Snap! Every Moment Counts In Life

We live in the age of amazing speed. Everyday, every hour, every minute, every second amazing number of new ideas are born.

Snap! The opportunity is lost. Snap! Another one appears. Snap!

Our personal and business success depends on our quick reaction. I used to work for Alcatel-Lucent, whose motto is “At the Speed of Ideas”. But only now working in B2B sales I understand what it really means to be in quick. You can lose an opportunity faster than you think. You need to ack quickly and decisively.


The time between “snaps” gets shorter and shorter and we need to learn and act quicker and quicker. We don’t have the time to gather all the information we need. We even don’t have the capacity for that, for the amount of data is enormous. We need to do more decisions in shorter time with limited information.

It’s more costly to hesitate than to risk and fail.

I’m naturally not the most decisive and quick to act. But I have to learn this. It’s a skill just like any other.

I’ve had one business idea in my drawer for almost 2 years. Now a friend of mine came up with a connected idea and within couple of weeks he’s starting to build a prototype of first product. Makes me wonder, where I would be, if I had started acting earlier…

What about you? Are you quick enough to succeed? Do you hear that snapping sound? Does it announce your success or failure to act?


Extremes Can Guide Your Focus

Nothing is black or white. There is a lot of grey area available. Despite that, sometimes it makes sense to think black or white.

Many times I tend to turn into thinking that it’s “more-less okay” or “partially done” or stuff like that.

Black or white, yes or no, done or not done are ultimate statements, but they help to keep my thinking real. Even if I’m working on something that takes time and I “celebrate” little successes on the way, I still turn back to simple question: “Yes or no?”

Going “extreme” in evaluating situation might not be always good, but many times it helps to keep your head straight and focused. Whether in personal or business topics, it can be great guidance.

Jump Over Knowing Doing Gap

There’s so many things we know. We know exercising is healthy. We know taking care for client is productive. We know planning makes sense. We know…

I know for example that to achieve my goals I need to plan and track activities. But still I fail in doing that properly. That means, that my knowledge is useless.

To know is not enough, knowledge has to be applied. Good intention isn’t enough, we must act.

This is the “motto” my boss, Martin, uses. And all our company lives that motto. Whether in work with our clients or in our internal improvement.

Knowing is not enough. The knowledge is as much as passive acknowledgement of needed change. If I know I am not good at presenting, it’s a start. Even if I know good techniques to present, it still is not enough. Until I start using those techniques, I won’t get better. Ever.

Once you acquire some new piece of information, you should ask yourself simple question:

What will I do about it? When?

And then act. Don’t expect the change to happen without action.

It applies to skills improvement, personal change, as well as to company improvement. If you know there’s something that can be done better, but you don’t act, you don’t contribute.

So what do you know and don’t act on?

Short information point (not intended as promotion, just to let you know):
The key thing that distinguishes DEVELOR from other training and consulting companies is the fact that we walk the performance talk. We are one of few companies who are certified by Kirkpatrick Partners to use Kirkpatrick Model of measuring development impact. We know and educate our clients to pay as much (or even more) attention to application of skills, as they pay to “traditional” training of employees. Because even the best training has limited influence on behavioural change and results. To act is necessary.

Simplest Way To Get Some Help

… and it will be given. Or at least it might be.

One thing constantly upsets me: so few people ask for what they want, even when they have the unlimited options available.

When I was still active with AIESEC, we already had a large group of alumni (ex-AIESECers), who were just one phone-call away. Despite that we used to “reinvent the wheel”, because we didn’t ask for help.

Nowadays, when I have the chance to help some of the young guys through my experience, I see that still happening. There’s so few of people who will just pick-up the phone and ask for help or advise (whether from me or from others).

Most of the times if you state your request honestly, you will be treated with respect. You don’t even need to be offering anything in return (though it’s great if you find some benefits for the other side).

In most of the cases, people are keen on helping. Some actually long to be given the chance to contribute to others. Some like to be asked, because it gives them the feeling of appreciation. Some might say no. But many will say “yes”.

Worst case you end up where you have started. Best case, you will get what you want. Everything it takes is to step forward. Without asking, you’ll get a “No” for sure.

So go ahead and ask. It might be given.

Create a NOT-TO-DO List As Well

I already wrote about setting good boundaries. Now I want to share some DO-NOT-DOs, which help me to contribute my best. Maybe you can find some of them helpful:

  • don’t criticise without an alternative,
  • don’t judge before fully understanding,
  • don’t assume you know best,
  • don’t hesitate,
  • don’t underestimate people,
  • don’t argue, use arguments,
  • don’t hurt intentionally,
  • don’t postpone an apology,
  • don’t regret,
  • don’t lie (to others and yourself),
  • don’t repeat mistakes,
  • don’t quit.

Do you have your DO-NOT-DOs? Share some of them 😉

PS: for those interested, here’s a great post by Ivana Sendecka on Why Having “NOT To-Do List” Can Save You (Time).

Achievements Should Be Celebrated

I finished my first half-marathon today. I’m proud and happy.

Strange, how unnatural it feels to write about achievement. Most of the time I write about overcoming obstacles. Very little I celebrate the victories here.

Today it’s time to do so.

I started running couple of months ago. Actually it was in May 2012 when I got back to Slovakia. First run was 1.88 km. I almost fainted after it. I did my first 10 km run in July 2012. It took me total of 11 months to get to finish half-marathon.

When I signed up for Bratislava marathon, I set a goal to finish it (and if all goes well, get there in 2h 30min). I finished in 2:08:15, which I didn’t even dream of.

What I also loved about the experience is that I enjoyed it. Yes, there were couple of moments when I thought I will lay down and cry. But most of the time, I was having fun, jumping, changing pace, trying longer and shorter stride. It was real fun!

There are 4 things that helped me to get at the end of my first half-marathon:

  • clear goal
  • enjoying the way
  • not stopping
  • support from friends

If you want to achieve something, set a goal, make sure to find joy in the process, don’t stop and find friends to support you. Than just go and do it. Enjoy your achievement.

Four Simple Tasks To Build Trust

The biggest honour you can get from your family, friends, partners or clients is trust. It’s the prerequisite of any fruitful relationship. Without trust it just doesn’t work.

No one can love you, help you or collaborate with you without trust. Maybe for short while.

But once trust is lost, it’s all gone.

What can we do to build trust?

  1. care – just care for the other person, truly and deeply. Pay attention to their needs, problems and happy moments. Show empathy and share their feelings.
  2. be there – just be there, whenever they need you.
  3. know – know what is happening in their lives. It’s so great to see someone is paying attention and knows something about you that you wouldn’t expect.
  4. keep promises – maybe the most important. Whenever you promise something, keep your promise. Every broken promise just drains your trust well almost to the bottom.

Trust is essential. Build it. Keep it. Don’t lose it.

This Helps Me In Tough Times

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in life. There are times when you are in a sh*t storm of everything going wrong.

When I’m in that state, there is couple of thoughts that help me get over it:

In couple of days it will be over, no matter what.

People think that in stress time is an enemy, but actually, it’s a friend for me. Because time flies no matter what. And that means that in some specific time, this particular “issue” will be over, one way or another.

You will learn from this experience.

Every experience has a potential for learning. Even the worst one. So go ahead and take what it has to offer.

Bad emotions are also emotions – the spice of life.

Without emotion we would be just robots. So enjoy the fact that you have some. Be it even anger, sadness, worry or whatever “bad feelings”, those are also important.

Come on, don’t be a whining little girl.

When nothing else works, I just start making fun of myself. That usually kicks my spirit up.

In the end, it is true what Charles R. Swindoll said:

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

What about you? What do you tell to yourself, when it’s not all sunshine and rainbows around?

Client Is The Boss – In Practice

It’s 10 PM and I just finished working. Why? Two reasons – a bit bad time management and the fact that the client is the boss.

I haven’t written about my work too much yet. When I was coming to work for DEVELOR one of the first things I asked my managing director – Martin – was: “Who’s gonna be my boss here?” Coming from position where I didn’t have to face customers it was natural for me to know who do I report to, who’s there to “check on me”. Martin’s reply:

Client is the boss.

And it’s not empty words here. It is like that. One and only thing I need to do is to make sure the client is happy. Whether it’s in the “business hours” or out of them.

Sometimes it’s not that nice (like today, when I have to catch up on the work and my client needs that offer tomorrow morning in her email). But it also means that nobody is going to check your schedule, give you bad looks when you work out of a coffee place, home, coworking office, or when you take some hours off because you can’t do your best right now. You know you will have to get the work done. It also makes prioritising simple. First client work, then the rest.

I know my role. I’m not here to work, but to deliver. Deliver happy clients. And I get the freedom to do it. 

That’s something I like about DEVELOR.

What Did I Learn From a Simple Football Match

I used to play football (soccer for US people) when I was on my elementary and grammar school. Then I had a knee injury and I stopped playing that much. But I still do.

Last Sunday I went to play after quite a while. As expected, my fitness wasn’t the best. Despite the fact that I run regularly, football is different to distance running. And my technique went down as well. I had a lot of bad moments, when I didn’t perform the best.

But I learnt (or rather re-learnt) one important thing about myself.

One of the crucial parts of football play (and especially in small hall with 4 on 4 game) is to fall back and keep fighting the counter-attack when you lose the ball. Couple of times I didn’t. Mainly not because of the fitness, but because I was pissed with my failure and so I started giving up on the rest of the game as well.

I realised I tend to do this in business and personal projects sometimes. When I fail, I overanalyse, close myself and pity myself. And that way I fail again, because I stop being productive.

By giving into self-pity we stop contributing and build-up to another failure.

It’s absolutely not productive to pity myself, start swearing and be pissed. It doesn’t help nor my performance neither my team-players. It just leads to me being less valuable to my team.

From now on when I get into self-pity mode  I will remember that feeling from the football pitch, when my team-mate yelled at me: “Why don’t you fall back? Why do you stop playing?”

What about you? Do you let the self-pity steal your contribution?