customer contact … in everything you do.   People don’t buy products or services:

  • They buy benefits … benefits … benefits!
  • They buy solutions to their problems
  • They buy other people’s opinions of you, your business and your products
  • They buy credibility and believability
  • They buy your promises and guarantees (don’t ever let them down)
  • They buy your business and product “reliability”
  • They buy “value”… and, please, don’t confuse value with price
  • They buy certainty, honesty, convenience, and timeliness
  • They buy hope, comfort, success, wealth, security, love, and acceptance
  • They buy expectations of being pleased
  • They buy product selection options
  • They buy freedom from making a wrong buying decision
  • How many from this list can you line up against your product or service?

Let me ask you this simple question:   Why should I buy your product or service?   Come on … can you tell me right here and now why I should buy from you? (More on this next time)

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2016. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler

Being Invisible

March 22nd, 2016 by Rich Kohler

What do structural engineers, anesthesiologists, fact-checkers, and interpreters have in common? When they do their jobs poorly, the consequences can be catastrophic. But when they do their jobs perfectly…They’re invisible.

“In fact, Invisibles are found in all walks of life. What binds them is their approach—deriving satisfaction from the value of their work, not the volume of their praise.” – David Zweig

Invisibles are almost counter-culture: performing anonymous work in an age of constant self-promotion.

In the book “The Invisibles”, Zweig takes us into the behind-the-scenes worlds that Invisibles inhabit. He interviews top experts in unusual fields to reveal the quiet workers behind public successes. Combining in-depth profiles with insights from psychology, sociology, and business, Zweig uncovers how these hidden professionals reap deep fulfillment by relishing the challenges their work presents. It is reminiscent of the study of introverts in the workplace, “Work that is purposeful and mission-based fits naturally within an introvert’s professional toolkit.”

For a lot of us, the better we perform the more attention we receive. Yet for many “Invisibles” –  skilled professionals whose role is critical to whatever enterprise they’re a part of – it’s the opposite: the better they do their jobs the more they disappear. In fact, often, it’s only when something goes wrong that they are noticed at all – think the anesthesiologist, instrument technician, and structural engineer.

Millions of these Invisibles are hidden in every industry. You may be one yourself. Surely you know of a few. And despite our culture’s increasing celebration of fame in our era of superstar CEOs and assorted varieties of “genius” – they’re fine with remaining anonymous. Zweig’s criteria for the “invisibles” are threefold: ambivalence toward recognition, meticulousness, and the savoring of responsibility. The people he writes about — a fascinating and varied bunch — are those who measure success not by celebrity or financial return, but by the quality of the work they do. And it’s a persuasive argument that they are happier, more fulfilled human beings as a result. Fame, as Zweig demonstrates, is a hollow, fickle thing. Money can also be a much overrated as a source of happiness.

The reality, as many professionals who tend to fall more on the silent end of the spectrum can attest to, is that many of the best workers—be they at the top of the pyramid or somewhere in the middle—go about their business, achieving great results without fanfare. And while it may feel as though the whole world is beguiled by those who make the most noise in conference rooms and boardrooms, it’s encouraging and, critically, worth noting that that’s not actually the case.

Zweig reveals that “Invisibles” have a lot to teach the rest of society about satisfaction and achievement. What has been lost amid the noise of self-promotion today is that not everyone can, or should, or even wants to be in the spotlight. The book reminds us that recognition isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and invisibility can be viewed as a mark of honor and a source of a truly rich life.

In closing, perhaps you have a few people around you who are Invisibles. People who, though they don’t pursue recognition, would be thrilled to have someone notice them and give them a little praise. It is a little thing – but then the little things make life worth living.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2016. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

A Little Secret to Increase Productivity

September 30th, 2015 by Rich Kohler

Rewards Can Cost A Lot, But Be Valued Little

“Rewards” generally have a cost, so if you have a strong, rewards-based system of reinforcement, it has the potential to be expensive. In other words, you almost have to “buy” or “bribe people for” the desirable behavior.

Ironically enough, while that may be seen as a bad outcome from your point of view, it is almost invariably seen as a poor arrangement from the point of view of the “bribe” too! Continuing the irony: Bribes can lose their effectiveness (they have to be bigger and bigger to work) while recognition just seems to keep going and going.

Recognition, on the other hand – acknowledgement, praise, gratitude, icons such as trophies and awards – are usually low or no-cost items, and yet uplift and honor both parties.

So, if recognition has a low cost, but a high perceived value, what could you do to apply this principle in your business to uplift and empower people, while shaping their behavior to provide better outcomes?

Three Parts Recognition To One Part Reward Is The Best Glue

Experience has taught us that pure recognition can look a bit thin after a while, and consistent, long-term pure reward systems just “rot” and cease to work. So what is the ideal balance?

Start with providing three parts recognition to tone part reward. Make it different types of recognition also: public praise, an award, promotion, etc., and, where possible, keep the reward non-monetary. You’d be surprised how little value may be placed on a $100 reward, and just how much value may be placed on two Gold First Class Theater Tickets, or a meal for two (of the same or even lesser value).

An example: A winning real estate sales team were “rewarded” with a trip away together for two years and, then in the third year, when the reward was swapped to a cash equivalent, the entire team under-performed. They were demotivated by being offered money in place of a fun holiday together.

So, if you were to design a “recognition-and-reward system” that fitted your operations, what would it consist of?

People Can Learn To Expect A Better Outcome

“Positive people produce more consistent and more positive results.” Not likely to be a surprise for anyone in that statement – but not everyone who joins your team in necessarily going to come in with a positive orientation (though we hope this would be among your selection criteria).

One of the more rewarding tasks of any leader is to lead their team members to dream a better outcome, and to then to move them to achieving that dream.

If you take people to achieve in a team, things that they believed were beyond them individually, they will do practically anything to maintain or repeat the feeling they derive from that achievement.

So what can you do to encourage your team to “dream big,” and then to Coach them to achieve that dream? What is that likely to do for morale (yours and theirs).

Good Feelings Are Rewards

When you make someone feel good about themselves, and about what they are achieving – or even what they are “working towards” – you are already creating a form of reward that we all value. We tend to come back to situations that give us that type of feeling; tend to do the things that will invoke them again.

On the flip side, bad feelings about failure or lack of progress or frustration or lack of appreciation, are “punishment” (or at least “pain”), and we naturally tend to avoid situations, activities and people that give rise to them. Consider the cost to productivity and morale of a toxic workplace.

We can extend this one a little further and look at the fact that consciously creating a warm, nurturing, physically-and-emotionally safe workplace will be seen (by the good folks, at least) as a form of on-going reward that you create for them, and they’ll tend to be uplifted by it.

So, how could you employ this particular insight in your work situation? And what is likely to be the response if you did?

Sometimes, we make things too complicated and forget that in the end what we all want is to be appreciated and feel good about who we are. Apply the KISS principle and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Stress and Sleep – Part 2

September 23rd, 2015 by Rich Kohler

Stress is an unavoidable and, to a large degree, a potentially positive force in our lives. Like all forces, the art lies in learning to manage the force to our advantage rather than to allow ourselves to be its passive victim. Or as Obewon Kanobe would say, “May the Force be with you.”

In the business context, stress is what you undergo when your body is switched into “fight or flight” mode. The causes of stress can be internal (imaginary) or external (“real”).

As with visualization, it matters little to your mind which category the trigger falls into – if it’s vividly imagined, its “real” to your mind!

Controlling Stress:

You have the choice of managing stress “on the way in”, or “on the way out”.

On the Way In: The only successful method of being preemptive in controlling stress, is to have a positive outlook – a positive philosophy or understanding of how the world works, and what your place is in the scheme of things.

It is never important what happens to you, but how you interpret and understand it. Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude, and develop a meaningful philosophy.

For example, if you were to view Life as “a challenging learning process, which carries a guarantee that you will never be challenged beyond your means” you might find that you welcome change, and look about within your own resources for the means that you know must be there to meet it.

Sounds like a winner to me.

Always see yourself as winning!

On the Way Out: Your body’s normal reaction to Stress is an extreme one. In physiological terms, it consists, among other things, of the injection of a number of natural chemical stimulants into your bloodstream. These substances are mildly toxic; their by-products are even more so. Your body is designed to flush them during the severe physical activity that they are intended to induce.

Since our current society induces stress, but does not sanction violent physical responses, you need find an opportunity to allow your body to go through the process of purging the stress by-products.

You can do this in two ways:
1. Actively: Through gross impact exercises, which mimic the “fight or flight” reaction and flush the system of stress toxins: Racquet Ball, Squash, Weightlifting, Aerobics, Swimming, Power Walking all assist the body in processing – and neutralizing the toxic by-products of stress.

2. Passively: There are a range of techniques you can learn that will effectively “process” stress out of your system, including:

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation techniques in which you learn to guide yourself into a deeply relaxed state. These can be learned using physical and mental disciplines (i.e. yoga) or by employing biofeedback mechanisms which enable you to gain greater control over what were previously assumed to be autonomic processes (heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, etc).
  • Restorative Therapies: These include Hydrotherapy (warm, moving water induces relaxation in muscles, with a subsequent relaxation of the mind); Sauna (induces increased blood flow and autonomic relaxation); Massage (induces relaxation, can release body-retained stresses).
  • Autogenic Training such as self-induced deep relaxation or true Meditation (at 7-14 brain cycles per second) for around 20 minutes a day. Deep prayer also comes into this category. Each of these types of technique enables you to put your body into a unique state which enables it to “backwash” its system, and process stress toxicity as well as carrying out a number of other processes in which the brain integrates recent stressful events into its system of understanding, values and knowledge (in much the same way we do when dreaming).

Well, there you have it. Some positive approaches to handle stress and sleep.

To your better health and a brighter future!

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Stress and Sleep – Part 1

September 16th, 2015 by Rich Kohler

So how are you sleeping nowadays? Need a little work perhaps?

Everyone needs their sleep, but for any business executive, sleep and renewal are important for two key reasons:
• To repair the physical wear and tear of a day of business.
• To “subconsciously process” the stressful events of the day, thus helping to reset our emotional “clocks” for the next day.

Sleep and Emotion:

Research has proven that REM (rapid eye movement or “dreaming”) sleep is crucial for the processing of stress. REM-deprived laboratory subjects are demonstrably less able to handle the normal stresses and strains of daily life.

They are much more likely to make mountains out of molehills. They are much more likely to over-react and to make poor decisions.

Along with a reasonable quality of sleep (i.e. at a dreaming level) we also need a reasonable quantity of sleep for optimal recovery.

Just how much is “enough” sleep is highly individualistic, but something in the range of five to eight hours is considered “normal” – that’s five to eight hours of sleep, not tossing and turning, and “horizontal worrying”.

Strategies for Better Sleep:

  1. Ensure that your room is DARK. Light is a switch that turns the brain on. You are just another energizer bunny battery pack!
  2. Cool rooms induce sleep more certainly than warm rooms, but a higher body temperature during sleep deepens sleep and increases the body’s production of melanin. (The more melanin you have, the better functioning is your Pineal gland, the more awake you are in the daytime and the deeper you sleep at night).
  3. If you exercise regularly, doing so after 4pm is likely to leave you physically “discharged” and so to induce sleep.
  4. Reduce or abstain from caffeinated products (tea, colas, aspirin, chocolate) for at least 4 hours before sleeping.
  5. Don’t drink liquids after 7pm. A walk to the toilet disturbs sleep patterns unnecessarily.
  6. Reduce or abstain from nicotine (powerful stimulant) after 7pm.
  7. Do not drink alcohol to induce sleep. While it can induce sleep, studies suggest it interferes with the duration of REM sleep. You may sleep 8 hours on a couple of scotches, but will wake feeling less refreshed than from non alcohol induced sleep.
  8. Generally it is not a good strategy to take medication designed to induce sleep. Like alcohol, these interfere with REM, and introduce tolerance and dependence issues you can do without. But there is an exception: Where the “habit” of sleeping for an extended period of time without interruption has been so badly eroded that a “re-boot” is required, it may be useful to use a short course (say 7 nights) of a light-dose sleeping assist to reestablish the habit. Then move off the medication (by progressively reducing the dose to nothing over the next week) to allow your system to find its own new rest pattern.
  9. Establish a regular pattern of preparation for sleep, starting 15 minutes before you intend to lie down. Even if disrupted by travel, attempt to maintain the same actions and sequence whenever possible. Do this for a night or two and you’ll actually feel yourself beginning to become drowsy as you go through your motions.
  10. If you have chronic sleeping problems reserve your bed for ONLY sleep, so that you associate it with only this activity. Avoid writing letters, eating, or watching TV in bed.
  11. Turn your bedside clock around. This is especially helpful for clock watchers who worry so much about sleep they’ve missed, that they miss some more checking to see how much they have left! Cure: For 3 weeks, set a “mental alarm” to wake at the same time each day, and a physical alarm (smart phone or clock) somewhere out of sight, but within hearing. Don’t be surprised if, after a few nights, you begin to wake naturally, a minute or two before your alarm. You now have a new habit and a knack for waking when you want just by setting your brain to do that.
  12. If, after some period of time, you have not fallen asleep, get out of bed, go to another room, do not eat or drink, and do not watch TV, do “fun” things, and don’t do “work”. Read quietly, or meditate, and only go back to bed when sleepy.
  13. If you need to nap during the day, limit these to power naps of less than 20 minutes. This avoids the groggy hangover of a siesta, provides refreshment and avoids the risk of interfering with your regular sleep period.

So there you have it.

I think I’ll just take a little nap. See you next time.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Excellence vs. Excuses – Part 2

September 9th, 2015 by Rich Kohler

Last week, we covered being the effect of things that happen to you. This week, we are going to be the cause of the things we want in our life.

Cause Side

Those at cause see themselves as creating results – instead of looking for reasons for non-results. When they don’t complete their paperwork on time, they look for those of their acts that produced that result – and how they can change those.

When they don’t meet commitments on time, they accept that it’s because of something that they did or did not do – or something that they attracted to themselves because of what they are projecting in to the world.

When they don’t complete their tasks on time, they recognize that they it’s because “these things happened that I allowed to distract me from doing this”.

When they don’t take the actions that will achieve their goals or KPIs, it’s because “I became distracted or lacked the time management systems or skills to handle these things in a timely fashion”; I allowed other people to put me off instead of making arrangements that would achieve my goals. “Other people” can sense when a person is determined to achieve their ends, and usually step in to assist them or at least to get out of their way.

When they fail to follow established processes and systems they will ask themselves why, or seek counseling, or training or a change of habit that will make it easier to follow process easier next time.

Of failure, they say things like, “I didn’t take into account the type of businesses that are in my area, so I need to do more research before going again; I didn’t take the time to understand the economy here and so I muffed it – I’ll do my research and go again; my clients are different so I need to work out what I need to change in order to take that into account; the systems aren’t working the way they should so we need to determine whether it’s me or the systems and change the bit that needs it”.

I can be a success despite or because of:
• My parents
• My teachers
• My wife
• My ex wife
• My ex partner
• My clients
• My university professor
• The company’s systems
• My health

I am the Cause of all the Effects in my Life. What I Perceive is a Product of What I Project.

Above or Below the Line

People who perceive chaos, challenge and lack of organization, system and process do so because they have yet to create order in their behavior; to accept the opportunity to develop new strength and courage by meeting new challenges; to take responsibility for learning and applying basic processes for taking control of their use of time and their management of the events that impact on them by organizing themselves, creating or using systems and seeking new processes that deliver consistently good results.

It’s never what happens to you; it’s always a matter of how you choose to interpret it (and that will depend on your chosen model).

By the way, your model is a choice.

Living “above the line” is a matter of personal choice – and of personal discipline.

Goal set all the time, and focus your energy

Own everything in your Life

Learn from every action and consequence

Do what you commit to

Despair – and wait to be rescued

Excuse yourself and avoid learning lessons

Blame everyone else for your actions and consequences

Take what you can and don’t worry about repaying

How you approach life – Cause or Effect, Gold or Debt – it’s all up to you.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.