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The Psychology Of Productivity with Penny Zenker
I am excited for another show here with you. I have a beautiful young lady in the studio with me. Penny Zenker is here with us and she’s going to share her knowledge and her expertise with us. She is an international speaker, a business strategy coach and best-selling author. Before her 31st birthday, Penny founded, developed and sold her first multimillion-dollar business. Later, she managed business unit turnarounds and was a Tony Robbins business coach. She is one of America’s leading experts in the psychology of productivity to eliminate distractions, perfectionism and self-sabotage to maximize results in every area of your life.
Over the past two decades, she has coached thousands of entrepreneurs, executives and business leaders to do the same. Penny’s book, The Productivity Zone, was an instant Amazon bestseller and her TEDx, The Energy of Thought, has gained attention around the world. Her engaging, inspiring and interactive talks teach people to think and act more strategically. She has been featured on NBC News, Forbes, Inc., ESPN, and Wharton Business Radio among others. Welcome, Penny, to the show.
Thank you. I’m excited to be here.
You’ve done a lot and I see that before your 31st first birthday, you develop and sold your first multimillion-dollar business. Tell us about that experience. How did you manage to do that before the age of 30?
It wasn’t exactly planned like that. I consider myself very fortunate. I did work for it but I think it’s also the right timing and right place of the time period. I graduated with an accounting and finance major. It wasn’t my intention at that time to found and grow a technology company, but it was my favorite class in college. I loved technology. I loved it because it enabled us to do things more efficiently and effectively and to automate things that we didn’t love to do so that we do other things that we loved to do. It just turned into me loving that and having an opportunity to go out on my own. I was working for Arthur Andersen at the time. I was providing some consultancy with them and I just had this guy across the table from me. He was a contractor and he was making $200 an hour and I was making $30 an hour. I’m like, “What?” At first, I was putting myself down, “I can’t do that because I don’t have the education for that. I wasn’t an IT major. I don’t have the skills and I don’t have the credibility.” We put ourselves down. Then after a while, I’m managing this guy. I’m like, “What am I doing? If he can do it, I can do it.”Sometimes, you can do all the right things at the wrong time. You've got lessons to learn first before you break through it. Click To Tweet
That was the spur to me to say, “I’m going start my own business and do this and be paid accordingly for it.” That’s what I did and I was fortunate that I started out with some awesome clients that referred me to some other clients that then referred me and gave me opportunities in other areas. I took every opportunity that I could and I did work my butt off. I learned so many lessons about how not to do things by burning myself out and burning everyone else out on my team. Unfortunately, I learned it the hard way and I didn’t have mentors and best practices to follow but through all that hard work, I was fortunate enough.
I was in Zürich, Switzerland at the time where I was building this company and technology was booming and that’s what I mean by a little luck and the right time. Sometimes you can do all the right things but it’s not your time. You’ve got lessons to learn first before you break through it. I was approached by two companies that wanted to purchase my technology company and have exposure in Switzerland. This was a French company and they wanted to be representative all around Europe. I took the opportunity especially because it was killing me. By all intents and purposes, people could look at me and say, “You’re super successful you’re making all this money and things are great.” They weren’t. I was stressed out and out of balance. I thought that by selling the company, I would also be able to somehow gain balance.
Do you consider the success of the company your biggest success or selling the company?
It might have been premature. It might have been an avoidance of dealing with the problems and the lack of skills that I had in certain areas and leadership skills. Building the company was one of my greatest accomplishments. I would say that some of the greatest accomplishments that I’ve had were getting back up and starting over again. I started as a public speaker and I started over again. That was my biggest accomplishment because it’s very humbling to start over. It’s not always in our great times that we have our most successful moments, it’s in some of our lowest times.
When you talk about building a company, this is one of the most taunting ordeals that someone can take on. A lot of people have dreamed of owning multimillion-dollar companies and even starting not a multimillion-dollar company but just a successful profitable business but a lot of people don’t do it because of that fact. They feel that they’re going to fail or perhaps they have failed in the past. Now that you have gone through that and you’ve had to get back up into all of those things. You had some success and sold a business. What do you say to that person who may be on the fence about starting their business?
There’s one more reason and that’s what I experience. What if you had super success last time? The expectations are super high. It’s like, “How am I going to meet to that same level?” There’s also that fear of success and fear of judgment and all of those types of things. Coming back to what you said, some of our greatest growth and our greatest moments are when we challenge ourselves. We know that we’re afraid of doing it but we do it anyway. We wade in through and protect ourselves a little bit but we keep going. Those are the moments. That’s one of the things that I found out lately about myself. I’m in love with the human spirit. The part of the human spirit that I’m in love with. It’s those people they dared to do. If somebody tells you, “You’re never going to walk again.” You say, “I’m going to walk again.” That is what I love. We’ve got so much passion and so much courage that we’re capable of when we put one foot in front of the other. All you need to do is put one foot in front of the other.
You don’t have to compare yourself to the best in the industry. You’re just starting out so you don’t have to set unrealistic expectations. Just do the very next thing and then you find that you are doing the next thing after that and one step after the other. It’s as if you’re climbing a giant wall like a rock climbing. The worst thing that you can do is stay focused on the top. That’s scary. They’ll tell you that you’re just looking for your next footing. You’re looking for the next place that you’re going to put your hand and how you’re going to lift yourself up with your legs. You’ve got a couple of techniques. Use your legs. Find that next place and then boost yourself up. Find the next place and then before you know it, you’re at the top.
Even when I’m doing my talks, I talk about igniting the small accomplishments and that’s what you are talking about. Whenever we’re on a journey whether it’s building a business or learning how to walk again, we sometimes focus too much on the destination. We focus on destination B or destination Z. We dismiss those steps in between and that’s one of the biggest mistakes. Without that next place, that next step and that next moment, you can’t get to Z. You can’t even move up the top or dead center. When we ignite the smaller accomplishments and following up with the very next step. The small things we have to do that adds up to the bigger picture. I feel like that is a major advantage of conquering any challenge, reaching any goal and experiencing success at a high level. The secret is understanding how to navigate the process.
When you’re goal-setting, it’s set it and forget it. You have to set it and you need to know where you’re going and then you need to forget it and focus on the process. What’s the next thing?
You talk about the human spirit. One thing I love about challenges is it challenges the human spirit and a lot of people are afraid of that. I don’t purposely put myself in challenges and very compromising situations. I found myself in some very huge and very challenging type of situations. What I found is every time I get over that, when I come out of it and if I don’t give up, I will eventually come out of it. When I do, I’m so much better than I was before the challenge. If I avoid that challenge or I put it off, I’m limiting myself. I’m hindering my own growth. Whenever that challenge comes up, I don’t even view it as a challenge. I advocate for the audience to not view it as a challenge, but more so an opportunity. We don’t do that as a society. Every time a challenge comes up it’s like, “Here we go again.” If a resistance shows up and it’s like, “I’m the champion and I’m going to kick your butt.” We settle for that. What are your thoughts with that?It's not always in our great times that we have our most successful moments. It’s in some of our lowest times. Click To Tweet
Resistance only holds us back from our best self. If we can just shift that as soon as we feel the resistance, then we can go, “No, I’m going to embrace this.” Just shift it around and embrace it. It’s because we fear the greatness within ourselves. Marianne Williamson said that our greatest fear is who we can become. It’s the greatness inside of us and that greatness scares us a little bit. Growth equals happiness. Look back at you learning to walk. Don’t you have amazing pride for yourself in what you accomplished? I had a difficult divorce and my father passed away when I was young from an accident. Coming out of it and how I persevered through it and even if there were some bumps along the way, there’s a great pride at the end of that of how I showed up eventually. Either from the start, I eventually got my head straight and got to the right place and that’s happiness. Growth is happiness. We can look at that and we would embrace any adventure and challenge that comes our way and go, “I got this.”
It takes a shift in the mindset. When challenges come up, we climb onto a rock or we revert from tackling those things. I was listening to an audio and they were talking about a lion and how the lion is the king of the jungle. The lion is not the biggest animal. It’s not the smartest animal. It’s not the fastest animal in the jungle, but everything in the jungle recognizes and acknowledges the lion as the king. What makes that happen? I believe that here on Earth, we as human beings, we have dominion on Earth. When challenges come, we don’t act like we have dominion. We don’t conquer those challenges. What’s the difference? I was listening to an audio and the person said that the reason why the lion is the lion and everyone recognizes him as the lion is because of the way it thinks. He says, “If a lion was to approach or see an elephant which is a lot heavier and stronger than the lion, it’s the way he thinks about that elephant is what makes a difference.” When he sees the elephant, he’s thinking of lunch. Then he took it and he said, “Watch this.” The elephant on the other hand even though it’s bigger and stronger, the reason he was not recognized as being bigger and stronger is because of the way it thinks. He said, “How does it think?” When it sees the lion, it sees a threat.
If we could change our mindset towards the challenges and obstacles that come up, it gives us so much power to overcome. I believe that any challenge that shows up in your life is an opportunity for you to get better whether it was caused by you or some external environment. Whatever it is, it’s always an opportunity for me to get better. When they do show up, it’s like, “Here is an opportunity. What do I do with it?” It’s a great time for a self-assessment to see where you are and what are some weaknesses. What are some opportunities where you can improve? You’re talking about eliminating distractions and perfectionism and self-sabotage. How did those things play a role in someone being successful?
Let’s talk about self-sabotage because it’s exactly what you’re saying about the thinking. Self-sabotage is in the thinking. The first thing about it is that we’re unconscious of what we’re thinking. We’re just going about and we don’t know. All of these reactive behaviors come out and we don’t even realize that we’re doing them. The first thing is to get clear and start recognizing what the energy of your thought is and that’s my thing. It’s to recognize what are you feeling first inside. You can recognize if you’re feeling frustrated or angry or sad or hurt. All of those mean that you’ve given whatever’s happening to you whatever just triggered that, you’re giving it a certain meaning. The lion is looking at the elephant and the elephant walked up. He gives it meaning. He says, “I’m going to give it meaning that it’s lunch,” and that comes from our thoughts. “I’m going to give it a meaning that I’m scared and he’s bigger than me.” That’s what self-sabotage is. We’re not conscious of our thoughts and when we’re not conscious, we put ourselves into victim mode because we’re not able to make a conscious choice. If we want to take back our power, then we have to be conscious of that question that we ask ourselves every moment. We ask ourselves, “What does this mean?” It’s one of those unconscious things just happens, “What does this mean?’ If somebody cuts you off in traffic, what does this mean? It’s what comes next. If you’re aware like, “I’m feeling something. What meaning did I give it?”
The coolest tool that I ever learned and I do this inherently but somebody told me this is a tool. I’m like, “No wonder. I do this.” That’s been huge for me to create success and to make me be happier in my life. I’m convinced of it is I ask it again, “What else could this mean?” I open up new perspectives so that I can choose what I want this to mean. If somebody that I’m dating gives me a negative tone, does that mean that he doesn’t love me or could it mean he had a bad day? It could mean a number of different things and now I get to choose. My response and my reaction is completely a result of what meaning I give it. They can be the difference of me getting a positive outcome and a productive outcome. I use words productive or unproductive outcome. It could turn into a fight or it could turn into a greater opportunity to connect.
What do you do to get to that place of self-awareness? What is the practice that you use to get to that place?
Be aware of your emotions. If you have something that happened and you get angry, that’s a trigger. That’s telling you what meaning did you give it because you got angry or you got sad or you got uncomfortable or you got frustrated. Every time an unproductive emotion comes up, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t feel it but you recognize it and you accept it, “I’m feeling angry.” You can say, “What meaning did I give this?” and ask, “What else could it mean?” It enables you to let go of the initial meaning that you gave it. It is practice. It’s like, “I feel something. What meaning did I give it? What else does this mean?”
Let’s talk about the psychology of productivity. You are an expert in the psychology of productivity. First of all, for those in the audience and don’t even know what that means, can you break that down? What is the psychology of productivity?
Emotional intelligence is the psychology of productivity. Emotional intelligence is simply being aware of what our emotions are and being able to maintain perspective. There’s a difference between being emotional and responding emotionally versus responding intentionally. That’s how I define it and there are a couple of pieces that we can use to tweak it to our physiology and understanding our feelings is one of them. Our self-talk and hearing those words that we use. They have energy and they can tell us whether we’re frustrated or angry or the tone. Other people can feel it. We pretend that they can’t but they can feel it. If we’re frustrated and somebody says, “Are you okay?” It’s because they feel that energy. Even though you think you’re not admitting it or maybe you don’t even recognize it in yourself, someone else is recognizing it. The two other areas are our purpose in being connected to why something is important and what’s important to us.
I talk a lot about these different drivers in my book. The biggest one here is that in the moment, we have a choice to focus on the problem or to focus on the solutions. This is emotional intelligence to me. If I focus on the problem and I look this way, then I can’t see anything outside of my periphery where the solution lies. I’m only seeing the problem and the problem gets bigger. The more I look at it, the more I talk about it, the more I see it, the more animated I get about it, the bigger the problem gets. The more difficult it is for me to find a solution for it. They’re both there at the same time. If I just shift and I look more focused at the solution and I see the solution and I look for solutions, then I’m more likely to find a solution. That in itself is just making a choice as to where to direct your energy and your thoughts and making it a choice and then your outcome will shift.Resistance only holds us back from our best self. Click To Tweet
I can tell you that I made it through a divorce in a positive way because of the meaning I gave it and which side I chose to look at. I can look at all he did me wrong and all of this and play the blame game but that doesn’t benefit anybody. Everybody loses. It’s a lose-lose situation. It’s a lose for my kids and lose for me because it’s a lot of negative energy. I choose to focus on how can we make this work the best possible so that the kids are in the best place that I’m feeling good about myself. We’ve got kids together. We’ve got to have a future relationship where we’re best friends but how do we set ourselves up for success? I’m proud of myself in the way that I handled it because I chose to focus on that side. More people should and can bring themselves to that realization that the other is just a lose-lose scenario.
That says a lot about you because as a person and as a leader, that’s what it takes sometimes to set the tone for whatever situation there may be at hand. Something like that can get out of hand where there’s nothing but conflict. When you can start focusing on the positive, you’ll find that that person is diffused. They’re disarmed. They’re discharged. The triggers that used to get you going don’t get you going anymore because that’s not where your focus is. Then you can start to be more productive which leads me to another question in your work. There’s this thing called the productivity zone. Being in the productivity zone and the things that keep us out of the productivity zone. What are those things? How can we be more productive utilizing emotional intelligence and sustain ourselves in that productivity zone?
If you imagine a bell curve and not just the picture of the bell curve and not the statistical. In the center is where the productivity zone lies. It’s like a big football goal that when you kick a field goal, it can go anywhere in there. It can even hit the pole and bounce off and goes in and you score. It’s not a tiny little point. It’s a big space and inside of the zone, it has ten drivers that are split across our mindset also strategies and then making it sustainable so that we see the big picture. Sometimes we do something and we get a blip of success but we can’t keep it sustainably and that’s not what we want either. That’s not productive. In the center, the axis is efficient and effective.
When we’re in the zone, we’re both efficient and effective because a lot of people think of productivity as speed. I just want to be faster. I want to be the fastest consultant. I want to do things faster than anyone else. A lot of times, there’s a consequence of doing things fast. There are mistakes. There are missed opportunities. There are a lot of things that can happen when you do things too fast. Also, if you are effective or slow at it, you can totally miss the market. You can overanalyze and over-function to the point where you also missed opportunities and both of those are where our emotional intelligence is off.
I have two words for them just to keep it simple. You’re either in the zone and that’s productive energy or out of the zone, which is unproductive energy. It’s either procrastination or perfectionism because you’re over-functioning when you’re in perfectionism. You’re perfecting it unnecessarily or you’re in some form of apathy, putting it off, not doing it and avoiding it. When we can look at it in a different way, that new perspective may open up some greater awareness because it’s hard to evaluate ourselves. Pointing the finger at ourselves and saying we’re not good at this or this is where we are is hard. That’s why I created a framework so that it takes some of the emotion out of it. Then we’re just looking as to wherever you are is fine and we float in and out of different spaces.
A lot of perfectionists, sometimes their standards are so high for themselves and for others that they end up procrastinating. It’s a cycle and it’s just to show us that when we fall out of the zone, here are the ten things we can do to get back in the zone and what we can do to help us keep in the zone longer. We’re human. Let’s be forgiving of ourselves. We are human we are not going to be in the zone 100% of the time. That is also not necessarily the objective to be inhuman because then we’d be on the other side. People who are obsessed with productivity, they’re obsessive and then they’re perfectionists.
Is this the brother or sister of the peak performance? Are we talking about the same thing here or are these two different things? What you’re saying is if I can strike the balance between perfectionism and self-sabotage, then I can be my most productive self.
That’s peak performance. You’re either in your most productive self and you’re performing at your peak. It could be also as a team. It’s about performance. It’s about success factors in anything that we do.
Let’s talk about leaders. They may be leading a team that has maybe a mix of a perfectionist and self-sabotaging individuals. How do we strike that balance even as a team and individually? This is a struggle for all of us. We’re talking about game changers. They are the people that want to make a difference. This is a struggle for all of us in our day-to-day business, jobs or whatever it is that we do. How do we strike that balance?
One of the things that we strike a balance with is something that most people don’t like. It’s putting rules and boundaries and structures in place. We don’t like that because it makes us feel less free but the truth is structure sets us free. More planning will help us so that we don’t overdo it or underdo it. We need some of that structure and we need planning. That plan or a specific process is like a checklist of the process that needs to be done so that you don’t need to do things that aren’t on the checklist. You’ll know these are the things that need to get done and in that timeframe and that’s going to help the procrastinator when it’s broken down into little pieces.Wherever you are is fine; we float in and out of different spaces. Click To Tweet
It’s easier for them to do the steps because then they’ll just focus on the next thing. Putting those structures in place are supportive that perfectionist can know what’s good enough and by having an ability then to check in with yourself and say, “Is this good enough? Did I meet the objectives of this and so forth? It’s some of that structure. People don’t like the time block and to schedule their priorities in their calendar and also give a timeframe to it and say, “I’m going to accomplish this in this period of time.” Let your brain figure out the best way to do that. They don’t like that structure so then they’ll procrastinate and not do it.
Do we remove the flexibility out of the structure? I could take this a couple of ways and I know maybe some people may say, “Then I have to live a rigid life and there’s no room for flexibility.” How do we incorporate real world where life happens and things happen and incorporate structure?
In the military, they’ve got a lot of structure but when it comes to war, they do what they can. Those structures support them in terms of how to communicate. In a stressful situation, they’ve got some training to fall back on. They know that this is the best way to communicate so that everybody knows that they don’t have a friendly fire for instance and you’re not firing into your own people. They’ve got to check in as to where they are so that somebody is managing and saying, “Don’t fire. That’s a friendly source.” Having not trained that and put that process in place and when stressful times come, then it’s not going to turn out in a good way.
There’s a lot of flexibility to that because not everything is going to happen as it was according to plan so you do the best you can to follow it as it makes sense. That’s the same thing. I may have a plan going in just to do a speaking engagement but as there are some discussion and dynamic in the group, I drop some of the things that I was going to talk about and I shift the plan. The other thing is to be flexible means to take a step back at regular intervals and to check in. I’m saying that in a way that it might be a split second that we do that and say, “Is the plan still valid or do I need to go to plan B or do I need to wing this? Do I need to go with my intuition and change this?”
When we prioritize things and having a list of priorities, you can say that that’s too structured, but it’s helping us to align our tasks and our goals but our goals may change. Our priorities may change on a regular basis and I know that mine too. They change daily so I check in every day and I say, “Where am I?” I don’t beat myself up if something became more of a priority and I didn’t do something else. That’s fine. I accept that and then I just move on and I move that to its appropriate place. The hard part is communicating that to other people. I know organizations have a hard time sometimes for the whole team to understand the nature of changing priorities and that’s simply because there’s a lack of communication. That’s a form of structure. They’re missing some structured communication that will help people to understand why those priorities are changing and give them just a little bit more context to it.
I put that responsibility on the leadership of the organization. If you think about a football team, they made a line up at the line. They’re coming out of the huddle and they’ve agreed to the play that they’re going to call. The quarterback who’s the leader of the team may say something like, “This is not going to be a successful play or I see an opportunity.” They call an audible but the key to call an audible is not the execution of the audible itself, it’s the communication. It’s making sure everyone understands that like, “I know this is what we said over here but this is the play that we’re going to run.” Communication lies on the shoulders of leadership to make sure that it is filtered down. As you were talking, something that came to me is a concept that I received from a mentor and a good friend of mine as well. He talked about context. He drew a picture of a cup to bring this concept home. If you can imagine a cup, the cup is your structure. The cup can represent your relationship, your organization or your team, your business. It can represent your life. What goes into this cup is whatever you want to put in it.
A lot of times we’re busy putting stuff in our cup. It may be money or it may be fame. It could be a contribution, it could be love and appreciation and it could be a value. It can be whatever you want. What happens is we don’t get full all of those things because there are leaks in the cup. What I’m saying is there could be leaks in the structure. The very thing that you’re trying to hold up is just leaking so when you pour these things into it, you don’t have any sustainability because the more you pour in, it just leaks out. It’s identifying those leaks or those cracks or those places where what you’re putting in is blowing out and plugging those in. It could be being on time. It could be communicating. It could be your emotional intelligence and the way that you look at challenges. It can be any number of those things but what’s important is identifying where those leaks are to maintain and sustain that structure. I found that that concept for me has been tremendous in my growth and the things that I’ve been able to accomplish in life because it gives me a picture. A lot of people don’t like structure because they feel that it imprisons them but in all reality, it frees you. It sets you free.
It does and I know who your mentor is for that. I’ve also heard him talk about that. You can look at the structure as a container. It’s a support system for you to get what it is that you intend. The rules and boundaries and structures are there to support, otherwise we veer off. We have those leaks. We veer off where we want to go because we get pulled in so many different directions now more than ever. That’s why one of the things that I help people identify first is what’s keeping them. Not what are the skills to achieve what you want, but what’s in your way. A lot of times we know what to do but we’re just not doing it. In my bio, you talked about distractions. I want to invite people to find out more about their distractions and I’ll give you a place to do that. It’s a container to support you to get what you want and where you’re going and get there faster.
I’m sure the things that you are offering as a service to people are things that can help them get back. You talked about veering off and people veer off all the time. A lot of times they don’t have structure so when they veer off, it’s nothing abnormal because they weren’t in line with the structure in the first place. What I find is when you do have a structure, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to veer off. You probably will veer off but the thing about it is you won’t get lost out there. You have some to come back to and your work and the tools that you offer is just that. It’s the things that you can come back to get a real baseline and get back into that structure.
We’re human. We’re going to fall out of the zone. We’re going to fall off to the side and out of it. It’s having those structures to be able to get back into it faster. It’s harder when you don’t have any rules, any structure, any support systems. It’s harder to get back on track.Communication lies on the shoulders of leadership. Click To Tweet
I’m hoping that the audience is wanting to reach out to you to get those tools, strategies and concepts so that they can place them in their lives. I believe that having these things will allow you to accomplish more to be more and it can be a guide. The reason why a lot of us don’t accomplish what we want is because we’re out there without anything guiding us. It can be the difference between winning and not winning and starting and not starting. It’s a game-changer mentality to understand that. If someone has done this before and they travel that path, I don’t have to take this path not knowing what’s on the journey, but have someone there that can help. Have someone there that understands what it takes to travel this path whether it leads to success, relationships, corporations, teams and being a leader. Having someone like you in their corner to provide those tools is just tremendous. If someone is listening and they want to reach out to you and they want to connect with you and find out what it is more about what it is that you do, how can they reach you?
They can go to my website and I have an app that supports this whole process of bringing you back and conditioning this stuff because it’s thinking and acting more strategically. They can go to P10App.com and they can find there some information about distraction. They can get access to this assessment in an ongoing app tool that they can help and support them to be that structure. They could also go to DistractionQuiz.com, which is another place that will give them some real insight as to where they’re currently being distracted. They get to find out whether they are a time zombie or what their profile is. In a fun way, find out what their profile is and take a deeper look as to what’s holding them back. Those are two ways to get ahold of me.
Thank you. I appreciate that we saved the best for last because we haven’t talked about distractions. I want to take the time now to talk about that. There are a lot of people with good intentions, however we don’t meet them or we don’t fulfill the purpose or the intent because of distractions. What are a couple of quick tips that you can give us on how to eliminate the distractions out of our lives?
The first one is you have to be aware of it. If you’re not aware and we are 99% unconscious about the things that we think and the things that we do, we just do them. It’s now creating some consciousness around it. If you’re going on a diet, they’re going to tell you to track your food and to take a look at what you’re drinking and what you’re eating. For some ways, you’re going to be surprised. If you were in a sales process, they’re going to track the sales process so that you know each stage. When you move each client to each stage and where they’re falling off. The only way to improve something is to see what’s happening and to not say, “I think it’s this.” It’s to collect the real data of what’s happening because we have a gap in what’s happening and what our perception is happening. We’ve got to take real data. I take people on a distraction tracker to track their time to see where they’re spending it specifically and also what is distracting them.
The second thing is to understand that there are three different areas of where we’re distracted. The more specific we can get, the better we can find solutions for it. We are distracted environmentally of things in our environment. The “I’ve got a minute meeting,” that takes more than a minute, our phones and all the different things that are going on in our environment. Physically, we get distracted. We’re hungry and we’re thirsty. Our back hurts and the way that we’re sitting. There are lots of different things that can go on with us and distract us physically. The biggest one is our emotional distractions and our mental distractions. We had an argument with somebody beforehand and we’re still pissed off about it. All sorts of things that we’re carrying on. We are afraid of something and all this stuff runs in the background that makes us more easily distracted. It’s checking in and controlling our environment. Taking a look at what you can do in your environment to make it more productive for yourself. How can you let stuff go quicker or compartmentalize easier so that you can focus on the task at hand? It might be using a timer.
Timers are super effective. Using something like Brain.fm, which is music that is geared towards helping you to focus. Scientifically, they’ve come up with certain neuro beats that will trigger certain parts in your brain to be more focused. There are different types of tools and things like that. David Allen of Getting Things Done says, “Get it out on paper.” Things can distract us because they’re in our head. By having lists, it can help you to be able to compartmentalize and put all those things down and know that you’ll come back to it, but freeing your mind at the moment while you’re doing something. Those are just a couple of quick tips.
Thank you for that. I want to take it further because I know this is an assessment that can be done by oneself. It’s a self-assessment. I want to push the game-changers to do an assessment with someone because sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know and get together with people and do it together. You may find that there are some things that are distracting you that you maybe weren’t aware of. When you talk about self-awareness, it is the cornerstone of success. It is the cornerstone of accomplishing anything that you want whether it is an emotional success, financial success, and physical success. Sometimes when you are doing that self-assessment, you need the feedback. You need to solicit the opinions of people that you can trust that’s going to give you an open and honest opinion.
You could have blind spots. When you’re not aware of those blind spots, they could be eating your lunch and you’re not even aware of it. Understand what your blind spots are and create a space for you to succeed. That’s what you’re talking about here. I love that you hit those pillars, mental, physical, environmental and emotional. Understanding those pillars and making sure that you are aware of what’s going on in those areas can make a difference for you. This has been wonderful. I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your knowledge with us. This has been tremendously helpful at least for me and I know the audience loves this. This is a game-changer. Thank you once again for stopping by. Where can people find you once again?
I’m at P10App.com and there they can get my contact details if they want to reach out to me. They can also find me on Facebook and Twitter, @PennyZenker. I’d love to hear from people here what they took away what they put into practice. I’m a game-changer, you are a game-changer and we love to interact with other game-changers. It’s the human spirit. That’s what I’m in-love with game-changers, so please do you reach out. I’m happy to hear from all of you.
Thank you so much, Penny. Please remember to check us out on Facebook, The Game Changer Transformation Community and also go to our website. We have an offering for daily inspirational messages sent directly to your inbox. Please sign up for that. I want to announce that we are going to be doing some special offerings that you’re going to want to check that on the website very frequently to see what we’re doing there. We have some special things going on for you. I want to say thank you for joining us. It’s another productive and successful show. Do you have any last words that you would like to say to us?
The last words would just be push through. Game-changers connect with their conviction to just push through.
Connecting with your conviction and really bringing out your greatness. As you know and as I always say before the end of every show, greatness is your birthright. Thank you for tuning in. We’ll talk to you on the next show.
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About Penny Zenker
Penny Zenker is an international speaker, business strategy coach and best-selling author.
Before her 31st Birthday, Penny founded, developed and sold her first multi-million dollar business. Later she managed business unit turnarounds and was a Tony Robbins business coach.
Penny is one of America’s leading experts in the psychology of productivity to eliminate distraction, perfectionism, and self-sabotage to maximize results in every area of your life. Over the past 2 decades, she has coached thousands of entrepreneurs, executives and business leaders to do the same.
Penny’s book The Productivity Zone was an instant Amazon Best Seller and her TEDx, “The Energy of Thought”, has gained attention around the world. Her engaging, inspiring interactive talks teach people to think and act more strategically.
Penny has been featured on NBC News, Forbes, Inc, ESPN, and Wharton Business Radio among others.
Are you ready to shed your past, rise above your present, and go confidently in the direction of your dreams? The first step? Decide. Choose right here and now to make a move. Set your intention. Then simply ask Rodney for help. http://rodneyflowers.com/mentoring/
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