Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category

Will You Take Action?

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What is it that you want to take action on?  Is there a goal you want to pursue?  Is there a habit you want to create? Sometimes it seems like a mystery as to how people are able to accomplish some things and other things they leave to procrastination or simply don’t ever get started. When I examine my life I know there are things that I should do and just don’t do.  You likely face the same situation at times.  Understanding the “Theory of Planned Behavior” developed by Ajzen and Fishbein can help.  This theory shows what PLANNED behavior is most likely to become ACTUAL behavior.  Understanding it can help you move more of your behavior from planned to actual.

There are three things that determine the likelihood that you will take action.

1.    Attitude Towards the Behavior/ Action

This concept is pretty simple. What is your attitude towards the action or behavior?  If you have a positive attitude, you are more likely to take action. Think of a couple of examples.  If you have a positive attitude towards exercise you are more likely to exercise.  If you have a negative attitude towards exercise, you are less likely to exercise.  If you have a positive attitude towards making that next sales call, you are more likely to make it.  This is true for any action or behavior.

2.    Subjective Norms

The second factor is the subjective norms related to the action.  This relates to the perceived social pressures around the action.  In other words, will others approve of the action or behavior. This is why having someone to exercise with makes such a difference.  It provides a built in positive social reinforcement.  The strength of the social pressure comes in to play here as well.  The more people that will react positive to your behavior and the more important those people are in your life, the more likely you are to take action.

3.    Perceived Behavioral Control

The final factor is the likelihood of being successful.  This really relates to the perceived difficulty or ease of the action. If it is something you think is easy and that you will be successful in it, you will more likely do it.  If you think it will be difficult and that you might fail, you are less likely to do it. If you think it is going to be difficult to lose weight, you won’t try.  On the other hand if you think it will be easy, you will get started right away.

Notice that this is all based on your PERCEPTIONS. Of course you may perceive something very difficult than it actually is.  How often have you resisted doing something because you thought it would be hard and take a lot of time, only to find it was much easier than you thought once you got started?  This is because your perceptions were out of line with reality, however it was your perceptions that controlled your actions.

Bring It Together

Bringing it all together this theory teaches us that if there is something we really want to accomplish, there are three things we can do to make it more likely we will actually do it:

  • Have a positive attitude about the action or behavior
  • Bring others around to support and challenge us – people that would approve of our success in this behavior
  • Believe you will be successful and that the task is not as hard as you think

What is one action you’ve been putting off doing? Or what is one habit you want to create in your life?  Take that action or habit and analyze it under the three factors and use them to help spur yourself into action.

Written by:
Danny Gamache – The Success Professor

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Posted on June 21st, 2010 by The Success Professor  |  No Comments »

Top 10 Podcasts – 2010 Edition


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A little over a year ago I shared a list of my top 10 podcasts.  The list has become one of the most popular posts on this site.  Over that time some of the podcasts have gotten better, some have gotten worse, and a few have basically disappeared.  On top of that, I have discovered a few new podcasts that are excellent. In this article you will find the updated list!

Podcasts are a fantastic way of learning, being inspired, and for personal growth. They are audio presentations that you download and are able to listen to at your convenience, whether on iTunes or on an iPod (or other Mp3 player).  If you don’t currently listen to any podcasts the first step is to download iTunes.  After subscribing to podcasts, such as the ones listed below, iTunes will automatically download any recent episodes every time you open the program.  I listen to some podcasts directly on my computer and download others to my iPod.

Each of these podcasts can be found by searching for the title in the iTunes store, or by subscribing at the webpage linked to in the title of each podcast.

1. The Daily Boost

This is a powerful motivation podcast from The free podcast is generally a once a week motivating message, that comes out of their daily podcast service for “premium” members.

The message is short, about 10 minutes a day, and provides a powerful personal development tip that motivates you to move forward.  You may consider upgrading to the paid premium membership, the podcasts are that good!  At least check out the free version.

2. Inspiring Words of Encouragement – Zig Ziglar

Motivational expert Zig Ziglar offers this excellent podcast.  The subject list is diverse within the framework of living a positive life.  Past episodes include tips on success, lessons for salespeople, and even parenting advice.

This podcast is updated every two weeks, and I never fail to be encouraged, inspired, and to learn every episode.  The full archives are available for download also, giving you lots of powerful motivational material.

3. Mosaic – A Community of Faith, Love & Hope

One of two churches that make the list.  I hesitate to call it a church.   Partly because it meets in a night club, and partly because it is nothing like most churches you may have experiences with.

Pastor Erwin McManus is an amazing communicator of God’s word.  He does it in a way that communicates the true message of Jesus.  He speaks of important personal development topics such as work, relationships and money.  Be sure to make your way into the archives of past messages.  My favorite messages that I recommend you check out are entitled, “Fear”, “Work”, and “Everyone Gave”.

4. Duct Tape Marketing Podcast

John Jantsch, author of the book Duct Tape Marketing, hosts this excellent podcast filled with interviews of marketing experts and entrepreneurs.  It is always informative and helps to keep up to date with trends in the world of marketing, particularly social media and new marketing. These podcasts come approximately once a week and there is a fantastic archive of previous episodes.

5. Harvard Business Review Ideacast

This weekly podcast from the editors of Harvard Business Review shares interviews with the author of an article in the current issues of the Harvard Business Review.  Listening to this podcast allows you to hear about import research in the world of business and get application ideas directly from the author.

6. Help My Business Sucks *video podcast*

This is the only video podcast on my list.  I am not usually as much of a fan of video podcasts because I prefer to listen to podcasts while walking to work or driving.  In spite of that this video podcast is worth subscribing to.  I let a few weeks accumulate at a time and then watch through them during a workout.

This podcast is done by Andrew Lock and focuses on marketing for the small business owner and entrepreneur.  It is an excellently produced piece that includes several different segments in each week’s episode.  The idea is that all decisions an organization makes needs to be tied to marketing.  Lock frequently repeats his theme, “Everything is marketing, and marketing is everything.”

7. Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast

This is a monthly leadership training podcast by leadership expert, author and pastor Andy Stanley.  While the podcast is actually designed for church leaders it is a valuable resource for anyone trying to grow an organization, especially entrepreneurs.  The current series has been on the topic of vision, and it has discussed how to come up with your vision, state your vision clearly, and communicate it to your organization.

To subscribe visit this site: (it is the third podcast listed)

8. CBC Radio Vinyl Café

Stuart McLean is a master storyteller.  This podcast of his weekly radio show is a fantastic break from the ordinary as it allows you to listen to a master story teller at work. This podcast is a wonderful break for relaxation and stress reduction.  If you are looking for a personal development angle beyond the rest it is this: listening to Stuart will help you become a better storyteller for all of your presentations.

9. Mars Hill Bible Church

The second church to make my list is Mars Hill Bible Church from Grand Rapids, MI home of pastor and author Rob Bell.  Because of Bell’s travel schedule normally about half of the teachings are from him and half are from other fantastic guest speakers.  Bell teaches the Bible in a way that helps you open your eyes to the uniqueness of who Jesus is and the type of people he calls us to be.  Again, this is not your typical church.

10. Behind the Leader/ Renegade Profile

This podcast is a series of excellent interviews conducted by Jonathan Fields author of Career Renegade.  The podcast consists of interviews with business leaders and entrepreneurs.  The podcast recently switched from “Renegade Profiles” to “Behind the Leader” in order to focus more on established business leaders.  There are plenty of podcasts to listen through in the back catalogue with all sorts of different entrepreneurs.  The interviews Fields conducts are excellent and thorough, many lasting almost an hour. He asks great questions that really help you get an idea of how these leaders and entrepreneurs think.

You’ll need to go to the iTunes store to subscribe, but you can check out a sample episode here:

I hope you find a couple of valuable podcasts from this list.  What did I miss?  What is your favorite?  Be sure to share below!

Written by:
The Success Professor – Danny Gamache

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Posted on January 19th, 2010 by The Success Professor  |  3 Comments »

Why You Should Review Your Successes


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In the personal development and self help work there is a lot of focus on setting and achieving goals.  If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you will know that I am a firm believe in this kind of goal setting.  Unfortunately, one thing that is often missing is celebrating goals that have been achieved. We tend to move from one goal to another. If we do celebrate it is for just a short while before moving on to the next goal. It is important to look back from time to time at what you have achieved.

Reviewing your accomplishments does a lot of things for you:

  • reminds you of good things in your life
  • helps you focus on positive happy things
  • gives you belief that you can really accomplish your goals
  • forces you to be thankful about where you have come from
  • sparks your imagination about future goals
  • inspires you to do it again

You can do a review of your accomplishments at anytime.  Here is how:

1.    Pick a period of time to review. One year is a good starting point, but you could also go shorter (try six months), or a little longer (perhaps three years).

2.    Divide your life into important roles or functional areas. (If you follow my weekly goal setting plan you should already have this done).

3.    Think through the MOST IMPORTANT thing you have accomplished in each area during the specified time period.

4.    Think through other accomplishments that you have achieved that you are proud of.

5.    Don’t forget to include little things. Sometimes little things to you would be big things to others, plus what is little to you know may have been a big thing at some point in the past.

6.    Look at old goals lists so you don’t forget anything.

Once you have done a review make sure you put it somewhere that you can return to it. You want to review your accomplishments from time to time to help you remember the goals that you have achieved.

Lastly, make it an annual tradition. I do an annual review as a part of my New Year goal setting process. You can use my reviews as an example.  Here is my review of 2008 and my review of 2009.

You don’t need to wait until a new year to do this exercise. You can do it anytime. The benefits are worth the time. Before you leave this article, schedule a time to do this exercise. Even taking thirty minutes will go a long way.

Written by:
Danny Gamache – The Success Professor

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Posted on January 14th, 2010 by The Success Professor  |  2 Comments »

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

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One trap that many people fall into is the trap of comparing themselves to others. This is a trap because it only leads to negative results. You cannot win by comparing yourself to others.

When you are comparing yourself to others you are likely doing one of four things:

1. You compare yourself to people who are more successful than you and you get discouraged.

Comparing yourself with people more successful than you may cause you to be discouraged because they have achieved success and you have not. You start looking at their level of success as where you should be. This causes you to look at what you do not have instead of what you do have. It takes away from an attitude of thankfulness and contentment with your current situation. While it is healthy to have goals that you pursue, it is not healthy to get discouraged because others get there faster or have more.

2. You compare yourself with people who are more successful than you and you make excuses.

Another risk in comparing yourself with people more successful is that you start to make excuses for your current position. You start to think about why they have succeeded and you have not. You use these differences to justify your current situation – as an excuse. Certainly other people will have a different skill set, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed with what you have.

3. You compare yourself with people less successful than you and you get prideful.

It is easy to feel good about yourself when you compare yourself with people who you think are less successful than you are. This is a false form of self-esteem. True self-esteem does not come from considering yourself better than others. It comes from an awareness of your abilities, what you can achieve, and what you have achieved already.

4. You compare yourself with people less successful than you and you get satisfied.

If you continually compare yourself with people who you view as less successful it is easy to get satisfied with where you are at. If you get satisfied with where you are at, you are less likely to pursue goals that may make a big difference in your life and in the lives of others. You are unique. Your skills and abilities are different from everyone else. You should be satisfied when you do your very best. Your satisfaction should not come from the fact that you are further ahead than someone else. They started at a very different point than you.

Instead of comparing yourself to others:

1. Learn from those more successful than you.

Don’t look at the success of others and get discouraged. Don’t look at them and make excuses for where you are at. Look at successful people and learn from them. Look at their activity. What are they doing to reach their goals? Take those activities and duplicate them in your life. You will move towards the type of successes that they have.

2. Teach those less successful than you.

Don’t look down on people less successful than you and get prideful. Don’t use their lack of success and get satisfied with where you are at. Instead, look for ways to encourage, lead, and teach those people. If they are willing to learn you can lift them up. If you have gotten somewhere that they would like to get, you can help them get there too. Success is not a limited pie. When others become more successful, it doesn’t mean you become less successful. In fact, it is usually the opposite. As you help people become more successful you become more successful as well.

In conclusion:

  • don’t compare yourself with others
  • learn from those more successful than you
  • teach those less successful than you
  • understand that everyone started at a different place
  • everyone can succeed by doing the best that they can

Written by:

The Success Professor – Danny Gamache

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Posted on January 11th, 2010 by The Success Professor  |  5 Comments »

Sunday Browsing: Annual Review, Motivation, and 1000 True Fans

the roadHi everyone!

I’m back after a break to mark exams and for Christmas.  I’m excited about the New Year.  Are you?

Here’s some of the best articles I’ve come across over the last couple of weeks!

1. Chris Guillebeau from “The Art of Non-Conformity” shared about how to conduct an “Annual Review“.

2. On a related note Michael Hyatt shares “7 Questions to Ask About Last Year.”

3. Here’s a great system on how to integrate habits into your life from Freestyle Mind.

4. Wasabi Burger shares the scientific “Formula of Motivation.”

5. Learn about the power of “1000 True Fans” on The Technium.

Now start the year right by doing something that will help you reach your goals!

The Success Professor – Danny Gamache

PS. I just helped another team member reach the leadership level with our home business, which means I have more time available to help someone else.  If you have a goal of increasing your self-employment income in 2010 visit

Posted on January 2nd, 2010 by The Success Professor  |  5 Comments »

How to Stay Consistent

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In the last post, I shared about why it is important to stay consistent as you work towards your goals. That leads to the next question: how can you ensure that you stay consistency?

The struggle for consistency will look different in every person’s life based on their individual goals and lifestyles. The following are general tips which will be helpful to many of you.

1. Make a decision

Without making a conscious decision to pursue your goals consistently, week after week and day after day, you will not be able to do so. It takes a true effort on your part to be consistent so you must decide to do so. This can’t be a light decision where you say “I’ll try to be more consistent”, rather it must be a committed decision. You must be firm about your decision to pursue consistency.

2. Determine a realistic time commitment

Take some time and evaluate your life. Evaluate all the different roles you have in your life. You might be a mother, a husband, an employee. You might have roles with your church, with other organizations, or with a sports team. Determine how much time you realistically should be putting in to each role on a weekly basis, and if possible schedule in your committed times. Use this as a starting point to determine how much time you should realistically put towards your various goals every week. Whether that is two hours, four hours, ten hours or more; determine the appropriate amount of time that you can commit consistently – ever week! Make sure this commitment is realistic, so probably take your initial estimate and scale it down a little. If you set a commitment that is too high it will lead to burnout and you won’t follow through. You may want to use my weekly planning system as part of determining your time commitment.

3. Set specific times

The next step is to take your weekly calendar and mark in when you will actually be spending your time pursing your goal. Determine what days you are going to do activities, how much time each day, and when those hours fall. For example, one of my goals is to grow my blogs. That means taking the time to write good articles. To do that, I have set aside thirty minutes a day for writing. These thirty minutes occurs almost immediately after I get up in the morning. Because it is a specific time, it quickly develops into a habit. Another goal I am pursuing is growing my affiliate home business. Part of this goal involves phone meetings with business partners and potential clients. On my schedule, I have one time slot each day set aside for one of these phone meetings. I used to try to do as many as possible, and found that I would do a lot for a little while and quickly burn out. After burning out, I wouldn’t do any for a long time. That is NOT staying consistent. By scheduling only one time each day for a phone meeting I keep up a steady consistent pace.

4. Stick to it

To be consistent you need to stick to your plan. You likely will get off track from time to time. When you do, get right back on your plan and start moving forward again. You will need to refocus in this way from time to time. Also periodically revisit your time commitment and scheduled times and examine whether they are still appropriate. You will need to make revisions as you go along and move towards your goals. Also, at some points you will achieve a goal you are pursing. Take some time to celebrate and then determine what the next step or new goal that you would like to accomplish.

5. Try, try and try again

Staying consistent is a learning process. It takes time to learn how to build your life around consistent action. Certainly some people find this comes naturally, but for most of us it consistency does not come easy. That may be true even if you are excited and passionate about what you do. It is easy to burn out on your passions by spending too much time in those areas. As you continue to work towards consistency, you will get better. If you have made a firm decision to make consistent progress towards your goals, you will get there. Work your plan each day and each week. If you find yourself losing consistency, recognize it and refocus yourself. Over time you will get more and more consistent.

The great thing about consistency is that as you pursue it, you will see results. You will see yourself moving towards your goals step by step. You will find yourself breaking through the difficult inertia of the early stages and building momentum. Whether your goal is losing a few extra pounds, getting out of debt, building a part-time business, or learning a language, consistency will help you succeed.

Written by:

Danny Gamache – The Success Professor
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Posted on November 24th, 2009 by The Success Professor  |  3 Comments »

Lou Holtz’s Five Keys to Success

Lou Holtz

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Lou Holtz is known as one of the top college football coaches of all time.  Most recently he came out of retirement to coach South Carolina and before that had a successful run coaching at Notre Dame.  He is the only coach ever to have brought six different teams to bowl games and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Recently I was at a conference where Lou Holtz was the keynote speaker. Aside from being a great football coach, Holtz is a great LIFE coach.  His lessons are clear and powerful and delivered with a mix of inspiration and humor.  Here are his five keys to success.

1. Choose Your Attitude

In life you will face many difficulties and problems. It is guaranteed that life won’t be easy.  You choose how you respond to adversity or difficulties.  You choose how you respond to rejection.  You choose how you approach life.  Be self discipline and be enthusiastic about everything you do.

“You cannot let others people determine your attitude.”

“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”

“Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.”

2. Have a Passion to Win

You need to develop a deep passion to win. As you do, obstacles will slip away.  If your passion is strong then there will be no obstacle that will keep you from being a success.  You will pursue, persevere, and endure.  You will sacrifice and have no excuses.

“You can evaluate your passion to win by what you are willing to sacrifice.”

“Focus on why you can win; no on why you can’t.”

“You’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re never as bad as they say when you lose.”

3. Understand Your Purpose

Do you know your purpose?  Your purpose is your WHY: the reason WHY you are pursuing your goals.  You need to have clear objectives, and have a team ready to help you move towards your goals. Based on your purpose, ask yourself the WIN question: “What’s Important Now?”  Ask yourself this at least 25 times a day.  This will help you push back towards your purpose.

“If you’re bored with life – you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.”

“I can’t believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary.”

4. Be a Dreamer

Your purpose should be connected to your dream. Have a dream, share your dream, and use your dream to identify your goals.  Develop a dreams list of all the things you dream to do.  Have something to do, something to hope for, something to love, and something to believe in.

“Don’t maintain where you are – everything is either growing or dying.”

“Don’t be a spectator. Don’t let life pass you by.”

5. Lift People Up

You need to develop and maintain meaningful relationships with others.  Do what is right to others.  Do everything to the very best of your ability. Show people you care. All the people you meet have their own struggles and are carrying some burden. They are just like you.

“Do right. Do your best. Treat others as you want to be treated.”

“If you burn your neighbor’s house down, it doesn’t make your house look any better.”

Read more of Lou Holtz’s wisdom by picking up his book “Winning Everyday”.

Written by:
Danny Gamache
Based on a presentation by Lou Holtz

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Posted on November 10th, 2009 by The Success Professor  |  5 Comments »

How to Defeat Procrastination

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One of the things that holds most people back in business and in life is procrastination – putting off things that should be done today and leaving them to do ‘later’. Everybody procrastinates to some extent, so you are not alone.  It is those people who can put aside their procrastination and move towards action more quickly that will be the most successful in life and business.  A favorite quote of mine is that “life rewards action!” Action, at the proper time, is the opposite of procrastination.

Why does procrastination occur?  It occurs when your mind, consciously or sub-consciously, has a view of the ‘pain’ and ‘pleasures’ that can occur from doing, or not doing the task. Each task in life has its own costs (‘pain’) attached completing it, but it has rewards (‘pleasures’) as well.  What people often forget, but in truth drives you just as much, is that for every task there are also ‘pains’ of not completing the task, which drives you towards their completion.  It is the balance of these varied pains and pleasures that result in one of two things – action or procrastination.

For example, if you are procrastinating and not mowing the lawn that needs to be cut, you view the ‘pain’ of mowing the lawn as more important than the results (‘pleasure’) that would come from having it completed.  In other words, the time you give up to do the mowing, the effort you would need to put out and other ‘pains’ that would be involved cover up the satisfaction you would get for completing the task and from having a nicely cut lawn.

But there is another ‘pain’ involved too.  Except this ‘pain’ pushes you towards to completing the task.  In this case, it would be the pain you feel from looking at your uncut lawn. The pain you perceive from the harm to your reputation you might face amongst your neighbors.  The longer your grass gets, the more this ‘pain’ becomes prevalent.  The ‘pain’ that prevents you from doing the task is a NEGATIVE ‘pain’.  The ‘pain’ pushing you towards doing the task is a POSITIVE ‘pain’.

“The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.” – Tony Robbins

These ‘pains’ and ‘pleasures’ from a given task can change as time goes on, which is why you might suddenly do the task at hand.  I see this all the time with my students.  If you are a student who has a paper due in a month, there is not as much ‘pleasure’ from doing the task, and there is no positive ‘pain’ pushing you towards doing it – you only have the negative ‘pain’ keeping you from doing it.  If however, you now have only one day before the paper is due, there is a new positive ‘pain’ that pushes you towards doing the task.  That positive ‘pain’ is of course the risk of getting a failing grade.

If you are in sales you might procrastinate about making a call to a prospect.  In this case you view the ‘pain’ of getting out of your comfort zone and facing possibly rejection as being stronger than the pleasure from the results you could get from making the call.  The thing about this fact is that usually your mind has it completely wrong.  The tendency is to inflate the costs and to lower the true rewards you will receive.   That is why FEAR stands for False Expectations Appearing Real – most of them will simply never come true.

So based on this view of ‘pain’ and ‘pleasure’ and their effects of procrastination, how can you force yourself to take action more – to get past procrastination and create results?  There are three ways that naturally come out of this understanding:

1. Decrease the perceived negative ‘pain’.

This means using your mind to view the task at hand as having less negative costs.  In other words, take a realistic look at the possible outcomes.  Chances are you are making it much harder than it really is.  You are likely emphasizing negative results that in reality are never going to happen. Take a more realistic look and understand that in most cases what you fear will never happen, that the task is much easier than you are making it out to be, and will take much less time than you are figuring.

2. Increase the ‘pleasure’ from completing the task.

To do this, spend more time focusing on what you will get out of completing the task.  Think through all the benefits of completing the task at hand.  The better feeling you will gain, the removal of stress, the extra income you will earn, the easier it will make your life etc… That is why goal setting is so important.  You need to clearly be able to know why you are pursing the goals you are pursing. What are the results you will get, and why are they important?  If you are building a side business, blog, or website, you need to think through the benefits that success will bring to you and your family. Emphasize these positives in your mind.  Focus on this, rather than on the ‘negative’ pain.

3. Increase the positive ‘pain’.

In other words, emphasize all the negatives that will occur if you DO NOT do the task at hand. Think through all the potential costs with not doing it.  These could include the loss of reputation, the giving up on your goals, and the missing of deadlines.  Make these ‘pains’ as large and as important as possible.  If you are the salesperson needing to make a prospecting call focus on all the things that could happen if you DON’T make the call.  Perhaps the prospect goes with a different product, or goes with the same product but purchases it from someone else. Realize in your mind that your business will not grow if you don’t make the call – you’ll be giving up on your dreams and your goals.  Repeat to yourself the saying,  “If I don’t act, I lose!” This increased positive ‘pain’ can drive you towards completing the task at hand.

Procrastination is all in the mind. It is how you perceive the ‘pains’ and ‘pleasures’ associated with either doing, or not doing the task at hand.  Because the mind is what causes procrastination, you can also use the mind to defeat it.  Use the mind to increase the ‘pain’ of not doing tasks, increase the ‘pleasures’ of completing the tasks, and decrease the ‘pain’ associated with doing the task.  Do these three things strongly enough and you will be able to get yourself to take action on whatever you need to do.

Written by:
Danny Gamache

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Posted on November 3rd, 2009 by The Success Professor  |  1 Comment »