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This month, Larry Lacy and I celebrate 17 years in business. This year we will also celebrate 15 years of marriage. I know, we did it backwards – we enjoyed working together so much we decided to get married.

We are reminded frequently how remarkable it is for a couple to work successfully together in business. People often comment that, though they love their husband or wife, they wouldn’t be able to work with them daily – especially when things are rough as they inevitably will be in business.

So, at this milestone, I thought I would share some of the reasons why I think our partnership has been successful.

1. We NEVER blame one another when something goes wrong.

2. We take responsibility when we do something stupid.

3. We give one another room and support to grow.

4. When the going gets tough, we circle the wagons.

5. We practice what we preach. We teach communication and trust-building skills. We would be pretty bad if we couldn’t follow our own advice.

6. We celebrate everyday. We aren’t promised a certain amount of time on this earth. Thus, we believe in celebrating everyday we have together. It reminds us of what an amazing gift we have.

7. Each of us is the other’s best cheerleader.

8. We each are determined to be in a good mood, but recognize it isn’t always possible.

9. We always have one another’s back.

10. We are grateful for each other and for all that we have been blessed with.

I can’t wait to see what kind of adventures the next 17 years bring.

November 1st may not seem like anything special to most people except as a time to recover from a sugar hangover or an opportunity to begin transitioning from Halloween to Thanksgiving decorations. Nevertheless, it marks the beginning of a month that will motivate and inspire tens of thousands of people to pursue a dream. For November first, is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for those of us in the know. It is the beginning of a month that will challenge people around the world to put aside their excuses and do something that most others only talk about doing.

NaNoWriMo offers the challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November. No editing and no excuses just putting a story down on paper…or computer as the case may be. Come November 30th when participants have achieved that lofty goal, they have the privilege of downloading a certificate clearly letting the world know that they are a WINNER.  There is no monetary prize. No big celebration given in their honor. There is only the sense of accomplishment.

What NaNoWriMo really does, however, is to give those of us who have talked about writing a book, but who never seem to get around to it , the push we need to stop making excuses and just do it. You’ve  heard the excuses:  “I have a great idea for a book, but ___________ (fill in the blank). We all have a million reasons (read: excuses) for not achieving a goal that sits off in the distance, just out of reach. Last year, I accepted the NaNoWriMo challenge. I’ve been writing short stories and business articles forever, but had never attempted to write a novel. My excuses were that I didn’t think that I could come up with enough detail and the inevitable “I’m busy” excuse. The problem was that my excuses still left me unsatisfied. I knew that I had a book in me. NaNoWriMo challenged me to dare to follow my dream. I finally decided that if I tried and failed it would be better than never trying at all.

On November 25th last year, I completed my 50,000 words needed to have ‘won’ the challenge. My book was far from complete, but I had accomplished something that I had only dreamed of up until that time. It was one of the most liberating experiences I have ever had. Furthermore, it has sparked a level of creativity in me that hasn’t been there since childhood. It is also the reason why I wanted to help bring Wonderland Odyssey to life. In many ways our heroine, Alice, is fighting her own battle against excuses. She is, after all, only human.

Perhaps you aren’t interested in writing the next great novel. On the other hand, maybe you have a dream that you have been putting off, finding first one excuse then another to justify why you haven’t tried. If so, don’t wait. Don’t let those negative little voices in your head keep you from following your dreams. You can do it! All you have to do is to believe in yourself more than you believe in the excuses.

For more information about National Novel Writing Month visit http://www.nanowrimo.org

(photo: http://www.sciencereflections.com)

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We would all like to take Larry the Cable Guy’s advice and “Get ‘er done,” but sometimes that is a whole lot easier said than done. And it seems that the more people you mix into the equation, the more difficult it is to do.
At the end of the day, it is a great feeling to know that we have actually accomplished something. While that should be a given, it really isn’t. Too often we waste time in meetings that never go anywhere. Discussions meander from one topic to the next and in the end, no one is really sure what needs to be accomplished and by whom.  At the end of the meeting, people scatter like a handful of bb’s dropped on the floor, hoping that no one will call them back to assign a task. This all leads to a marked distaste for meetings, but more importantly, it leads to apathy and a lack of confidence in one another. The 8-Step process outlined below can be the cure for this problem
On the other hand, perhaps you are just looking for a way to ensure that you personally get more accomplished at home or work. By modifying the 8-Step Process for personal use, it will help you accomplish more with less stress and more confidence.
It works! We use it ourselves and have used it with many clients with great success. Give it a try and see how it improves your productivity and makes your life just a bit simpler…

1.    What needs to be accomplished? (This should be broken down to include the individual steps needed for task accomplishment. For example, if what needs to be accomplished is to plan a party, this process should be performed for each task – Music, decorations, food, etc).

2.    Who is responsible?

3.    When will it be started?

4.    When will it be complete?

5.    What resources are required? (Money, time, a team to assist, training, etc.)

6.    How will you measure results? (Without this, you cannot know if you are successful.)

7.    How will results be communicated? (IE – We will report progress in a weekly email and to the employees. We will include the results in a mailing to all of our customers.)

8.    How will you monitor for opportunities for improvement? (This is what makes the process closed-loop. Even if the outcomes are successful, it is a best practice to continue to monitor for opportunities to make additional enhancements.)

If you need any help on how to use this, let us know.

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