I didn’t know that the key to a better life was in the 39-year-old book in my hand. I had not seen this book in two decades. I only found it because during the coronavirus crisis, I was dealing with some materials in storage.
Opening the book at random, I discovered an idea that has stayed with me. The book is Isaac Asimov on Science Fiction. I wondered what I might learn from viewing this author’s words. I found his story about a woman named Peg, who was the wife of the famed science fiction editor John W. Campbell, Jr.
John Campbell and Isaac Asimov fell into a big argument. Their dispute escalated and became worse. They even wrote letters that hammered at each other.
Peg read the letters from both men and told them, “Any more and the friendship will be destroyed, and this argument is not worth a friendship.” John Campbell and Isaac Asimov dropped their argument and talked about other things. The friendship was saved.
Years later, John Campbell died. Asimov ended his chapter of the book with: “Then [Peg] died, too, in 1979. But I remember her.”
“But I remember her.”
For weeks, this phrase resonated in my mind like the chorus of a song.
Why did Asimov remember Peg? She was the peacemaker who saved his friendship with her husband, John.
My question for you is: How will you be remembered? As a friend? As a peacemaker — as someone who did the most important things? Or someone who got caught up in small things in anger and in arguments?
Recently, a friend on Facebook invited people todescribe themselves in Three Words.
This brings us back to Peg and “But I remember her.”
I think of Peg as peacemaker, friend, memorable.
What is most important to you?
Have you noticed that our energy is being drained by the coronavirus crisis and upheaval throughout the world?
To stay strong, do something each day that nurtures your spirit and your well-being. Then, you’ll have the energy to have a positive impact on people and the world around you.
Strength rises in focus.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
… and how would people, who are important to you, describe you in three words?
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What’s worse, when swimming in the ocean, than a cramp in your left leg? I found out. A cramp in both legs! How am I still alive? My sweetheart pulled me into shore. I helped by swimming with my arms — so she wasn’t alone in saving my life. Still, my legs were no help.
Many of us approach the need to give the best speech or sales presentation in our lives like we have cramps in both legs. I’m using cramps as a metaphor for what shuts you down. The “cramps” include the obstacles: Fear, procrastination, and the perception of rehearsal as a bad chore.
Additionally, this relates to the 3 Deadly Mistakes centered on No Time, No Rehearsal, No Pretesting.
What does this boil down to? — No coaching.
The good news is: I can serve as your coach here.
Here are the 3 Deadly Mistakes:
1) No Time (Mistake: I’ll just procrastinate and do something at the last minute.)
2) No Rehearsal (Mistake: I’ll just have a few notes and talk off the cuff.)
3) No Pretesting (Mistake: I’ll just wing it. I know what I’m talking about.)
When I was in the ocean, the cramps made my legs nonfunctional. The 3 Deadly Mistakes cramp your ability to do what’s necessary to speak powerfully and inspire people to say Yes to you.
Here are 3 Methods so You Can Rapidly Improve and Make Your Breakthrough Speech or Presentation:
1.Use a Streamlined Process for Rapid Improvement (Solution to “No Time”)
I advise my clients to rehearse for 9 minutes-a-day over several days. This yields better results than cramming all the rehearsal into one night-before, 3-hour session. Why? Because the multiple sessions engage your subconscious mind. Have the 9-minute session early so your subconscious mind works on the material all day long. Additionally, have brief phone calls with friends and say, “Can I practice the opening one minute of my speech with you?”
In my work as the Spoken Word Strategist, my focus is on a Streamlined Process. With a coach like me, you have someone who can ask the right questions that help you find your best material faster.
2.Use “Directed Rehearsal” (Solution to “No Rehearsal”)
Many of us fall into a “default” of rerunning a bad memory in our thoughts. If you were embarrassed when speaking in a high school class, it’s easy for your brain to rerun that failure. I call this bad pattern Default Rehearsal. The brain falls into the default pattern.
Instead, I introduce my clients to Directed Rehearsal. I guide my clients in the process of putting in New Conditioned Responses. These New Conditioned Responses overwrite the default patterns. Research shows that, under stress, people fall back into the default settings. However, when you have New Conditioned Responses, you are freed of the old, painful default settings.
One method (among many) is to preplan two answers for each “worst question” you might get. I guide my clients to have two answers for the 10 Worst Questions. My clients rehearse their answers in response to my questions. They develop an inner-knowing that they are well-prepared.
I look on this preparation for the 10 Worst Questions as a way to avoid the “cramp” that can torpedo a great presentation.
One reason people fail to rehearse effectively is that fear arises when rehearsing. Such fear often leads to procrastination. Why? Because even thinking about the speech can lead to pain and more fear. Instead, as a client works with me, we are able to move forward fast. I’m there so the client feels real support.
3.Use a “Discovery-Rehearsal Process” (Solution to “No Pretesting”)
In summary, we talked about three major mistakes that center on No Time, No Rehearsal and No Pretesting.
We covered these Solutions:
1. Use a Streamlined Process for Rapid Improvement 2. Use “Directed Rehearsal” 3. Use a Discovery-Rehearsal Process
You’ll discover how you’re able to get more done in less time. You’ll have ways to make breakthroughs in your communication and your work life.
I was faced with a dilemma: Claustrophobia wins or I get to fulfill my dream of walking on the ocean floor. Prior to this moment, claustrophobia had hammered me when I was stuck in an MRI machine. In the cold room, I found being placed into the MRI machine was like being rolled in a morgue drawer, into a wall. Suddenly, I felt that I was suffocating, and I kicked off a blanket.
Now, months later, I had the opportunity to wear a diving helmet and walk on the ocean floor. The problem included claustrophobia and James Cameron’s film, The Abyss. As an effective film director, James Cameron had a scene in which we, the audience, took on the point of view of a terrified diver. The diver looks out through his diving helmet, and he’s hyperventilating. The scene got your heart pumping, and I dreaded that I might hyperventilate like that terrified, diver-character.
Now, I had a choice: Give up or find a way to get past the claustrophobia. I decided to use rehearsal — something that I do with my own clients — in my work as the Spoken Word Strategist. With effective rehearsal, I could access new resources.
My solution was to rehearse — using my imagination — walking on the ocean floor. I wore a hoodie that stood in place of the diving helmet. I rehearsed, imagining that I would concentrate on the wide expanse of the ocean (seen in the window of the helmet) — instead of feeling suffocated by the enclosure — the helmet itself.
Yes! The rehearsal worked, and I fulfilled my dream to walk on the ocean floor. The dream had captured my attention since I was 8 years old, watching TV and viewing the Disney film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
I share this story with you because every day we are faced with a choice. It affects many of us on the subconscious level. The choice is: Allow yourself to be pushed around by toxic people and toxic ideas and continue working in a frantic way — or learn new methods and discover how to work less and make more money.
Here are 3 Secrets so you overcome real blocks:
1. Let go of a Limiting Belief
My client, Cynthia, told me that she had to abide by the industry standard of clients pay half up front and half on delivery. Her problem weighed on her as she found it truly uncomfortable and time-consuming to keep returning to clients and get the second payment.
During our coaching session, I pointed out a couple of important details. “Cynthia, you have enough credibility, and you’re trustworthy,” I said. “Have you considered asking for full payment upfront?”
Cynthia pushed back and said, “No, that’s not how it’s done in this industry.”
“You’ve heard from other people, and they’re arguing for what they know, not what’s possible,” I replied.
I helped Cynthia rehearse so she could ask for full payment upfront. Asking for that payment was a big stretch for her — like my overcoming claustrophobia to walk on the ocean floor.
Cynthia discovered that she released herself from so much stress and extra work for having to chase after money. She found that she could work less and make more money.
2.Replace Hard-headed Convincing with Soft-hearted Persuasion
Many of us get stuck in trying to push and overcome objections when we’re trying to get a new client. I refer to this is Hard-headed Convincing. You’re trying to overcome or push your way through objections.
Instead, replace that process with Soft-hearted Persuasion. You focus on being a good listener. Using a soft-hearted approach, you help the person realize that you really care about their concerns. You’re trustworthy. You stop pushing your ideas. With my clients I emphasize this idea: When you’re listening, you’re winning. Author and top negotiation expert, Chris Voss, emphasizes these ideas: It works best when you listen and then summarize. Then you set up a situation in which the person says, “That’s right.” That’s when they let you know how they feel you truly understand their situation, their values and their problems.
You might find it a stretch to rehearse and use Soft-hearted Persuasion. But it’s worth it — like my rehearsing and fulfilling my dream to walk on the ocean floor.
Using Soft-hearted Persuasion is an opportunity for you to work less. You avoid trying to be hard-headed and convince somebody of the logic of your reasoning. Additionally, it’s a classic idea that people believe more what they say than what you say. Your providing a summary shows that you have a clear understanding of the other person’s priorities.
3.“Contain the Damage”
Many of us find ourselves thrown off by certain toxic behaviors inflicted on us by other people. A disgruntled customer may yell. Some family members may do cruel actions.
You have an important choice. You can decide to learn to “contain the damage.” By this I mean, you do not let someone’s bad action contaminate your whole day. I’m not talking about pretending that some bad action didn’t cause damage. Instead, you can limit the amount of time and energy you use to dwell on that bad action. You could talk with a coach about this person’s bad action for a limited time, say 15 minutes. Then, you decide to move on with your day.
Why is this important? The reason is: When you contain the damage, you have more time and personal energy. That’s when you can work less and make more money.
Containing the damage can include ending the interaction with a negative, untrustworthy vendor — for example. You might closeout working with a troublesome client. Containing the damage might include changing a system in your company’s work.
Here’s Your Special Advantage When You Contain the Damage … You Gain Access to an Intuitive Download.
An Intuitive Download is when you get a rush of great ideas that can expand your business or refine how you do business activities.
What’s the enemy of an Intuitive Download? That’s when your thoughts and feelings are jammed up with worries or upset from toxic people causing damage. When you contain the damage, you free up your thinking and feelings.
Often, an Intuitive Download will save you time and bring new money-making ideas to you. You’ll work less and make more money.
I emphasize this phrase with my clients: “You cannot get the Intuitive Download if you’re gummed up by the damage.”
Instead, make sure to elevate your perspective. Imagine that you rise above your daily work patterns in a helicopter. From this elevated perspective, you can make better decisions. You become aware of patterns that cause damage and people who cause damage. You can choose to protect your personal energy and time.
For example, some of my clients choose to limit their exposure to certain negative family members.
To work less and make more money, you need to be strategic about what patterns and which business associates you allow to remain in your life.
In summary … I shared my choice to take action to overcome claustrophobia so I could fulfill my dream of walking on the ocean floor. I made a plan and took action. Similarly, I’m encouraging you to use these 3 Secrets:
· Let go of a Limiting Belief · Replace Hard-headed Convincing with Soft-hearted Persuasion · “Contain the Damage”
You’ll discover how you’re able to get more done in less time. You will make space in your life for ease and many Intuitive Downloads. You’ll have ways to make breakthroughs in your work life.