About janmyburgh

Passionate about developing and mentoring people, Jan’s career progressed from marketing and selling Real Estate to managing real estate businesses and presenting training and coaching for Real Estate consultants and business owners countrywide for a number of years. Jan Myburgh was awarded the regional and national manager of the year award for 2006 for RE/MAX in South Africa and acted as an online training facilitator and trainer. Jan also acted as the Business Development Manager for Richard Robbins International (RRi) and coached real estate business owners and consultants on a full time basis, before taking up the current General Manager position with Harcourts South Africa as well as heading up The Real Estate Academy – TREA.

Eat that Frog !!!

Earlier this week,  a colleague and I sat with an entrepreneur, who after a year in a sales business, said to me that he is at the lowest point he has ever been…Financially, emotionally and in terms of prospects for the future. No Pipeline business and no income at the end of the month. Feeling beaten and drained, fearing the loss of his assets and roof over his head.

We talked through the options available, that if consistent action is taken, things could change around in a four week period. The outcomes will put him back on the road to survival, achievement and success. The main question that needed answering at this critical point was:  What is the one thing, that if you concentrate single-mindedly on it, will give you the greatest result in your business? What is the core activity of your business that is the seed that births everything else?  As we worked the desired money/income back to activity, as you can imagine, it came down to 20 telephone calls per day to his circle of influence, acquaintances, present and past clients, asking for their help in referring business and providing an opportunity to serve them.

He agreed to practice the one “Principle for Success” from Brian Tracey’s book ” Eat that Frog”. The principle advocates doing the biggest and the most undesirable task first thing in the morning. Do the worse first. Concentrate and focus on that task only, until its done. It advocates that if you can do that without supervision, there is nothing that you can’t achieve. Working without supervision means that you have clear goals, clear priorities and start everyday on the most important task until its done. Success is the discipline of doing this task fastidiously over and over again. The compound effect of those performed activities over time, will produce the results. He agreed to not open his laptop, his e mail, his Facebook, Linked in, mail or anything else that will impair his focus until he has spoken with 20 people on the phone. When the appointments are made, the day can bring any other crisis.

I am delighted to tell you that he has made 40 calls thus far in the past 2 days. Reporting back in a daily coaching call, he indicated that he has 4 appointments lined up with direct business forthcoming. The coaching “supervision” now has to ensure that the calls are still being made, everyday, even while the appointments are falling into place.

So…how about you?  Nothing will change until you take some action..Don’t make the mistake by thinking that your situation is not as dire as the entrepreneur I wrote about. As we fall into that comfort zone of thinking that things are going really well, we are already regressing and overtaken by the rapid pace of change around us. We all have a “Frog to eat” in the morning, just to stay ahead, never mind progress in leaps and bounds! How?

Step 1 – Decide what you want – Henry Ford said – “Most people never get what they want because they never decide what they want”

Step 2 – Write down that One Goal that will have the biggest effect in your life, in the present tense. Come on..do it now!

Step 3 – Write down a deadline for that goal

Step 4- Make a list of all the small actions you could do to achieve that goal – breaking the big goal into small pieces of actions

Step 5 – Organise the list into priorities (what has to be done first, second, third, to last) – this will be your  plan.

Step 6 – Take action!

Step 7 – Do something every day..Do the one thing everyday.

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Awareness – the greatest agent for change…

“Authentic human interactions become impossible when you lose yourself in a role” 

Eckhart Tolle – the New Earth

In many instances, It does not matter how well you are prepared for a sales appointment, the customer chooses to deal or not to deal with you, within a few minutes of meeting you. Maybe even before you started talking business!

Could it be that people may not perceive us to be authentic in the relationship that we are trying to built? Don’t be too hard on yourself  if you think that it may be a possibility that they perceive you as playing a role.  We have been born into a society that specialize in Role assignment and self-definition. It started when tribal cultures started developing into ancient civilizations. As people fulfilled certain functions such as priest, warrior, farmer, merchant, labourer etc, that  function became their roles and determined their identity. They were eventually born into that role. Think about modern surnames such as “Bishop”, “Smith” & “Butler” that identify such medieval roles.

Social structures are less rigid nowadays,  but we are still being conditioned by our environment and our self defined roles. We allow our “function” to become our “role”.  To the extend that our roles (i.e colleague, customer, sales person, manager)  take over our true identity and we act out the requirements of that role unconsciously.   If we are “aware” enough when we interact with other people, we may detect the changes in our speech, attitude or behaviour, depending on who you are interacting with. The way we speak to the CEO of the company versus the cleaner or the way we speak to  a child versus an adult, indicates that we are acting out roles.

How can we be more authentic in our relationships? Especially with our clients, seeing that this is the topic of this post?

  1. Ensure that you are fulfilling a function (such as sales or admin) in line with your natural abilities and strengths. Natural gifting for a function in business or life, will make you play less of a “role” and be more authentic.
  2. Make it a question based interaction!  In order to separate you from the role as the all- knowing sales person with the selfish motivation, approach the conversation with genuine interest to help the client (or your colleague, or team member, or subordinate…)
  3. The aim of the questions should be to establish the goals and objectives of the other party…Such as “What do you hope to achieve? What will that mean to you? What will happen if the goal is not reached? How will that affect you? What is keeping you or standing in your way? What could you do about it? Where could I help or what options am I able to supply? “
  4. Be aware of your body language and what is “unsaid but communicated”. Most of all, be aware of your motivations in responses…Our ego tends to step forward and “defend” its identity when the answers are not in line with our opinion. Remember – Awareness is the greatest agent of change! Self-Change obviously…

The Enemy within…

We all have an enemy and it lives within us. For some of us, to a greater extent than others. The enemy is called “Ego”…   This topic started interesting me when I became aware of how people react in situations where, as the outside observer, I could clearly see where the challenge for them lies or how the well intended feedback I was giving them, could enhance their performance so much…if they were just willing to listen, without regarding it as a criticism or taking it as a personal insult. My Question was “What makes people act in this defensive, all-knowing, superior and egotistical way?” – the answer to be found is the last descriptive word – “Egotistical”…an enemy to our true nature and potential.

For the sake of these thoughts, the ego can be explained as the “self made mental/mind image of who I am”, embodied in the titles of “I”, “me”, “mine” and “myself” as Eckhardt Tolle defines it in his book “The New Earth”.  Our behaviors and emotions, driven by the motivations of our ego, alienate us from relationships with loved ones, clients &  friends, let us crave for more possessions and recognition, let us play roles in life, create states of unhappiness, want, pain, rejection etc. It closes us off from further learning, resenting feedback, creating arrogance and a sense of superiority in all relationships.

Whatever behavior the ego manifests, the hidden motivating force is always the same: The need to stand out, be special, be in control, the need for power, for attention, for more and the need to feel a sense of separation.

The ego is continually strengthening itself trough a few strategies:

  • Complaining and Resentment – every complaint is a little story the mind makes up, that we completely believe in –  it is a habitual and unconscious action.  Applying negative labels to people, either to their face or talking about them to others, is often part of this action. The emotion that accompanies complaining and labeling, is resentment. It means to feel bitter, indignant, aggrieved or offended. Complaining and feeling resentment can also be aimed at situations. The implication is always “I don’t want to be here, I am being treated unfairly, I don’t want to be doing this”.  Complaining is not to be confused with informing someone of a mistake or a deficiency. There is no ego in telling the waiter the soup is cold and needs heating up, as long as one sticks to the facts. However ” How dare you serve me cold soup..” There is a “me” here that feels personally offended by the cold soup and is going to make the most of it, a “me” that enjoys making someone wrong. The complaining I am talking about, is in service of the ego, not of change.
  • Reactivity and Grievances – a long standing resentment turns into a grievance. This is a strong negative emotion, connected to an event in the sometimes distant past, that is being kept alive by compulsive thinking, by retelling the story in the head or out loud of “what someone did to me”. It will also contaminate your present relationships and distort your perception of present events. Reactivity follows on complaining – always waiting for the next thing to react against, feel annoyed or disturbed about. We hear it in the words: “This an outrage..How dare you..I resent this..” They are addicted to upset and anger as others are to a drug. Through reacting against this or that, they assert and strengthen the feeling of self / ego.
  • Being Right, Making Wrong – Complaining can give one a sense of superiority . When we complain, by implication we are right and the person or situation you are complaining about or react against, is wrong. Nothing strengthens the ego more than being right. For us to be right, of course, someone else needs to be wrong. We need to make others wrong in order to get a stronger sense of who we are.

Ego takes everything personally. Emotion arises, defensiveness and even aggression. Every ego confuses facts with opinions and viewpoints. It feels it has to defend the “truth” – Whose truth? It’s own,  infused with “I”, who we have seen, has to be right!

Another danger is that we confuse the ego we see in others, with their “identity”. This is the work of your own ego that uses this misconception to strengthening itself through being right and therefore superior and through reacting with condemnation, indignation and often anger against the perceived opponent.

Nothing changes until we take action… 

It is difficult to change a lifetime of self induced, ego-driven behavior and perceptions, but we can start somewhere small to diminish the effect of our “self made mental image” and it’s entitlement.

  • Non- reaction to the ego in others, is one of the most effective ways of going beyond the ego in yourself.  You can only be in a state of non-reaction if you recognize that someone’s behaviour is coming from their ego. When you realize its not personal, there is no longer a compulsion to react as if it were
  • Listen to your language , the words you choose to describe your feelings and emotions to situations – the words as described above, will lay your ego bare and make you realize to what extend you are being held captive and driven by the wants and desires of your ego to be superior, justified, to be right, to complain and harbour resentment.
  • Stick to the facts – When describing situations, objectively quantify the facts of the matter, separating viewpoints and opinions from it, as the starting point of a solution. See the situation and see your anger  “how you feel about it”,  as two separate things. Then you will realize that there maybe different ways in approaching and resolving that situation.

Just say No!…

 

You don’t have to let yourself be terrorized by other people’s expectations of you

(Sue Patton Thoele – Author of The courage to be yourself)

Today we are more accessible to people than ever before, because of the explosion of communications technology. Complete strangers can reach you by mobile phone, e mail, telephone, fax, regular mail and social media such as Linked inn, Facebook, Twitter etc. They can e mail and text message you at work, at home and while you are on holiday. If you are not there, they can leave  messages on your answering machine and your voice mail or if you are there, interrupt you with a call waiting.  Just completing your daily tasks and pursuing your longer term goals, have become a great challenge.

We are taking on more than we can comfortably deliver in an unconscious desire to impress others, to get ahead, and keep up with others’ expectations. Meanwhile our top priorities goes unaddressed, as everyone wants a piece of you! To be successful in achieving your goals, you will have to get good at saying “no” to all of the people and distractions that would otherwise devour you.

The first step: Don’t just delegate – Eliminate ! If you are going to increase your results, your income, and time for yourself (R&R), you are going to have to eliminate those tasks, requests and other time-stealers that don’t have a high pay-off. You will have to structure your work so that you are focusing your time, effort, energies and resources on projects and opportunities that give you a huge reward for your efforts. You will have to set strong boundaries about what you will and won’t do.

Jim Collins in his book Good to Great, motivates to start a “stop doing list” as well as a “to do list”. Then make the things on your “don’t list” policies. People respond to policies as boundaries. On a personal level some of these policies may be “I don’t lend money to people; I don’t lend my car out; I don’t discuss charity contributions on the phone, send me something in writing” On a business level some of these may be “I don’t lend my books to others – they don’t come back; I don’t do individual training – there is more leverage in a group; I don’t book more than 2 office visits per day; I don’t take any appointments on a Monday – it is my planning and preparation day”

The second step” “It’s not against you; its for me”. Jack Canfield explains this well in his book, The Success Principles. Even as children, many of us learned that No is an unacceptable answer. We are afraid that it may count against us later and lead to a poor evaluation  or prevent us from moving up the corporate ladder. Yet, highly successful people say No all the time. “No” to crazy deadlines, questionable priorities and other people’s crises. A response that will make you feel better in saying no to a crisis appeals or time-robbing requests is ” its not against you, it’s for me”. Explain it like this to the person asking for your dedication to a cause outside your  policy or commitment to another priority. ” My saying no to you is not against you or what you are trying to do. In fact I support it and think  It’s a worthy cause , but I have recently made a commitment to spent more time with my family as I have been over committing myself. It’s not against you, it’s for us”  Few people should be angry at you for making a stand in favour of a higher commitment. They may actually respect you for your clarity and strength.

The third step: Say No to the good – so that you can say Yes to the Great! If you surveyed your life and write down those activities that brought you the most success, financial gain, most advancement and enjoyment, you would discover that 20% of your activities, produces about 80% of your success (The Pareto principle at work).

How rapidly could you reach your goals and improve your life if you say No to the time wasting activities – mundane and non productive? Instead focus on the 20% that brings you the most benefit!

Well, nothing happens until you take action!

Jim Collins explains how one could go about determining what’s truly great so you can say no to what’s merely good.

  1. Start by listing you opportunities. One side of the page for the “good”, and the other side for the “great”. Seeing it in writing will crystallize your thinking, help you determine which questions to ask, what information to gather and what your plan of action may be. It will help you establish of an opportunity truly fits in with your life purpose , or are you just going down a dead end?
  2. Talk to advisors about a new potential pursuit. Speak to people who have traveled the road before. They may have vast experience to share and talk to you about expected challenges.
  3. Test the waters. Rather than take a leap of faith that the new opportunity will deliver what you expect, conduct a small test first. Spend a limited amount of time and money. for instance, If it’s a new career, first seek part time work or independent consulting in that field.
  4. Look at where you spend your time. Determine if those activities truly serve your goals or if saying no would free up your schedule for more focused pursuits.

The Moment of Truth…

Every day, in every moment you get to exercise choices that will determine whether or not you will become a great person, living a great life. Greatness is not something predetermined, predestined or carved into your fate by forces beyond your control. Greatness is always in the moment of decision!  What a revelation in such a simple thought by Jeff Olson in his book, the Slight Edge.

Many a times, we are looking for the “silver bullet” or the “magic pill” solution to make us great at what we do, great at who we are, great at what we achieve, what we look like etc. We are looking for the quantum leap to take us, in an instant, from where we are to where we want to be. The many unscrupulous schemes offering instant solutions such as “losing 30 kgs in 30 days”, “Make money while you sleep” and “Order your MBA through the post”, prey on this way of thinking.

A favourite saying that rings true for me  is: “We don’t always get what we want, but we always get what we choose”. It drives home the fact that, we design our lives through the choices we make in the moments of truth.  Our results and outcomes are produced by  choice, not by chance…and there always is a choice presenting itself in any given situation. Which road do I take at the fork..the left or the right?  All those left or right turns, had a destination and you have arrived! Maybe its not where you wanted to be?    Question is: “What was on your horizon when you made the decision – if anything? What was your primary motivation, when you made it?  ”

Allow me to use Gandhi or Nelson Mandela as examples to prove the point. They did not become great people overnight and had statues erected in their honour, after having made some random decisions. A lifetime of decisions and choices, in line with what they had on their horizon i.e.  a world free of colonialism and a world free of racial discrimination, inspired them to be great in the moments of truth.

Well, Nothing changes until you move...

Obviously nothing you can do about the past. Just accept it, forgive yourself and ask forgiveness, if needed. But no reason why the future should look like the past. Exercising your choices in the moments of truth onward, will have a direct influence on where you will be a few days, weeks, months or years from now on.

The biggest thing you can do right now is to first decide what you want. Establish a destination on your horizon – something you are aiming at.  What exactly do you want for your career, your income, your health, your relationships? Can you write down One “destination” for each of these?   Now “Greatness” starts : Make sure that all decisions and choices are in line with that goal or destination.  Exercise Greatness in every moment of truth. Collectively, all those little, daily decisions, will ensure your arrival at the chosen destination.

Easy does it…

Ever had the thought – “How the hell did I land up here?” Chances are that it wasn’t a isolated decision that brought you to that place, but a series of choices. The power of the compound effect is invisibly at work in our lives, positively or negatively… We see it manifesting in our health, relationships, business results, finances, physical environment etc.

A practical example of the principle looks like this: If two friends both at the age of 24, decide to invest enough money per month to enable them to have an investment of R1 Million at the age of 65, they will have to invest R2000 per month to get to the R1 Million. One of them starts straight away and put his R2000 per month into a savings account at 12%. The other guy waited for 6 years before he starts to save. Did you know that even if the first friend stop investing after the first 6 years without making a single deposit more, he will have just over R1 Million at the age of 65- due to the power of compound interest? The little financial ball he started rolling, picked up huge momentum over time. And the second friend will have to invest R2000 per month until the age of 62 to achieve the same balance. The six years of procrastination has cost him 27 years more than his friend and R54 000 more invested, just to arrive at the same place.

Nobody drops dead from eating one unhealthy meal. It is the compound effect of eating unhealthy meals over a period of years that produces the bad health result in your body.

The sales team’s results and company income didn’t just stop in one month. It started a few months ago when you stopped or neglected the regular one-on-one coaching meeting, the prospecting, the team sales meeting, the team building workshop, giving recognition, paying out the incentive on time…and one fine day, the result shows! Seemingly like a bolt out of the blue. Really?

Jeff Olsen in his book, The Slight Edge, explains that “success is the progressive Realization of a worthy ideal”. “Progressive” meaning that success is a process, not a destination. Failure is just as gradual. The difference between success and failure is so subtle, we most times can’t see or recognize it during the process. The difference is dictated by small, critical choices that you make daily in line with the bigger objective you are pursuing. By the time you get the feedback – when the results show – the choices and the real work are history. At the time you made those choices, nobody noticed, but you.

This is exactly where the challenge for us lies: You alone are accountable for those choices. Hardly ever does someone stand over you shoulder and say:” Come on, get up now, you said you wanted to jog the 5km early today” or “Oh no! – are you really going to eat that? How will that affect your weight loss goal?” or ” Wouldn’t it be a good opportunity now to give him some feedback on his attitude during that meeting? – I know its tough and confrontational but it is the right thing to do for the team”

These small investments – actions – choices, are easy to do and as easy, not to do. The compound effect of doing them or not doing them, will, over a period of time, show in a result. That result is either success or failure.

Well, nothing changes until you move…

Time for another little choice. What am I going to do? As you could see from the first example of the R1 million saving, there is a cost to waiting. Think about the one Thing in your life that has the greatest effect on your mental, emotional and physical well being. The Thing, that if you could change it, will have the greatest beneficial effect. Break down the achievement of that goal into small, regular daily steps or actions..Easy to do, easy not to do. Start doing as “Easy does it!” The power of the compound effect will produce the result.

Face the Facts….

One of the things that we have to do in order  to move from where we are to where we want to be, is to face what is not working in our lives. We are in denial when we make excuses for the lack of energy, lack of income, sales on a downward trend, a deteriorating relationship or when we are not confronting an employee or colleague whose behaviour is detrimental to the team’s performance.

To face something that is not working in your life usually means you are going to have to do something uncomfortable. It means you may have to exercise more self discipline, risk not being liked, confront someone, ask for what you want, maybe say “no” to someone or demand respect in an abusive relationship.  When we don’t want to do these uncomfortable things, we defend and tolerate a  situation that does not work.  Making progress in your life, will take courage to face these situations head-on  and take action, no matter how challenging or uncomfortable it may be.

We possibly don’t even realise when we are in denial, hiding behind myths, widely accepted views and platitudes that sounds like these: ” It’s got nothing to do with me, It’s not my place to say, Don’t make waves, She’s just at that age, We just have to wait it out, I am sure he is going to pay it back” etc.

We will even make up reasons why something that is not working, is working! If we just acknowledge the bad situation sooner, it would often be less painful to resolve, be cheaper, more beneficial, the problems will be easier to solve, we would feel better about ourselves and we would have more integrity…BUT we have to get past our denial.

Charles Givens (Real Estate investment strategist) said: “Doing more of what doesn’t work, wont make it work any better”. Defending and justifying a bad situation is really just a form of denial.

Why then, if the benefits of fixing what is not working is so apparent, don’t we do the logic thing? “Often, denial is based on the notion that something even worse will happen when we stop denying and take action”, Jack Canfield explains in his book “The Success Principles“. In other words – we are afraid to face facts squarely.

Well, nothing changes until you make the first move…..

Make a list of what’s not working in your life. Think about the main areas of your life such as Business / Career, Finances, Relationships, Health and Appearance, Personal Growth. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is not working?
  • How can we improve it?
  • What requests can I make?
  • How can I help you?
  • What do I / We need to do?
  • What actions steps can I take to get each of these situations to work the way I would like.

Choose an action and do it! In the end, it does not matter what we know, believe or say..All that matters is what we do!

Good enough never is…

In a competitive business world where most of the services and products we render, have been commoditized and we are competing on price for the business of our customers, there is the obvious and glaring strategy left: Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty! in order to create that and win the heart and mind of the customer, a strategy and action plan will be needed.

A Moment of Truth is any moment in which an actual or potential customer experiences some aspect of you and your company and gets an impression of the degree to which you care.

Simply put: Every time staff come into contact with a customer or potential customer, there is an opportunity to influence that person’s view and beliefs about the individual and the company.  No matter how long that moment of truth lasts, the customer’s experience will be a determining factor in whether he or she will decide to do business with you again. At every point of contact with a customer, the company’s reputation and image is on the line.

What makes it more challenging, is that the customer has chain of experiences when dealing with an organization. The customer often experiences several people in a company at different times. This means that more than one Moment of Truth occurs, which points to the need for consistency.

Customers will always either have a dull moment or a golden moment. Customers experience golden moments when they feel appreciated , that the company cares about them and values their business. The secret to superior customer care is to make Moments of Truth become Golden Moments.

Question to you is: What strategies do you have in place to ensure that a customer’s experience is a custom made golden moment? Are all the team members tied into your vision for the business and customer experiences? Are they trained and motivated for it? Do they have the tools and resources to deliver such experiences? When last have you had the team together to assess your customer experience strategy?

Well…nothing will change until you make the first move!