8 STEPS TO CHOOSE YOUR BEST STRATEGY!

A good evening to all my readers :-)

Hope my post finds you well and jolly :-)

 

‘Strategy is not the consequences of planning but rather the opposite, its starting point.’ – Henry Mitzberg

Have you ever wondered why things suddenly did not work out after setting things up in the right place to accomplish a goal?

 

Have you ever felt that you had the perfect edge to achieve your plan but something did not work out the way you wanted?

 

Most of the time this is because even if the situations, places, circumstances and opportunities are in our favour, we do not use the right tools and techniques to ensure our plans and goals manifest into reality. Would you agree with me? Also to be honest, it is not a pleasurable place to be, is it?

This post will provide you deep insight into the core and the most fundamental principle which all the tools and techniques for achieving success come from: STRATEGY!

strategy

The day I learnt that for any achievement in life and in business, there was always a more efficient way to achieve it by using a proven strategy, it really  opened up a new dimension in my life!  Before we examine strategies in more detail, let me give you the gift of one of the most profound success strategies I know. ‘Get around the path walkers.’ If you want to be successful you should model a successful person by having them coach and/or mentor you. :-) They have already achieved what you want to achieve and been through the bumps in the road, the highs and the lows of the process and therefore are in a better position than you to guide you to the most effective strategy to employ, and get you the success you deserve. Is this not want all of us want – to avoid the pitfalls and enjoy a smooth and successful ride?

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At this point, you might ask:

How can I recognize what is the best and most effective strategy to employ?

 

Firstly, we need to understand what a strategy is. It is the process, the system and method employed to achieve our goals. It is how we go about to accomplish our objectives. It is our starting point from which comes our plan of action. It enables decisions to be taken, plans to be judged, resources to be allocated and actions to be prioritised. It is what empowers people to develop action plans that are consistent with the future that is being sought and means they act decisively in the areas where most advantage can be won. This is where one final step is needed – producing our plan! Without it, we will not achieve any results! :-)

Below are the 8 steps that will help you to recognize which strategy will be best for achieving your success and you can visit my website www.thebooksonsuccess.com and download the PDF exercise called ‘Strategy Mastery Worksheet’ for a printer-friendly version. Please complete this exercise both for your business and for your personal life! This tool is a very effective aid in recognizing what ‘marketing strategies’ to add to your business plan and employ in your business.

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STEP 1: Understand the Scope of your goal/plan

 Submarine periscope

To identify and understand the scope of your goal/plan, ask yourself the following questions:

What is my BIG WHY? What is the purpose of my business?

What is my mission statement? What is my business mission statement?

What are my reasons to get up every morning? What reasons do I have for investing my time, energy and money in my business every day?

What message do I want to promote with my marketing campaign?

 

What makes me stand out in my industry?

 

What makes my services and products different from my competition?

In terms of business, not only does your mission statement guide your overall company practices, it also provides you with the guidelines and clarity to choose the best strategy. Before you can dive into the details, you need to envision the scope of your goal/plan: considering the advantages, challenges and purpose of it. 

Remember, PURPOSE and CLARITY are the most important keys to success when identifying the best strategy for achieving your goals/plans!

 

 

STEP 2: Perform your SWOT analysis

swot-analysis

 

Once you have a grasp of the scope of your big goal, run your desired goal through a SWOT analysis. You can visit my website www.thebooksonsuccess.com and download the PDF exercise called ‘SWOT Analysis’ for a printer-friendly version.

 

The outcome will be a high level of clarity on the necessary steps that will be needed to achieve your big goal, as well as the most effective ways of taking those necessary steps. :-)

 

 

STEP 3: Set small goals

small-goals

 

Once you have clarity on your purpose (your why) and have run your big goal through a SWOT analysis, then you can start to set smaller goals to achieve the steps identified that are needed if you are to achieve your big goal. You will now have the benefit of long term vision and short term motivation! This is the step when you start to turn future possibility into realistic probability.

 

 

STEP 4: Set deadlines

deadlines

Deadline is the time commitment by which your task/goal must be achieved. This is a powerful strategic tool we must use to our advantage. When we set a deadline and expect to get our goal accomplished quickly, they usually do! What are the reasons behind this? It usually takes as much time as we allow them to take! You see, we always work best under a self-determined or externally fixed deadline. By consciously choosing to enforce deadlines, they increase our accountability and focus, essentially fast tracking our results and rewards.

What are the benefits of having deadlines?

A deadline enforces a strong sense of urgency and challenges us to perform.

Deadlines represent commitment, this is a black and white choice: you are committed or you are not.

Deadlines enforce accountability and they create a sense of urgency to improve your results.

Your challenge is to meet each deadline set and astound yourself by what you are able to accomplish!

STEP 5: Establish measures of Success

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Plans and goals are useless without clearly understood, quantifiable measures of success.

Understanding how success will be measured is one of the keys to achieving it as if we can’t measure it, we can’t manage it. As part of your strategy, decide what areas you hope to impact, then determine how it will be monitored. Set up your reporting plan early in the process of laying out your strategy. That way, you will be clear on the expectations from the outset.

Establish an implementation calendar, with specific milestones for each step, i.e. monthly or weekly targets. Assign clear accountability for each action, while making sure the needed resources are in place. Ensure that you know what action you need to take to make it happen, measure assiduously and take necessary procedures quickly if milestones are not met.

 

STEP 6: Develop a strategy Map and make it visual

strategy map

 

It is time to put it all together and have a clear and organised plan. I am sure that now you have more clarity on your purpose, weaknesses, strengths, opportunities, threats, long term goals, monthly SMART goals, a TO-DO list based on your short term goals and metrics to measure your success!

Now that you have put it all together and you have found out what is your best strategy to employ to achieve your goal/plan, it is time to create a tool that will help you know where you’re at in a single glance.

 To make it more powerful and successful, you’ll need to create a strategy Map.

 

 

STEP 7: Monitor your performance and results

monitoring performance

 

This is a very vital and important aspect to ensure that your strategy is working and producing results! Obviously, you need to put efforts and time into it, so it is essential that you have clear means to measure your results!

Remember to celebrate the wins along the way, whether big or small. It will help to boost your confidence levels and to drive your motivation to achieve the next elements of your goal/plan:-)

 

 

STEP 8: Review your strategy and Implement it

strategy lifecycle 

This is the most important step to make your strategy the most effective and efficient possible. A good strategy guides your goals/plans and encourages new opportunities for growth.

However, too often strategic thinking boils down to merely validating the current strategy or making go/no go decisions on the course of action. A much better approach is to spend creative time up front to identify several alternatives – the so called ‘what if…’ scenario.

You might ask yourself:

 

What did I learn from analysing the gap between estimated and achieved results?

 

What can be increased, decreased, reversed, separated or bundled together?

 

What would I do if I had to reach the ‘finishing line’ in half the time?

 

What three priority actions will I implement in my life and in my business as a result of my discoveries?

After employing the strategy, analyse the results to verify its efficiency and dedicate time for revision. Get rid of what isn’t working and continue to implement what is.

 

Just remember that crafting a few different but realistic alternatives and evaluating them using clear criteria will yield a true strategic plan that creates a vision for the future, rather than a reflection of the past. Do not keep changing it all the time. Also remember to give enough time for the strategy to prove its worthiness or failure by monitoring its results. :-)

 

Decide on key action steps, accountability measures and timing, but also agree on how to monitor the environment for any unexpected opportunities or necessary changes that might warrant modifications to the plan.

 

What are the benefits of employing the best strategy available?

We all need to have a strategy in place if we want to achieve our success. It will help us to keep focused and stay on track. If we do not have a direction and a scope before we initiate any plan, it will be very difficult to succeed. In business terms, owning a business is not about work, it is about the strategy we employ. This highlights the concept of working smarter and not harder.

do it

To the employment of your most successful strategy:-)!

Viv:-)

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Keys to Manage Stress

Hello to all my readers :-)

Have you ever felt like a mouse running on a tread wheel and getting nowhere?

Have you ever felt angry because you work so many hours and do not have the time to spend with your dear ones?

You can feel assure that you are not alone. According to a mental-health charity in the UK, 1 in 5  British workers said that stress had made them physically sick during their career, and unmanageable pressure had caused 1 in 4 to cry while at work. Prescriptions for antidepressants saw an unprecedented rise during one recent year of economic recession.

To manage any issues, we need to get to understand the stress cycle and the root of the problem.

Stress cycle

Ask yourself:

What has caused you stress?

The answer could be multiple, for example: insecurity – financial or health, a demanding routine, interpersonal conflicts or a traumatic experience.

Sources of stress

Also ask: ‘How has stress affected you?’

Stress Body Mind

Some symptoms could be health disorders, emotional exhaustion, sleep problems, deteriorating relationships or depression.

You also need to remember that stress activates an amazing system in your body, your emergency response system. Hormones are released to increase your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

So learning how to deal with stress is important to both your physical and mental well-being.

How can we manage stress?

outsourcing stress

Stress in itself is not necessarily harmful. The American Psychological Association has noted: ‘Stress is to the human condition what tension is to the violin string: too little and the music is dull and raspy; too much and the music is shrill or the string snaps. Stress can be the kiss of death or the spice of life. The issue, really, is how to manage it.’

I also came across to a very good quote of stress:

stress is

Here some practical advice to manage stress:

  1. Insecurity

Not one of us has total security.

How can we cope with feelings of insecurity?

Try these suggestions:

* Confide in a trusted family member or friend. Studies show that the support of loved ones consistently confers protection against stress-related disorders.

* Focus on positive scenarios. If you focus on negatives ones, they will drain your emotional reserves. Remember that what you fear may not happen.

  1. Demanding routine

A relentless routine of commuting, working, studying or caring for children or elderly parents can keep stress level high.

Moreover, stopping some of these activities may be out of question.

What can we do to cope?

* Give yourself some downtime, and get adequate rest.

* Set sound priorities and adopt a modest lifestyle. Consider simplifying your life, perhaps by reducing expenses or time spent at work.

‘Making certain lifestyle changes is the best start’ to relieving stress’, says the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US.

Start with eating a well-balanced, healthy diet as well as getting enough sleep and exercise. Also limit caffeine and alcohol intake and don’t use nicotine, cocaine or other street drugs.’ The NIH also suggests taking breaks from work, spending time with family or friends, learning to make things with your hands, hobbies or learning to play a musical instrument. I will also add dancing.

stress management

To your success :-)

Viv :-)

17 Winning Mindset Tips

To all my readers :)

Wish you are all well and dandy :)

 

Have you ever felt inadequate and overwhelmed in the face of challenges?

Have you ever experienced that your challenges seemed bigger than they actually were?

How do you feel when you need to overcome an obstacle to achieve your goal?

Obstacles 1

I was recently having a conversation with a friend and the subject of positive mindset during difficult times arose. At the time, as I was emotionally involved in her story, I could not think of a process or any practical tips I could offer her. As I left her house, I was bothered by the fact that even though mindset is one of my strengths, I was unable to use it as needed. After some consideration, I started to think about the mental process I use to conquer my challenges. Thus, this article just flew as a response to my conversation with my friend. I hope you too can benefit from it as I do. :)

It is generally acknowledged that when confronted with problems and challenges, it is easy to become overwhelmed, especially when the circumstances are unfamiliar and seem threatening and urgent. However, no matter what life throws your way, keep in mind that there are always options available, there are always things you can do, actions you can take and decisions you can make that will keep moving you forward in the right direction. :)

Here is my mindset process and 17 winning mindset tips which I personally use for conquering my obstacles:

1. Keep Things Simple

Simple 1

When dealing with obstacles, simplicity is key to your success! The more we complicate things, the more likely circumstances will overwhelm us. You must therefore keep things as simple and straightforward as possible; I can personally testify that the toughest of problems are often solved in the simplest of ways. So, if you have a simple approach to whatever you are aiming for, you are already a step ahead and in the top 3% of successful people. I have attended numerous self-development courses on a variety of subjects and the commonality of all of them is keep things simple:)

2. Step Back Emotionally

emotions

The reality is that when unexpected obstacles suddenly show up, it is easy to react emotionally to the circumstances, we all do it. However, emotional reactions are often unproductive, making the situation worse. Instead we must learn to step back from our emotions and see the situation from an external perspective — through logic and reason. It is only once we grasp the circumstances from an intellectual perspective that we begin to identify the true relevance and significance of the events that have taken place. It sounds logical, but much easier said than done. However if you apply it, I can guarantee you will reap the benefits. :)

3. Cultivate an Active Mindset & other Indispensable Qualities

mind can achieve

Now that have you stepped back emotionally, you can focus on your mindset. Would you agree that you are unlikely to overcome an obstacle if you don’t believe that you are capable of overcoming it? Your doubts will only paralyze you and focus your mind on the problems rather than the solution. You must therefore develop the necessary confidence and self-belief that will help you think more effectively about how to solve the complications in your life.

An active mindset helps you to proactively deal with challenging circumstances. It is a mindset that asks effective questions; always looks for new answers, opportunities and solutions; it is flexible, adaptable and constantly learns from past mistakes, while moving forward towards the attainment of its goals and objectives. :)

Those who successfully overcome obstacles in their lives, consistently cultivate the following qualities:

  • Positive Mindset
  • Confidence
  • Self Belief and Self Esteem
  • Gratitude
  • Optimism
  • Commitment
  • Resilience
  • Discipline
  • Patience
  • Enthusiasm
  • Wisdom

4. Don’t Blame others and don’t dwell on the Negatives

blaming

Now that we have acquired a positive mindset, it is paramount that you do not blame yourself or others for the circumstances you find yourself in. Yes, you can acknowledge that you or someone was at fault, however it is often not the person but rather the systems and processes in place that lead to this outcome. Access and revaluate these, do not lay blame, and the obstacles you are facing will eventually be conquered.

Remember, when you dwell on what you don’t want, you will get more of the same, because we attract what we focus on. Therefore if you focus on worst case scenarios that will rip your life apart, then you are not focusing on solutions, and if you are not focusing on solutions then you are unlikely to find the answers you need to help you overcome your problems.

5. Accept and Acknowledge Circumstances

acceptance

Once you have an active mindset, you can accept and acknowledge your circumstances. When confronted with an obstacle, the worst thing we can do is to deny that the problem exists. When we deny that something exists we close ourselves off to potential solutions, answers and opportunities. We must accept and acknowledge the circumstances for what they are from an optimistic, solution orientated yet very realistic perspective. :)

6. Acquire a Different Perspectives

perspective

Now you can gain a different perspective. Sometimes obstacles are only as real as we make them out to be. In fact at times obstacles are simply misunderstandings and generalizations that we have made about circumstances. At other times obstacles are only as real as the assumptions that are clouding our vision.

To begin shifting your perspective, start by viewing the situation you find yourself in from another person’s perspective. Alternatively you can use a plethora of framing and reframing techniques that will help you shift the way you think about your circumstances. :)

7. Adjust Your Priorities

priority

If you have actioned all of the above, you are ready to adjust your priorities. At times we are unable to overcome certain obstacles in our lives because our priorities are simply out of order. This is especially relevant when you consider that spending more time concentrating on developing a certain skill or gaining knowledge in a specific area of your life would have a significant impact on your ability to overcome difficult circumstances. :)

8. Ask Effective Questions

questions quality

Asking effective questions can help you gather new and different perspectives about your life and circumstances. You might want to review my previous article ‘8 Steps Process to overcoming obstacles.’ Combined, thees provide a powerful example of how questions can be used  to help shift your perspective and unlock your potential:)

9. Assess Your Obstacles

hurdles

You will rarely be able to overcome an obstacle unless you are able to figure out how it originated and weaselled its way into your life.

Ask yourself:

What went wrong?

What could have caused this?

What must I do now?

10. Think Critically and Creatively

Critical and creative thinking 1

A calm state provides you with clarity of mind, which enables you to ask better questions, think more creatively, critically and effectively about your problems. When your mind and body is calm, you naturally tap into a reservoir of internal resources that you wouldn’t have access to if you were to react emotionally to circumstances.

Throughout the course of human history obstacles and problems have been the foundations of creative and critical thinking. Or viewed in another way, without obstacles and problems there would be no need for creative or critical thought. You must therefore use these two tools to help you unlock the solutions and answers you need that will help you overcome the obstacles in your life. :)

11. List Possible Options by Experimenting in New Ways

options

Now that you have empowered yourself with powerful tools, you can tap into different options to conquer your challenges. Difficulties have a tendency to mentally lock us up, thus limiting our ability to think and gain perspective of a situation. In such instances we must realize that solutions can only be found when we open our minds to possibilities and options that we hadn’t considered before.

To do this, simply sit down with a pen and paper and ask yourself over and over again:

How can I overcome this obstacle?

What options haven’t I considered?

As previously mentioned, asking effective questions will help you gain new insights into the obstructions standing in your way. Use this information to try previously unconsidered methods and directions. It is the path less travelled that will make all the difference in the end. :)

The more options you have, the more opportunity you will have to find a suitable answer to the problem you are facing. :)

12. Seek Guidance & Gain Necessary Support and Resources

Advice Help Support And Tips Signpost Showing Information And Gu

Once you have written your list of options, tap into other people’s experiences and expertise. Often the answers we need to help us overcome the obstacles in our lives can be found by simply talking to other people. In fact, other people might have already successfully overcome the circumstances you find yourself in. As I do, seek out mentors, life coaches and experts to help you find the answers you need to move you forward towards your goals and objectives. :)

At times we simply do not have the necessary resources to help us deal with the situation at hand. In such circumstances we must question what pieces of the puzzle are currently missing, and then look for the necessary tools, strategies, knowledge and support we need to help us overcome this obstacle successfully:)

When we look for sympathy from others, we come from a point of weakness and an inability to control our fate and destiny. We must instead look to come from a place of personal empowerment, where we take full responsibility for our life and circumstances. This of course does not mean that we shouldn’t ask for help or assistance. What it does mean is that we should focus on exploring options that will move us forwards, towards the attainment of our goals and objectives. :)

13. Breathe, Take Control and Take Action

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take control

take action

Now that we have worked on our mind set, assessed and evaluated our obstacles and looked for options and guidance, it is time to TAKE ACTION! It is true that when obstacles overwhelm us, our automatic response is to freeze. At first, this paralysis may seem unhelpful however it gives us time to consider and think strategically about the circumstances we find ourselves in. However, if we don’t take action, the obstacles will remain; nobody can remove them for us!

Take a moment to breathe deeply and ask yourself the following questions:

What is it that I control?

What is it that I don’t control?

How can I gain control over these circumstances?

If I cannot gain control, then how can I influence these circumstances?

If I cannot influence them, then maybe I am not seeing things clearly. Where must I look for more information?

By asking these questions and taking action you will begin to gain control over your circumstances and you can start to build momentum, enabling you to move forward towards your goals. :)

14. Take Small Steps

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To start with, take small steps, this ensures that you remain in control and do not get overwhelmed by your circumstances. Break down what you need to do into small manageable chunks, and then progressively work on one or more chunks per day until you successfully reach your desired outcome.

15. Make Necessary Sacrifices

sacrifice

It’s now short-term sacrifice for long-term results time! The majority of us are simply unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices that would help us successfully overcome the problems we are confronting. Sometimes it’s not what we do, but rather what we let go of that will have the greatest impact on our lives. The effort and sacrifice required will be proportionate to your obstacles, don’t expect anything less. However, I can assure you that the rewards will be far greater than the sacrifice needed to conquer your challenges. :)

16. Learn from your Mistakes

mistakes

Now that you have taken some decisions and actioned them, don’t expect that everything will suddenly work out perfectly, you will make mistakes along your way to success. Remember that progress is built upon a myriad of mistakes that we make on a daily basis. I have made countless errors along my journey, some were big, others smaller, but one thing is certain, they were all significant in helping me learn the lessons I needed to learn. You too will learn from your mistakes and move forward in conquering your challenges. :)

Take time to learn from every unsuccessful attempt, from every failed result, and from every unsatisfactory outcome. The more you learn, the more you will grow and the better you will be able to deal with the obstacles that lie ahead on your path. :)

17. Do not Quit!

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NO MATTER WHAT, DO NOT QUIT, because, as I have personally experienced, the greatest opportunities are always interlocked with the most difficult struggles of your life. I can definitely vouch for this. :)

Remember, to conquer your obstacles will not be easy. Challenges are all around to test us, to help build our character and strengthen our fortitude. Sometimes we might fall over. It is how we pick ourselves up and move forward one step at a time that will determine our success! :)

obstacles michael jordan

‘No matter how many times I break down, there is always a little piece of me that says NO, you are not done yet. Get BACK UP! The greatest human quality is that of becoming unstoppable! And you become unstoppable by refusing to quit, no matter what happens.‘ – Brian Tracy

To your successful mindset empowerment! :)

Viv :)

Double Winner Awards Author of ‘The book on Success‘

www.vivoliver.com