Mingle Bells: Tips For Networking At Your Holiday Party

Yesterday, we discussed a recent study on monkeys and what you can learn from them about rationalizing.

Today, you’ll learn four tips to network your way through your holiday parties.

Mingle bell #1:  Break the ice.
Ideally, someone introduces you. In fact, look for people you know talking to people you don’t know. That’s the easiest way to get introduced to someone new.

If that option is not available, just think of an interesting opener. You might comment on something they’re wearing. Or discuss the food, the drink, or the place that you’re at. If all else fails, talk about the weather! 

Mingle bell #2:  Find something in common.
Find out how they know the host. Obvious, isn’t it? But with that information, you may get a clue to other people, places or things that you have in common with the person you just met.

When all else fails, fall back on our humanity. Check up on current events before the party, particularly lifestyle news. You can always make fun of the celebrity du jour!

Mingle bell #3:  Take a genuine interest in them.
Some people network solely to do more business. They’re looking for money with every contact. In our opinion, this is a mistake for two reasons. First, you don’t get to know some of the best people you’ll ever meet. Second, people see through it quickly.

Listen intently. Remember two ears, one mouth? You’ll learn more than you ever imagined, simply by letting others talk about themselves.

Mingle bell #4:  Make a lasting impact.
We live in a society hell-bent on moving fast. Speed dating came first. Now we have speed interviewing and speed networking. An article recently suggested that if you spend more than two minutes talking to someone you just met, you’re wasting your time. We think this is bull caca. Yeah, we checked the spelling … according to Webster, we got it right!

You shouldn’t force it. If there’s a lull in the conversation, find a graceful way to exit. But keep your goal in mind – to find new people with whom you connect. You’ll be more effective thinking quality, rather than quantity.

Use these four tips to take a sleigh-ride to successful networking!

Our quote today is by an unknown author.   

“How far we travel in life matters far less than those we meet along the way.”

So mingle your way through the holiday. You’ll make spirits bright!

Next time, we’ll get aggressively passive when we talk about how to build a passive income that sets you free.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Get The Monkey Off Your Back

Yesterday, we discussed how to build your self-confidence. Today we’ll talk about a recent study on monkeys and what you can learn from it.

Yale University recently released the results of a study on the behavior of some monkeys when given a choice of M&Ms. The researchers broke their experiment into the following four steps:

Step 1 – The researchers gave each monkey an assortment of M&Ms.

Step 2 – They let each monkey choose their three favorite colors. Let’s say that “Spanky” chose red, blue and green. From all appearances, Spanky liked all three colors equally.

Step 3 – Then, Spanky was only shown the red and green M&Ms. Spanky chose the green one.

Step 4 – They showed Spanky the previously-rejected red  M&M and the blue M&M. Spanky chose blue; he rejected the red one again. In a disproportionate number of cases, the monkeys rejected the M&M they had discarded in Step 3. The researchers conclude that this reinforces the monkey’s previous decision. This, in spite of the fact, that he had no preference between the three initially. It turns out that monkeys rationalize their decisions!

Here are three things we take away from this:

  • You’re prone to rationalize. It’s comes naturally!
  • Think about this as you’re making decisions today. Don’t let past decisions unreasonably cloud current choices. You may be factoring in a bias from your prior selections. You’ll make better decisions today, if you’re aware of this inclination.

    For example, we have a friend who failed in business when he was younger. Now, even though he is extremely bright and has gained relevant experience, he won’t even consider going into business again. He (and his family and many friends) are letting his prior experience cloud his current judgment.

  • If you can, rationalize and move on!
  • Time and energy are often wasted second-guessing ourselves. Take a lesson from the monkeys at Yale. Focus on what’s important now, not on what happened yesterday. Time is precious – spend it productively.

    As humans, though, our decisions are often more complex than demonstrated by this study. What do you do when a past decision is affecting your life today?

  • If you must, take action immediately!
  • If a decision from your past is haunting your present, change course. You may need to do some research; do it now – the sooner, the better. Do what’s necessary today to create your dream future.

    Take someone who has racked up a huge credit card debt. He or she should stop using credit cards immediately, find ways to save money, and get a temporary, part-time job if necessary. Rationalizing will only make it worse. Do something about it now!

That’s what we can learn from this barrel of monkeys. Rationalize it if you can. Change it if you must. Either way, move on!

Our quote today is by pastor and speaker, Ralph Washington Sockman.

“Let us not bankrupt our todays by paying interest on the regrets of
yesterday and by borrowing in advance the troubles of tomorrow.”

Get past the monkey business of the past. Make today your day! Tomorrow, we’ll look at some tips for networking your way through the holiday season … and every season. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

The Confidence Game

If you have owned your own business, you have probably struggled with self-confidence from time to time. You may even relate to and have suggestions for one of our listeners.

We received an e-mail from Beth, who is in the process of starting her own consulting company. She says her problem is that there’s a little voice in her head that keeps pointing out what she doesn’t know. It’s paralyzing her progress, and she would like some advice on how to get past this.

Don’t feel alone, this is a common problem. We congratulate Beth for having the courage to make this move. George has a theory that, as an entrepreneur, the highs are higher and the lows are lower when own your own business. So welcome to the roller coaster!

Here are some tips on how to get past the lows by giving yourself a boost in confidence:

Don’t expect perfection
Allow yourself to be human, by setting achievable goals. For instance, many people feel they don’t know the financial side of business. Read books, take a class, or find someone you can team up with. Do what you do well and let others help you so that you can get started and tackle your challenges.

Rebut the cruel inner critic
Counter your negatives with positives. For example, when that little tells you what you don’t know, tell it what you do know. When it tells you why you shouldn’t take a risk, tell it why you should. Focus on what you can do and what you know you will do.

Be Your Best Friend
Friends tell you what you need to hear, but when they do, it’s in a caring way. We help our friends get through tough situations in encouraging ways. So why not offer yourself suggestions in the same manner? Don’t get down on yourself and be critical just because you didn’t do something right or because you don’t know something.

Meditate
It’s important to practice thinking positive. Take a break, think about a task you completed that made you feel confident, and remember how good it felt. When you go to bed, focus on three good things that you did well that day. It’s a great way to end the day, by focusing on what you have accomplished.

Our quote today is by Stan Smith.

“Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it.”

Get out of your own way…you’ve got places to go! Tomorrow we’ll discuss getting the money off your back. We’ll share some recent research on monkeys that you’ll find interesting.

Stretch Yourself Anew

Yesterday, we discussed how to live without being perfect. We told you to practice the
“75% solution” so you have more time to enjoy life. Today we’ll discuss how to stretch yourself anew.

Let’s face it – we’re all busy. As we age, our careers get more demanding. We have more family responsibilities. Real life gets in the way of stretching ourselves in new ways. We want to give you four questions to ask yourself to rediscover joy in your life.

Question 1: What’s something you used to love to do?
There are things you used to do that got pushed aside – not intentionally, but accidentally. Something had to give. We have a friend who loved music when he was younger. Recently, he bought a guitar and started playing again. He loved it! Now he’s in a band and has an amazing collection of valuable guitars!

Question 2: What class, outside your major, did you really enjoy?
Or another way to think about it – was there a class you always wanted to take? Another friend’s job involves a lot of analysis. In college, he took a creative writing class as an elective. Now he’s taking another writing class at his local community college. He loves it! He says it’s a complete escape.

Question 3: What do you have sitting around the house?
You may have to dig deep, but there are probably remnants of old hobbies somewhere in your house. Why not break out the tools of your craft? Mary-Lynn says she has rediscovered paint-by-number. She’s learned to keep her brushes clean and in plain sight. That’s her reminder to enjoy this favorite activity from the past.

Question 4: What did you used to read?
Take a trip to your local library or bookstore. Browse the magazine section. What strikes you? George used to subscribe to a couple of fishing magazines. Now, he’s rediscovered fishing with a new twist – it’s a great time to relax and reflect, even if he doesn’t catch anything!

Stretching yourself by recalling those things that used to bring you joy rounds you out. You’ll find it helps your career and your family life. You’re more interesting. You’ll have new energy. You may even find a clue that will take your career and your life in an exciting new direction.

Our quote today is by the great writer and poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes.

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea,
never regains its original dimensions.”

Take an old idea and make it new again. Stretch yourself and expand your mind. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss building self-confidence. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Practice Not Being Perfect

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Before we start on today’s topic, we want to remind you to visualize your dream life, by answering the question, “If neither time nor money were an issue, how would you spend your time and money?” We’ll be coming back to this topic in a few weeks, so keep dreaming bigg! 

The holiday season is in full swing. Black Friday has come and gone. Millions are celebrating Cyber Monday today by shopping online. We received an e-mail from one of our listeners recently that we thought we would share with you.

Julie says that, in the last few years, she’s gotten so stressed out trying to find the perfect present for everyone on her list. She gets frustrated and oh-so-tired. She wants some suggestions on finding the joy in the holidays again.

You may be able to feel Julie’s pain. Life seems particularly busy this time of year. However, Julie’s problem goes beyond Christmas and presents. There are lessons to be learned for the whole year. Here what we suggested to Julie:

  • Be a hero, not a super hero.
  • Lower your expectations. You only have 24 hours in the day. You can only do so much. Stop trying to be super-human. Live your life on human terms. We give you permission to be human. We even give you permission to buy gift certificates!  

  • Ask why it’s so important.
  • What’s the underlying need you’re seeking to fulfill? Is it the approval of others? You’re worried that your friends and your kids won't think you’re the best. Get past the superficial. Focus on your goal – showing your loved ones that you care about them. Stop worrying about impressing them.  

  • Be happy with 75%.
  • We heard a story recently about a college professor who taught a CPA review course. On the first day of the new semester, the professor explained to his new crop of students that they needed to get a score of 75 or above on each of the four sections of the CPA test. Then he introduced them to his model student. His scores on the CPA exam were:
    Section 1: 75
    Section 2: 75
    Section 3: 75
    Section 4: 75

    He passed every section with the minimum score! But he passed. The professor explained to his class that this student had spent exactly the right amount of time preparing for the exam.

    Any less would have led to failure.
    Any more would have been wasted.

    He has the same CPA designation as the person who got 100 in all four sections. But he had more time to spend on other important things in his life.

    So spend 25% less time trying to get it perfect. Use that time to enjoy your life. By being less demanding of yourself, you’ll find your life is much more rewarding.  

Our quote today is by Arthur N. Known.

“No one is perfect … that’s why pencils have erasers.”

Striving for excellence puts lead in your pencil. Striving for perfection takes it out.
Tomorrow, we’ll challenge you to stretch yourself. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!