Cindy Novotny

I am a “Prioritizer!”

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Recently I took a survey that said I was excellent at prioritizing.  It made total sense to me because I am able to successfully travel every week, manage many projects and lead an impressive team while still having time for family.  This illustrates my ability to prioritize.  Although I am not what most would call a logical and analytical thinker, I am realistic and get things done.  I use my time effectively and focus on the highest-value tasks, accurately completing significant amounts of work.

Here are some productivity tips to help you get better at prioritizing:

  • Put all to-do’s on your calendar on the date you will do them
  • Streamline your work flow weekly and prioritize daily
  • Use your tasks and to-do stamps on your iPad or computer
  • Invest in apps like Evernote
  • Use “ScanBizCards”, which lets you scan business cards on the run
  • Send yourself voice notes
  • Take pictures of receipts for expenses
  • Plan your day the night before
  • Do revenue producing activities first

Do not become overwhelmed with life.  Grab the reins and live your best life!

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The Best Skilled Player May Not Be Able to Win the Game!  

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I love the analogy of sports and business even though I am a novice in the sports arena.  But, I still have strong opinions about talent, skill, attitude and strategy both in business and in sports.  In the NFL’s biggest game, with a loud and excited crowd, the old master failed at one play he needed to make while the underdog executed his play to perfection. 

My Super Bowl celebration was a bit different as I was working in Australia.  But, in between meetings on Monday, I watched online what I could.  What I did see of the game proved to me that you can never be too sure of yourself and never be too confident that you will always win.

In business just like sports, there is always a play that changes it all - the very thin margin between winning and losing.  It seems like a small thing to decide such a significant game.  The success of a quarterback catching a ball rather than throwing it surprised the most dominant team in the NFL – just like that!

I read in an article this morning that Eagles QB Nick Foles later said when describing the mental approach that allowed him to handle the moment suddenly thrust upon him,  “You need to worry about the little things.”  YES!

This is music to my ears!  I always tell people, the saying that "you don’t have to sweat the small stuff" is rubbish.  Yes you do, to win!

So the greatest quarterback in NFL history could not beat the ‘career fill-in’; the player the team had to turn to when they needed someone to play while they looked for a better replacement.  Foles was labeled as the worst quarterback Tom Brady had ever faced in a Super Bowl.  Foles stepped up when Philadelphia’s star quarterback Carson Wentz had a season ending injury and ended up as the Super Bowl MVP.

Never rest on your laurels, always pay attention to the little things, improve your communication during the game and stop making so many mistakes.  Lessons learned on the field are also true in the board room.

My Best ‘Aha’ Moments Come When I am Calm!

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Definition of aha moment: a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.

I know I am viewed as an ‘over the top’, energizer bunny, crazy traveling road warrior that goes 100 miles an hour.  But what you don’t know about me is that all my best ideas come when I am sleeping, dreaming and relaxing.  I keep a pad and pen on my nightstand and when I come up with an idea, I actually wake up and jot it down.  You may think this disrupts my sleep pattern and is not a good habit...(and you may be right). 

My research shows that a wonderful way to wake up refreshed despite minimal sleep is to wake up during a period of your lightest sleep.  Being woken up in a light stage of your sleep cycle has proven to make people feel more energetic and alert upon awakening for the day.

We all know that when you fall asleep you experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep throughout the night.  The beginning stages of sleep prepares your body to shut down – this is where you can be easily awakened by noise or thoughts.  Then, the middle stage (lasting about 25 minutes) also involves light sleep.  This is where most of my ideas come up and then I write them down. 

This is NOT affecting my deep sleep (REM) as it is the last stage of the sleep cycle – also where you have the most dreams. 

My point to this message is to relax, rest, think, find solitude and create the next brilliant idea.  It may even happen in the shower in which case, you can call out to Alexa or Siri and tell her to record your thoughts!  I always believed in this philosophy; the best ideas and solutions to our problems come to mind when we are quiet and our consciousness is relaxed.  As busy as I am, I find that the best ideas come when I am in a quiet place or with my headphones on, outside just relaxing or simply focusing on my thoughts.

I wish I was the type of organized person who could block out 20 minutes each day to mediate but I can’t seem to do it.  So instead, I find greatness at the wildest times when I least think I have the time to solve a problem. 

Good ol’ Fashion Hospitality Starts in Sales!

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Since I have talked about goal setting this entire month, I thought I would end January with thoughts on how to actually succeed.  Everywhere you look businesses are focusing on getting back to basics, and yet there are some leaders in the hospitality arena who are still trying to be ‘cutting edge’ without considering the actual customer or guest. 

Beyond self-driving cars and robots serving your breakfast, maybe it is time to shake a hand, give a smile and welcome a guest back to your hotel. 
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Let’s take the actual customer journey in sales and catering in the hotel industry.  If you are in a different industry, there are many similarities to what I will share.  General Managers, VPs of Sales, and Regional VP’s need to step into the life of a sales professional today.  The inquiries, RFP’s and technology tools (like Cvent, Knowland and LinkedIn) have changed the competitive landscape.  Selling in the industry today takes a ‘back to basics’ approach.  Stop trying to complicate the sales and customer journey with convoluted sales strategies.  Make sure your phones are answered by ‘live people with energy’ instead of having calls go to an automated message.  Make sure there are sales professionals available to take the calls, have proactive sellers finding new business and stop making it difficult for a sales person to quote a rate or a price. 

Every focus group we have done in the past 6 months with clients has supported these same thoughts.  Stop making this so hard!  We are in the hospitality business and we have lost the art good ol' fashion hospitality.  Let’s find it! 

It doesn’t stop at sales.  We need General Managers to act as hosts again, meeting with guests and clients.  We need guest rooms that are comfortable and workable.  If you have the latest in AI technology and Alexa (who knows my every wish), GREAT!  BUT - when the room is so cold and I can’t figure out how to change the temperature without an engineering degree, that is a real problem. 

Beyond self-driving cars and robots serving your breakfast, maybe it is time to shake a hand, give a smile and welcome a guest back to your hotel. 

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Make it a Great Year!

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I will continue with my goal setting mantra in this week’s blog.  I have a great feeling about 2018 and I hope you do as well.  But without a good plan, your year may be just like last year with no real improvement.  Simple but not easy

So let’s review one more time.

  • You are the only person who can limit your success – make something happen
  • Remember you have a full life – it is not just work, so plan goals for each part of your life
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Spiritual
    • Business
    • Educational
    • Hobbies
    • Sport
    • Health
  • Write down these goals and share them with an accountability buddy
  • Make the goals SMART – Specific, Measurable, Aggressive, Realistic and Timely
  • Break bad habits by being honest with yourself
  • Know what motivates you and spend more time on that
  • You can achieve more together – so get your team to support the goals
  • Stop living a life you do not enjoy and start living YOUR LIFE
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Two Broke Girls is Not a Reality Show... Or Is It?

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It is easy to understand that people in their 20’s and 30’s may not consider retirement planning important.  Well, 20 becomes 40 real fast and I am here to tell you that you must start saving for plan B.  This month I am focusing my social media feed on goal setting, saving money and planning for the future.  So let’s start with my younger audience (although those of you who are older may want to read this also) because I think "better late than never" is KEY when it comes to your financial planning.

My parents taught me to save (well, they suggested it loudly) and also taught me to push the element - live right at the edge.  My husband made that a reality.  I learned early on that paying myself first was the only way to grow your wealth.  So... the first step is to SAVE MONEY and RESPECT MONEY.  

How? Use these tips:

  1. Set SMART Goals

  2. Get a financial buddy or coach to hold you accountable to save

  3. Be a smart shopper and look for deals – don’t pay retail if at all possible

  4. Push yourself, live at the edge but make sure you can pay your bills every month

  5. Don’t try and "keep up with the Jones"

Make sure you are saving your 401K or equivalent that you may have.  Try and contribute as much as you can to your 401K within reason.  Look into Roth IRA’s.  With the new tax plan, you need to make sure you are doing what you need to do to save more money.  It is simple; take a strategic approach to your savings, investing and planning so there is no need for the emergency that could happen tomorrow.  

 

Ending up in a real bad financial situation should not happen if at all possible.  Think about your future now so that when you catch up with your future, you have no regrets.  

Thoughts to Carry You into 2018!

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Welcome to 2018!  What a year we have ahead of us... I wanted to jump-start it by thanking everyone who is part of our MCA family; employees, clients, partners, friends and family.  I took the last 2 weeks off from blogging and filming my Monday Mentor Moments to give us all a break, but it is time to kick it into gear.

Everyone is looking for inspiration in their lives and my goal is to try and contribute some positive thoughts and encouragement.  Holidays can be as stressful as they are joyful and the "post-holiday blues" affect more people than you know. 

So here I go with ten thoughts to get you back on track after the holidays.

  1. Slow down for the first few days after the holidays to get things organized for a hassle free year
  2. Take a few minutes every morning to be thankful for what you have
  3. Open your eyes to what is around you, pay attention to those who get ignored
  4. Don’t take this life so seriously – even those of us who are dealing with trouble in our lives need to remember the joy
  5. Be mindful – let your heart talk to you
  6. Have some faith – regardless of what your beliefs are, you should put faith in others
  7. Stand strong and have perseverance. Continue to go forward even on the toughest days
  8. Silent nights are not just for the holidays – try it every night
  9. Be an optimist – yes, my glass is not just half full IT IS FULL!
  10. Give me warmth – I will leave you with this winter thought... For all the warm things of the season, I thank you. For the warmth in my house, I thank you. For the glow of the sun, I thank you. Let it draw all of us together against the cold stormy winter!
For all the warm things of the season, I thank you. For the warmth in my house, I thank you. For the glow of the sun, I thank you. Let it draw all of us together against the cold stormy winter!

Christmas is About Giving!

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What I love about our team is that we will do whatever it takes to make it happen.  Yesterday on the way home to LAX from Santiago, Chile, Austen Ward from our team had to use his medical skills in addition to his social awareness that we use in training to help a young girl who was having a seizure at 30,000 feet.

He was sleeping when he heard screams from a mother and an announcement from the flight attendant on United Airlines that someone needed medical attention.  As a certified EMT, Austen immediately took action.  There was one hour left on the flight before landing at LAX and after Austen monitored the vitals of the passenger, he spent the last hour keeping her calm.

Falling back on his sales and service, he used his social skills of listening and asking questions to keep the passenger awake and calm throughout the rest of the flight. 

We always say that MCA goes the extra mile but in this case, Austen went further.  Even when United Airlines offered to give him a voucher for another flight, he asked to have it donated to a veteran who could use it more than him. 

Christmas is about giving and Austen fully embodied the spirit of Christmas yesterday.  Whatever you may be celebrating over the next few days, please remember to reach out to others.  Happy Holidays to all. 

XO, Cindy

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The Popcorn Report

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In 1991 I read a book by Faith Popcorn called the Popcorn Report.  To say I loved it is an understatement.  I read it several times and referenced it often.  So why am I talking about it now, 26 years later?  Simple.  What she said then has a much relevance today and I thought I would give you a glimpse into the trends of years ago and the meaning today.

  • You have to see the future to deal with the present
  • In 1991 Faith said that in the year 2010 there would be two visions:  Gloom vs. Hope
    • Corporate America as we knew it in 1991 would be over in 2010 – WOW!
    • Culture is back in the hands of the people
    • Values are doing a turnaround

Now for her 10 Trends:

  1. Cocooning would become the trend – hence all the focus on home renovations, vintage, cooking, farming and heritage
  2. Fantasy Adventure – Everyone is escaping reality now and that is not just in travel but in how we lead our lives
  3. Small indulgences – we have too much stuff so therefore today we are seeing people spend money on a wonderful experience vs. the Armani jacket
  4. Egonomics – Faith said in 1991 that we would have everything customized and look where we are.  Your Amazon Echo knows your every wish and customizes the weather reports for just you
  5. Cashing out – people are retreating to peace and quiet
  6. Down-Aging – Botox anyone????
  7. Staying Alive – health is the new wealth
  8. The vigilante consumer – welcome to Yelp!
  9. 99 lives – living longer and happier
  10. SOS (Save our Society) – Never stop believing that the good guy always wins

So my friends, you can see that what Faith Popcorn wrote about in 1991 is alive and well as we wrap up 2017.  Her book may seem like an outdated read, but I assure you that it is worth the time.  Enjoy The Popcorn Report!

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What Matters in your Life?

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The countdown has begun - we are officially 17 days away from Christmas!  As 2017 comes to a close, this is always the best time to take a step back and look at your life during the past year. What were your wins, losses, successes, failures, highs and lows? Who in your life contributed to those times - both the good and bad? Are you living your best life as your best SELF?

We know that our lives are meant to be lived well with energy, joy and excitement but we also know that the coarse of our lives are shaped more like roller coasters with twists and turns you never see coming. So look around - who are the people around you that lift you up during the hard times? Unfortunately, sometimes the people closest to us in life take the most advantage and chip away at your armor rather than building you up. As you're reading this, if someone popped into your head and you are aware of someone who is taking away rather than adding value to your life, it may be time to reassess the relationship.  The people, processes and things in your life should be adding to your happiness and helping you reach your goals.

The holidays are a magical time with friends and family - a time to stop and smell the hot cocoa. However, it can also be the hardest time of year for those going through tough times or feeling the loss of family members, etc. No matter where you are this season, take time to fill yourself up - invest in yourself and get ready for a clean slate in 2018!

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#MULTITASKINGISOVERRATED!

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It is NO secret that multitasking is overrated!  Years ago there was an article written in Time Magazine about how many mistakes are being made by the lack of focus in multitasking, but now there is even more evidence to support how it is destroying productivity and hurting relationships. 

Stanford University recently wrote an article on this topic after significant research was conducted. Here is what they had to say... “High-tech jugglers are everywhere – keeping up several e-mail and instant message conversations at once, text messaging while watching television and jumping from one website to another while plowing through homework assignments." But after putting about 100 students through a series of three tests, the researchers realized those heavy media multitaskers are paying a big mental price. “They’re suckers for irrelevancy,” said communication Professor Clifford Nass, one of the researchers whose findings are published in the Aug. 24 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Everything distracts them.” Social scientists have long assumed that it’s impossible to process more than one string of information at a time. The brain just can’t do it.

Although I am not a scientist, I have thought for a long time that multitasking is so unproductive (and that is coming from a person who is going 100 miles an hour).  I know that when I am working on so many different things at one time, I always make a mistake or do not produce stellar work.   

Now Stanford has validated my thoughts; multitasking is less productive than doing one thing at a time.  In addition to this, researchers also found that all of us are overwhelmed with many streams of electronic information from emails to social media.  

Many people who know me would argue that I multitask all day long.  Well I have news for everyone – I work on a lot of projects all day long – one project at a time.  As I sit here writing this blog, I am only focused on this.  I haven’t looked at my email once, checked Facebook or picked up the phone to talk to someone.  I blocked out 30 minutes to write this blog and that is what I am doing. 

Multitasking does NOT make you more efficient.  In fact, it slows down your productivity because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

Never Be Lost in Translation!

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I spend a great deal of time outside of the United States.  Traveling throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South America, etc. has given me the ability to experience the wonders of this amazing world and all that comes with it.

I am writing this as I sit in London (one of my favorite spots) and it reminds me of many years ago when I first started traveling abroad.  Global business travel was reserved for executives of large corporations and back then, building relationships across nations was expensive and took a lot of time.

BUT - No longer!  Things are so different nowadays.  Easy access to air travel and sophisticated communications and technology make it easy for startups to begin anywhere in the world.
I love traveling the globe and the world has become so small to me.  I used to be lonely in a ‘foreign’ city when I didn’t know anyone, didn’t know my way around and didn’t speak a local language.  Today, there is almost no city that I land in where I don’t have friends, I am always able to get around easily (Uber!) and lucky for me, most speak English.  

But with all this said, there is still a need to understand cultural differences. So here are some tips :

  • First impressions count – correct handshakes, business card protocol and tone of language
  • Know specific taboos in each country
  • Know the preconceptions that people have of different cultures
  • Be diplomatic
  • For now, the official international language of business is English, but learning a few phrases is good
  • Observe everything
  • Be mindful and remember business is all about people and communication
  • The more open and curious you are, the more friendships you will develop.  Pack your bags, grab your passport and enjoy traveling the globe.
     
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Stop Playing Games

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What on earth is going on in today's world?  Everyone is playing games.  Politicians, leaders, family members and employees.  No one gets off the hook.  It is time to ‘say what you mean, and mean what you say.’

The next time you open your mouth to say something to someone, make sure you won’t mind it being said to many others.  If you don’t want it shared with a certain person, then don’t say it at all or say it to the person who is involved.

I have met so many individuals lately that are struggling with the politics in their company, are not sure of where they stand and do not get the right messages from their leaders.  Although I believe my company doesn’t follow this type of culture, recently I found out that people still go to others in the company without coming to me directly.  So I guess I have the same issue!  The only difference is I know now that this is happening and I will stop it right away.  No game playing here!!!

With that being said, let’s take some time to focus on your own circle of friends, family, colleagues, leaders and employees.  Have you said everything to them that is on your mind?  As difficult as it may be, it is so important to get to the bottom of small issues before they blow up.  Believe me when I tell you - you can’t afford to waste any time on useless game playing when we have such lofty goals.

This applies to friends and family as well.  Recently I had a blow up with a friend that could have been handled differently if I would have practiced what I am preaching.  Things had been bothering me but instead of talking through these small issues, I let it get to a boiling point.  The result wasn’t pretty.  So from now on, put the game of survival back in the box and start playing by the rules. 

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Live the Life of your Dreams... REALLY!

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Fairy tales are more than just magic pumpkins, prince charming and a glass slipper... take a page from Catherine Middleton's book for example!  Fairy tales are real and I'm here to tell you that you CAN live your own.  I am all about creating your own destiny and creating the life of your dreams, but how does that happen exactly? 

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A lot of people in this world are unhappy and tired. Tired of the stress from work or family life, stressed about money or stressed about being stressed all the time. Right?! Did you know... that can all change with just three heel clicks in your ruby red slippers?  Well maybe not, but today you're in luck - just call me your Fairy Godmother because I'm here to tell you how to live the life of your dreams!

  • Change your thinking, change your mindset and focus on the positive. Your brain is a powerful thing - it can take you up the ladder of success or keep you down in the dumps. Where you go in life and your happiness literally depends on the way you think! Let go of the excuses, negativity and stop blaming everyone else for your problems. Try getting out of bed with a spring in your step - maybe you can even sing a little song...
  • Recognize your own princess (or prince) qualities! Look at yourself in the mirror and appreciate your uniqueness! Maybe you won't have your own royal wedding but stop being so hard on yourself! You need to add some joy in the mix. So, what makes you happy? Maybe it's time you rediscover your favorite hobby or find what you are passionate about. Happy people do things that make them happy - I guarantee it.

It's really that easy and you can make these changes right this minute. Feel like a princess yet? 

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Dare to visualize a world in which your most treasured dreams have become true.
— Ralph Marston

 

 

WTF!?!?

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This week I heard the phrase ‘WTF’ used in more ways than one.  Of course we all know what the phrase means when we can’t even believe what we see or hear, but there are so many more uses for these initials.

  • Wait till Friday
  • What’s the fire
  • What the font
  • Weekly top five
  • What’s the foolishness
  • Wasn’t that funny
  • Wednesday – Thursday – Friday
  • Work time fun
  • Worse than failure
  • Will to fight
  • Worst to first
  • Wow that’s fantastic
  • What to fix
  • What’s this for
  • Where’s the food
  • Wisdom, truth faith

I had to laugh out loud when I heard a few of these and then we Googled so many more.  One of the "WTFs" did actually stand out to me though so today I want to focus on ‘wisdom, truth and faith’.  

WISDOM

Every day you wake up with the ability to turn over a new page in your life.  Learning while living creates the drive to face reality and get better with each waking moment.  Studies show that 80% of people will work hard during their first year of employment to really learn their job.  Second year on the job many get lazy, complacent, stop learning as much and in turn they level off without ever getting much better.  After ten years with no on-going training and development these same people are no more productive than they were after one year!  But if you are a part of the 20% ‘A’ players, you keep learning, growing and improving.  That is wisdom!

TRUTH

It is all transparent today.  You can’t hide.  Everyone sees through Mr. Cellophane and you never want to be that person.  Any wise individual will tell you that you never can hide from the truth - it always catches up with you.  For you to unlock your potential, you first have to face the truth.  What do you need to do and how will you live a life of honesty and passion?

FAITH

At the end of the day, you need to have faith in what you are doing and who want to be.   Without your True North you will never hit the target.  Trust your gut and follow your instincts.  Faith should not be blind but should be trusted. 

I am WOMAN Hear Me Roar!

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Whether you're a woman or a man, you must be aware of the constant struggle of the sexes. Just look at what is going on with the Boy Scouts.  Who is the best, smarter, stronger and even better balanced?  When are we going to stop focusing on whether I am a woman or a man, and just get on with doing an incredible job?  Woman have been fighting for years for equality and yet many women I know live their life completely opposite.  Talking out of both sides of their mouth.  “I want to be treated fairly and then when it doesn’t go my way, I will sue for discrimination.”  Are you kidding me? 

Women have been rising in the boardrooms for years now and that will only continue to grow. The world is full of self-made millionaires who are women.  Yes my friends, women have made it and as fast as they rise to the top, they can lose it.  

Let’s stop focusing on what we don’t have but what opportunities are available for any of us if we wish to pursue them.  This week I am in Asia and read an article in Forbes on the Feminist Mystique.  I enjoyed reading that despite reputation of men in the boardroom, it was not the case in Asia.  The magazine highlighted how many women they employed as journalists as early as 1918.  In 1919, Forbes featured an interview with Virginia Potter, co-founder of the 15,000 member National League of Women Workers.  “Women will go on and on making not only a name for themselves in the business they have undertaken but adding to the improvement of the country.”

So why is it today that women are their own worst enemy.  They stab each other in the back, don’t help promote other women and continue to blame the system for their lack of promotions.  

This is your life, your future and your fault if you are not moving ahead as a woman.  Stop blaming the system and admit you may not be as good as the male colleague you are competing with.  Tough call?  You bet it is.  But then again, you wanted to become an Eagle Scout!
 

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The 9-5 Job is Dead!

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I have said for years that working 9 to 5 is over, balance or no balance is not the issue and those who have an entrepreneurial mind will be just fine.  Those who think like a corporate coward, hiding in their office and playing the corporate game will fail.  Why?  It is simple.

Business is no longer done in the corner office of a high rise.  Sales are being closed at coffee shops, in airport lounges and on conference calls in the middle of the night.  

This business of working M-F, 9 to 5 is so last season I can’t believe there are people who are actually still living this life.  Sure - I am all about having a life, having balance and making choices.  For this exact reason I have embraced the new work life and I actually have more freedom than ever.  

So how do you do it?  Here are my hot tips:

  1. Stop working for the clock and start working for results: sure there will be days you can get out of the office early but there will be days when you have to get that proposal out, make a late call to a country that is just getting up and finish the project that needs more attention.
  2. Work wherever you are.  As I write this I am sitting on my bed in a Hyatt Hotel in Cleveland, OH.  The news is on, the coffee is on my bedside table and my laptop is where it should be – on my lap!  I work where and when I need to in order to get the job done.
  3. Map out your day based on the biggest wins.  Sales calls in the morning and projects/administrative duties in the afternoon.
  4. Use the old adage of ‘plan your work and work your plan.’  It has been around for years, but in today’s crazy world of emails, texts, IM, social media, etc. we see more people struggling with time management when technology today should make things easier to manage.  
  5. Stop complaining about how busy and stressed out you are.  Just get on with it and hit your targets.  It is that simple.  I laugh when I hear people say, “I can’t take it anymore, I am going out on my own.”  Good luck my friends – If you think you are overwhelmed now, wait until you have to do it all.  

Stop and focus on one thing at a time, finish what you start and always remember: more is not always best if you take charge of your results and own up to what you can accomplish.  Enjoy the weekend and don’t stress if you have to finalize a project in-between Sunday brunch and pool time!
 

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the 9-5 job is dead

Live Your Best Life!

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With all of the craziness in life today, it is so important not to lose sight of living your best life. Keeping the negativity and hate out of my life allows me to be happy and not just ‘fake’ it. Time goes by so quickly these days that if you don’t capture the little moments of happiness you may live to regret it.  

Don’t run so fast in life that you miss what matters most. You’ll someday regret not spending more time in that moment
— Cindy

I have always believed in taking control of your destiny and not giving it to others to navigate. Being happy and in charge of your life means you are responsible for your decisions.  No one to blame, no one to hide behind and only you will be able to celebrate your success and happiness when you are in control.  

Just as I believe that balance is unique to each of us, I also believe you can’t live a happy life based on others' expectations.  What makes you happy is not written in any book - it comes from within and you must grab it, hold on to it and never give it away.

This week, take some time and think about what makes you happy?  The little moments that make you smile are the moments to remember.  Don’t run so fast in life that you miss what matters most. You'll someday regret not spending more time in that ‘moment.’  

xo - Cindy
 

live your best life!

Happiness at Work!

cindynovotnyComment

Every day at Master Connection Associates we conduct a line-up in our office where everyone gets ready for the productive day ahead.  Each week there is a theme we focus on which is related to our values and standards.  This week it was all about honesty.  

So today I thought I would write my blog around this topic with a different twist of how to avoid office politics and game playing in the workplace.

Although this should be something that we avoid just as smart adults, it runs rampant in most organizations.  Everyone talking about each other behind their backs, telling the boss what he or she wants to hear, siding with one group or another and not being honest in communication and feedback.

So how do you manage to stay out of the fray of office politics and stay happy?  Here are some Cindy tips for you:

  1. If you are leader, create a culture where you cut off the "behind closed door" conversations that start with ‘oh, I am not going to say who said this.’  I tell anyone on my team to tell me or never say that again.  It is such BS to hide behind that statement. Speak up and speak out!
  2. If you don’t like something that someone is doing, tell them and then tell their boss you told them to stop!  When did you wake up and decide it is not your responsibility to help the company be better?  You get a paycheck from this organization don’t you?  
  3. Don’t ignore the gossip – get to the bottom of it.
  4. When someone comes in to ‘tattle’ on someone else, immediately call the other person into the office so the THREE of you can discuss the issue – this will stop false rumors.  
  5. Be sincere in your communication.  When giving feedback to someone be sincere in wanting to help them get better and don’t let this person blow off the feedback.
     
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When Will You Finally Get Things Done?

cindynovotnyComment

I am a firm believer in getting things done NOW!  I can’t understand how so many people simply can’t meet deadlines, be on time, and have an organized home and office while constantly living in chaos.  

What comes to mind when I see people who are always behind in tasks is the word “accountability.”  Of course accountability means different things to different people.   Some people are professional ‘dumpers,’ meaning they wait until the last minute to ask for help or even worse, they just ‘dump’ their to-do's on someone else.  

To be clear, ‘dumping’ is not delegating.  And ‘dumping’ will often backfire as the person you ask to do the task is not as committed to the outcome as the owner of the task.  

So let’s go back to the topic of getting things done and not passing the buck!  Here are some of my tips that allow me to live on the road, stay focused, meet my deadlines and still have a life.

  1. Eat the big frog first.  Get up in the morning and tackle the toughest tasks first – the hard call to that client, the uncomfortable meeting with an employee, the detailed proposal or even a simple conversation with someone in your personal life that is causing you issues (oh and by the way if you have never heard the term ‘eat the big frog first’) just imagine having to eat 5 frogs – would you really want to start with the small one and at the end swallow that big frog?  Start with the big one and all others go down easier!!!  Just sayin'!
  2. Stop complaining about ‘overload’.  If you are constantly complaining about being overwhelmed, overloaded or overworked it is YOUR problem and no one else’s.   What have you done to get yourself organized?  How do you plan your day?  How do you prioritize?   
  3. Stop being tired!  You signed up for this gig so stop complaining.  Get more sleep and take responsibility for your relationships
  4. Take a mental health day and get out of your own way!
  5. Want more out of your life?  Put more planning in to it.