Reflections and Resolutions: Building a Better Future, One Category at a Time

Image by Simon from Pixabay resolutions

Less than three weeks before the year draws to a close.

It’s a perfect time to reflect on the journey traveled and set the course for the year ahead.

I’ve found that breaking down my life into specific areas has helped me focus on what truly matters.

Here are the eight categories I use for my year-end review, and perhaps they can inspire you too:

  1. Faith: Reflect on your spiritual journey.

Have you nurtured your faith this year?

Whether through prayer, meditation, or community involvement, acknowledge the growth and set intentions for deepening your spiritual connection in the coming year.

  • Family/Friends: Relationships are the cornerstone of a fulfilling life.

Take stock of the time and effort you’ve invested in your family and friendships.

Consider ways to strengthen these bonds and create lasting memories together.

  • Wealth/Investing/Income: Assess your financial goals and achievements. Celebrate the wins, learn from the losses, and adjust your financial strategies accordingly. Whether it’s saving more, investing wisely, or exploring new income streams, aim for financial growth in the upcoming year.
  • Lifelong Learning/Books/Music: Learning is a lifelong journey.

Consider the books you’ve read, the new skills acquired, and the music that has inspired you.

Set ambitious yet achievable learning goals for the next year, be it picking up a new instrument, diving into a new genre of books, or exploring different forms of art.

  • Care of Self: Your well-being is paramount.

Reflect on how you’ve taken care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Identify areas for improvement and commit to self-care practices that promote a healthier, more balanced life.

  • Politics: Stay informed about the world around you.

Reflect on your engagement with politics and consider how you can contribute positively to your community.

This could be through volunteering, advocating for causes you believe in, or simply staying informed and participating in civic activities.

  • Fun & Optimistic Living/Writing: Life is meant to be enjoyed.

Take stock of the moments that brought joy and laughter.

Embrace a positive mindset and look for opportunities to infuse more fun into your daily life.

If you enjoy writing, consider journaling your experiences and thoughts as a way to preserve memories.

  • Daily Life Support – Must-Do Items: Sometimes, routine tasks can be overlooked, but they are the foundation of a well-organized life.

Reflect on the efficiency of your daily routines and adjust where needed.

Streamline tasks to create more time for the activities that truly matter.

As you work on this year-end review, remember that it’s not about perfection but progress.

Embrace the lessons of the past year and use them as stepping stones toward a more fulfilling and purposeful future.

Make 2024 your best year yet!

Thank you for reading this post.

Get started today.

Good luck next year!

Tips to Become & Remain a Lifelong Learner in 2023

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Many people graduate, leave school and stop learning.

They don’t read books and they get set in their ways and routines.

As an observer of people near and around me I have found this idea of not learning fascinating and hard to believe.

In essence, if you quit thinking about your education on graduation day how are you going to keep up with this wonderful world, we live in?

I believe that basically, no one quits learning. The learning process goes on every day.

We all get and buy new products and services and need to learn how they work to use them and function with them.

But that’s not real learning as I want to show in this article.

You may have loved school, but the thought of taking more classes or getting another degree seems daunting, especially with the demands of daily living.

To be a continuous or lifelong learner, there are many ways to gain knowledge, expand your skills, and add to your wisdom. You don’t have to drop everything and go full-time back to school.

There are many ways to add to your professional career and expand your own personal life knowledge.

Professional knowledge:

In today’s world, we can’t stand still. Many jobs are changing quickly, and may not even be the same job one or two years from now.

So, it is important to learn more on-the-job skills to move your career forward and become a more valuable employee.

Here are a few ideas:

  • If offered, go to training classes. Your employer may even pay for some that you find.
  • Go online and find related courses that are offered at low cost and sometimes even free.
  • Ask fellow employees for help. Ask what their advice would be to get and stay current on the job.
  • Ask your boss and coworkers for feedback. What else do you need to do or learn?
  • Learn to write and eventually publish a white paper or book on a subject you are knowledgeable about. Just learning and researching for you paper or book will increase your knowledge.

Personal knowledge:

Don’t forget to work on your personal knowledge base. Too many of us don’t expand our personal knowledge base and have to rely on others for help.

Don’t just relax in front of the television.

Use some of your leisure time for meaningful activities, Expand your personal knowledge base.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Read books about your personal and periodically put in a good fiction novel. Begin by setting a daily reading goal start easy with 5 pages per day.
  • Improve your vocabulary. Set a goal of learning one new word five days per week. Look for free apps that will provide you with a daily word.
  • Learn a foreign language. Start with a free app on your phone and practice a few words or lines daily. Being bilingual can help boost memory.
  • As you look for new things, thoughts, and ideas experiment with them. See if there is something worth your time to do and learn.
  • Find and start a new hobby. This can be rewarding and really expanding in your knowledge base and learning new things.

Start small and see if these ideas are good for you. If not think about other ideas that fit your world.

Are they fun to do as you are becoming a continuous and lifelong learner?

This is easy to say and most likely hard to get started.

Find a challenge that interests you both Professionally and Personally and get started.

Keep it simple but just start doing some deliberate learning every day. Measure your progress and watch yourself grow and change.

For more tips let me know at [email protected].

Thank you for reading this article.

To read and access my other posts and to have access to thousands of other posts, consider becoming a Medium member using this link.

Goal Setting – 95%+ People Do Not Write Their Goals

Image by Rosy – The world is worth thousands of pictures from Pixabay

3 Things need to be completed for 2023.

It is reported that 95+% of people going into a new year do not have written measurable goals.

We all have heard this bit of wisdom, yet we still do not have written goals.

Begin now to look toward goals for 2023.

Do these three things during December, and you will be part of the 5% of people who have written goals.

1. Set an appointment time with yourself, 30–60 minutes. Get a blank paper or a blank computer screen and begin writing your thoughts and ideas for accomplishment next year. This first attempt at goal setting doesn’t have to be neat — take time to think about and write your ideas, thoughts, and expectations for 2023. The first attempts are pretty messy and unorganized. Then put this information away for a few days (Be sure to put it in a place to easily find it).

2. Set another time with yourself for 30–60 minutes and get your first list and notes out. You will be surprised at the progress you will have already made toward thinking about and planning for next year. Review your first session, subtract, add, and modify your original list and notes.

3. Set a 3rd time with yourself near the end of December. Many people tell me they like doing this during the holiday season when not working and can really spend time thinking about wants and goals for next year. Make this list as neat and useable as you want. Put your list in place to retrieve it often. Do not be afraid to change, delete, or add goals; this is a work in progress, and it may never be complete.

Doing this every year and setting up a tracking system, and measuring progress ensures that you will see goals completed.

You will do and accomplish more.

Try for yourself and get into the 5% group of people who write and strive to achieve their goals.

Let me know if you would like a template and sample goal review. [email protected]

Thank you for reading this article.

To read and access my other posts and to have access to thousands of other posts, consider becoming a Medium member using this link.

Are you really results oriented?

Auth Unknown

Salespeople must be results oriented.

I read an article and do not remember the author’s name, but he said had a written statement on his desk “Results are the only excuse for activity.”

This statement would seem to be crystal clear, but few people are committed to a results-oriented lifestyle and I have seen salespeople over and over again who are not results-oriented. 

Many people are satisfied with their activity and best effort, they do not work toward real results.

To stay results-oriented ask yourself this question, “What am I really trying to accomplish?”

Far too many people talk about how hard they work, how many hours they spend working, how many miles they travel, and how hard the job is, and they expect appreciation and reward for this activity, regardless of the outcome.

These same people rarely talk about what the objectives of their efforts need to be. They never really talk about what results are expected.

I have witnessed salespeople do everything they can do except selling.

For sure, there is a lot of activity.

They work on lists of potential customers, go throughout the organization reviewing current customer orders, do paperwork such as daily planners, expense reports, etc., etc.

In the sales world, this is known as non-selling, non-pay time activities.

Salespeople need to understand that the only benefit of activity is to find a way for the desired result of sales and selling and getting more orders.

Activities that are important for creating sales must be completed every day.

Every day a salesperson needs to ask the question,

“What am I really trying to do today?”

The job of a salesperson is easy to describe. The number one priority of every salesperson is bringing in sales.

Strive every day to figure out how nonessential activity is being substituted for results.

Learn how to identify behaviors that need to be completed every day to produce sales.

Stop wasting time on nonessential activities.

Truly successful salespeople figure their numbers out and create daily habits to be sure that the habits are performed.

I am creating a white paper that describes the daily required habits of salespeople to perform their job.

Many companies do not have training on what a salesperson should do daily to be successful.

Thank you for reading this article. If you would like more information on what a salesperson should do daily — Let me know.

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Bottom Line, how many times should you call on a prospect

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As many as it takes to find out if they can use your product, or if they can’t or won’t.

Then move on!

How many times should you call a prospect?

It has been reported that:

48% of salespeople do not make a follow-up call and 44% of salespeople do not make a second follow-up call.

Given that 93% of executives pick up on the third attempt, it’s important to follow up at least twice.

Only 8% of salespeople go in and ask for an order a fifth time or more.

After 35+ years of selling and owning my own business, I can attest to these numbers from both sides as a salesperson and company owner. 

Are prospects “AWARE” of you?

As a salesperson, I knew that there were customers needing my product. However, I quickly found that timing was crucial. 

After a year or so of walking out too soon, and not going back, I learned that timing and staying in touch were everything. 

Maybe the customer wasn’t thinking of buying my products that day, maybe the budget wasn’t set, maybe, maybe, maybe. 

I had to keep talking with them until I received an ultimate “NO NEED EVER – GET OUT AND STAY OUT!”, — or — an Order!

As the owner of my own business for more than 15 years, I had countless salespeople call only once and never call back. 

I believe from experience that the above statistic of quitting after the first call is not correct, the number is much higher than 44%. 

let’s go with the above. 

If only 8% of salespeople call more than 5 times on a prospect — it is no wonder, why this 8% get 80% of the business.

If you are certain a customer needs your product — You need to be hovering and creating some form of non-confrontational awareness to that customer. 

I have had prospects wanting me to contact once per week, once per month, others, once per quarter, Etc. 

Always try and find an approach that keeps you in the “Awareness” zone.  Not pestering, no whining, not in the way. 

Learn this and your sales will soar. 

Thank you for reading this article. Let me know your thoughts.

What makes a good salesperson?

I believe there are 7 traits of a good salesperson:

1. They have a sense of learning about and caring for the customer. They help the customer decide if their product solves a problem or makes their life and company better. They demonstrate why the customer should believe in them and, in turn, buy from them. Many salespeople care only about the sale.

2. They have good listening skills. Most of us wait during a conversation to tell our next story and do not listen to the person speaking. A good salesperson listens and tries to determine the real need of the customer.

3. They are persistent and keep coming back. Too often, salespeople are one-and-done; they make one call on a prospect and never come back.

4. Above all they are honest. If their product doesn’t fit the customer, they acknowledge it and stop selling that customer. But good salespeople always ask for a referral.

5. They are confident in the product they are selling. There is no quicker way to lose a sale than not being very confident and comfortable with the product or the company the salesperson is working for.

6. Good salespeople are diligent and focused on their profession. They perform the daily behaviors that will produce results. They never waiver from the goals to find more customers and sell more products.

7. Today customers can find out about a product through an internet search. I believe salespeople must provide more insight into total market conditions around them and the customer than in the past. They need to be aware of current events and conditions and know the impact of today’s environment. They bring a more holistic view to the customer.

Finding and being a good salesperson is sometimes hard to do. A good salesperson understands and assists customers.

What are your thoughts to add or maybe even subtract from this list?

Can Banjo and/or Guitar be learned later in life?

Can Banjo and Guitar be learned later in life?

Yes, it can be learned.

The problem when learning at almost any age, especially later in life, is that we compare ourselves to the best of the best.

· I want to play banjo like Earl Scruggs, but it isn’t going to happen.

· I want to play lead guitar and be in a famous band, but it isn’t going to happen.

For years I have been a closet player. I would not play in front of people.

I played many songs, but as I now know, I was not playing them well. I certainly was not playing with good timing.

Several years ago, I decided to take a 6-week course in Bluegrass jamming. There were about six adult learners that signed up and showed up for the class. It was a real eye-opener.

We all were in the same boat, adults who never played in front of or with others. It was a tough inner fight to go to the class, stay at the class, and show up for the rest of the classes. I am glad I did. One lady never returned after the first class.

Later as the classes progressed, the instructor said it was interesting to watch us the first couple of sessions. Some people had to be reminded to breathe. That was me for sure.

As we progressed, it became easier. I even led one song and sang a couple of bars. I won a prize for stepping out of my comfort zone.

After the six weeks were complete and we graduated, I felt as though I was ready to go out and jam. The problem was that there were few places to go. I live in Texas, not a lot of Bluegrass jamming going on.

Over the past several years, I have noticed an interest growing in Bluegrass music. I have heard of several jamming groups but never attended.

Recently I moved to a new community; they have a Bluegrass band that plays within the community. They have weekend driveway gigs periodically, and I have met several members of the band. I was invited to jam with a couple of members of the group.

Wow! Even though I had gone to and graduated from a jam class, I was not prepared for this, but I thought I was.

They were very supportive people; they had all been beginners at some point. I had learned only the basics of jamming etiquette. I was still not prepared to jam and stay on time with others, but I was learning. I now attend weekly jam sessions with two of the band players. 

I have attended an actual jam session at the county courthouse.

This jam session was an awakening for me. The group meets on the steps of the courthouse every Saturday morning, weather permitting. At my first visit, about 15 musicians showed up, 6 or 7 guitar players, three fiddle players, a dobro, and several other instruments, all there to play bluegrass music.

I was the only banjo that day. I again had trouble breathing but stayed to see how their jam worked. We were in a large circle, some people standing some sitting. I had a stool and sat.

As we progressed around the circle, each person turned to suggest a song for the group to play. I told them, Cripple Creek. I could barely get the melody out of my banjo, but I made it through my first song.

Everyone, there was accommodating and had good words for my continued playing with the group.

I watched and listened and tried to keep my banjo in time with each song I heard. There were many songs I did not know, and I had to sit there and not play. I found this the same problem for other players; I wasn’t the only one.

I went back the next week and got through two songs, not my best playing but better each time. This group with varying members has been playing at this venue for over thirty years.

If you are an alone player or closet player, I highly recommend finding others to play along with and jam. Having internet access to songs and practicing along is good but getting out with real people is the way to learn and advance.

I have also restarted the guitar. I played in high school many years ago. I plan to take my guitar to jam sessions soon.

I am now in my early 70s and can’t wait to go to my next jam session.

Do you have a later-life learning experience to share?

Do you have a system to record Life experiences?

“Life is a collection of experiences, people met, and books read” – according to Jim Rohn

Have you heard of and followed the extraordinary life and business philosopher, Jim Rohn? 

I have read his books, articles, listened to tapes, and attended his seminars. 

One article captured my attention and prompted a change in my behavior many years ago.  

Jim Rohn talked about the habit of writing down daily life experiences. He described his early journaling as a process of continuously writing things down all day long so that he wouldn’t forget the thought of the moment. 

He wrote on scraps of paper, napkins, post notes, anything he could find. Then he put them in a drawer. He then described having a drawer full of information that was not neat and was hard to organize.

We all want to remember and save ideas of the moment. Many of us either forget the idea later, or like Jim Rohn, we have a great collection of paper scraps with notes.  That was me.

Jim Rohn changed and thought it best to journal, in a sense, all day long. He started keeping a notebook at his side to jot down notes and thoughts of the moment.

I decided this was something worthwhile and started carrying a notebook with a daily date and began writing whatever thoughts I had that seemed essential to keep. Some days hardly anything. Some days I filled two pages. 

My books are messy and not organized, but I have a chronological method of getting experiences on paper. Generally, each month I go back through the past one or two months looking for ideas’ thoughts, or things that still seem significant.

I talk to people who want to start journaling but don’t know-how. This method has been working well for me. I have taught it to others.

I have books of my life experiences, and I attest to it –“Life is a collection of experiences, people met, and books read.”

Start keeping a daily running book of life, and you will be astonished at how you and your life can be changed and influenced.

Make 2022 your best year yet!

Let me know your thoughts.

What trait makes a good salesman; Ingenuity, Persistence, Never stopping?

Some years ago, I had possibly the best Receptionist/Gatekeeper in business; she understood and could stop nonessential salespeople from getting through. One day our Receptionist/Gatekeeper brought me a package. It had been hand-delivered.

In the package was a T-Shirt from my alma mater — — Indiana Institute of Technology, and a note from the salesman requesting an appointment and comment that he hoped I appreciated his effort to get my school T-shirt. He said he would call in a few days.

I graduated from IIT in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, the idea that this salesman had gone to the trouble to get me the shirt was unique, and I liked his style.

At that time, I instructed our receptionist/gatekeeper that I was impressed by this salesperson and would take the call. After researching his company, I was pretty sure I would not need his services.

However, I would listen to him and then, if possible, direct him to a referral.

He never called!

I thought this salesman had ingenuity, the quality of being clever, original, and inventive.

How many times have you had seemingly good salespeople not follow up? Good selling or bad selling?