Important and Revealing Innkeeper Interests Survey

Conducting an informal survey of innkeepers about their interests, the chart above shows the results. From least to greatest interest, the (rounded) percentage of innkeepers interested in the topic were as follows:

  • Hosting More Private B&B Events (31%)
  • Identifying & Becoming Known For a Specific Niche (36%)
  • Improving Your Success Mindset & Productivity (36%)
  • Maximizing Outreach to Local Businesses & the Community (38%)
  • Giving Frequent Guest Rewards &Referral Incentives to Returning Guests (51%)
  • Earning Free Press Coverage (56%)
  • Learning Additional Ways of Earning Money as an Innkeeper (59%)
  • Offering B&B Specials & Packages (59%)
  • Learning Strategic & Profitable Online Marketing Tips (72%)

Interestingly enough, I have given several Professional Association of Innkeepers International webinar presentations on the following topics:

  • How You Can Profit From Creating Memorable Guest Packages
  • How To Profit From Designing Bed and Breakfast Retreats
  • Creating Holiday and Seasonal Bed and Breakfast Packages
  • How To Host Elegant Private Events at Your Inn

I will likely focus on presenting strategic and profitable online marketing tips in future presentations. This includes the following:

  • Blogging (the search engines place priority on fresh content so having a blog using relevant keywords and then sharing that content in newsletters and on social media is ultra-important)
  • Emailing (they say, “the money is in the list” and innkeepers are wise to get the email addresses of their guests and regularly email them–as long as you always give recipients a way to unsubscribe from future messages)
  • Social Media (know who your audience in and be sure to be where they are online e.g. Snapchat has a younger audience, Pinterest is primarily used by women, videos are increasingly popular with many people who are online, etc.)

In this B&B Innkeeper Interests Survey, I also gave innkeepers the opportunity to reveal other topics of interest to them:

  • Networking among innkeepers to better connect travelers to each other, possibility with loyalty programs
  • Creating cozy spaces, gardening tips for welcoming spaces, favorite recipes for big groups, dealing with complaints, best practices, bulk buying deals
  • Filling inn with guests and guests enjoying meeting people from all over the world
  • Building partnerships with other local businesses or bed and breakfasts
  • Changes in legislation that effects our industry and how associations can help to make sure we’re in complaince
  • Using AirBnB for reservations
  • Advantages to different booking services
  • Attracting and maintaining capable and loyal staff
  • Regulatory changes affecting the industry
  • Rev par, slow season income ideas, pricing strategies, competition, first years of the business
  • Meetings guests’ needs and maintaining high standards
  • Recipes, cleaning tips, and tricks
  • Staffing issues, getting the right people and retention
  • Inspiring and new innkeepers do’s and don’ts, what steps to take (prior, during, and after) you take over a property
  • Actual legislation, including the link to actual documents regarding short term rentals, in different communities
  • Staying ahead of the unregulated short-term rental debacle trying to take away our business
  • Working the social media scene and utilizing the best tools for your type of business structure and hosting learning sessions about how to get on board and usages to maximize the tools offered

A special thank you to Heather Turner (Marketing Director of PAII) and Kris Ullmer (President of PAII) for letting me offer the innkeeper interests survey to their member innkeepers. This information should help us all better serve you in the future. 

Focus and Get More Done in Less Time

Bestselling Author, Speaker, and Consultant Brian Tracy, in his book “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” recommends doing your biggest, most important task (“eating your frog”) first. Resist the temptation to start with the easier task.  Develop the lifelong habit of tackling your major task first each morning. The people who consistently take action achieve the most success in life.

Tracy explains that the #1 reason why some people get work done faster is because they are absolutely clear about their goals and objectives and they don’t deviate from them. There is power in deciding exactly what you want, writing it down, setting a deadline on your goal, making a list of everything you can think of to do to achieve that goal, organizing that list into a plan that you take action on immediately, and resolving to do something every single day that moves you closer to that goal!

Plan every day, week, and month in advance and work from a list of actions that you need to take. Lay out all your major goals, projects, and tasks by priority (but what is most important and in order in which the steps need to be taken). 

The hardest part of any task is getting started on it in the first place. Productive people discipline themselves to start on the most important task before them. 

Having a clear idea of what is important to you in the long term makes it much easier for you to make better decisions about your priorities in the short term. Successful people are willing to delay gratification and make sacrifices in the short term so that they can enjoy far greater rewards in the long term. 

Write down your three most important goals in life right now. Identify what is holding you back and work to alleviate those constraints. To reach your fullest potential, you must form the habit of putting the pressure on yourself and not waiting for someone else to come along and do it for you.

Develop a positive mental attitude by becoming an optimist. Optimists look for the good in every situation, seek the valuable lesson in every setback or difficulty, look for a solution to every problem, and talk and think continually about their goals. 

Schedule blocks of time to work on and complete the most important tasks. Highly productive people take the time to think, plan, and set priorities. Focus on specific steps you can take immediately. Concentrate on the things you can do right now to get the results you want and achieve the goals you desire.

Focus clearly on your most valuable task and concentrate on it single-mindedly until it is 100% complete. Become the master of your own destiny. 

I highly recommend “Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” by Brian Tracy. Amazon Affiliate disclaimer: this is an affiliate link and I will be compensated for my recommendation at no additional cost to you. 

Share Your Valuable Interests as an Innkeeper

share-your-valuable-interests

Share your valuable interests as an innkeeper. In an effort to better serve you (just as you seek to better serve your B&B guests), I designed this short (it takes around 2.5 minutes of time to do) innkeeping survey through Survey Monkey.

What is of primary importance to me is knowing which bed and breakfast subjects interest you the most. Also, I give you an opportunity to list any additional subjects of interest to you. 

After putting your name and the name of your inn, you have the option to list your email address. I do this to share practical and useful B&B industry marketing advice. If you sign up, you will also learn the results of this survey listed below.

___________________________________________________________________
1. Which B&B Subjects interest you?

  • Identifying and becoming known for a specific B&B niche (ex: pet-friendly, eco-friendly, and vegetarian)
  • Learning strategic and profitable online marketing tips (ex: blogging, email marketing, and social media)
  • Hosting more private B&B events (ex: parties, weddings, and dinners)
  • Offering B&B specials & packages (ex: adventure, romance, and girls getaway)
  • Earning free press coverage (ex: for a notable achievement or distinction)
  • Giving frequent guest rewards & referral incentives to returning guests (ex: complimentary room upgrade, massage, or bottle of wine)
  • Maximizing outreach to local businesses and the community (ex: hosting charity fundraiser or sponsoring event)
  • Learning additional ways of earning money as an innkeeper (ex: offering additional products and services)
  • Improving your success mindset and productivity (ex: attititude, optimism, goal-setting and achieving)

2. Did I leave out any B&B Subjects that matter to you? I appreciate your feedback.

3. What’s your name?

4. What’s your inn’s name? 

5. If you would like to receive helpful B&B marketing e-newsletters with practical tips, as well as the results of this innkeeping survey, please enter you email address.

___________________________________________________________________

I invite you to contact me (Kristi Dement) for a free twenty-minute (no obligation) consultation.  It is an honor to help bed and breakfast inns and associations grow their businesses. 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Unexpected Expert Advice Can Actually Make You Think

can-actually-make-you-think

Fellow puzzle lovers can appreciate unexpected expert advice that can actually make you think. Sometimes when you solve a puzzle, a fortune-cookie-type response can appear.

While some people dismiss the advice (and “predictions”) of fortune cookies, the messages inside these Asian treats often say something that gets us to consider things from a different perspective. I believe wisdom may be found from some of these puzzle messages, too.

“Wake up and tell yourself it’s going to be a good day.”

How you start the day can determine how your day goes.  Not all of us are morning people (I’m sure there are plenty of mornings when even innkeepers do not feel like getting up), but beginning the day with the belief it is going to be a good day can help us have a good day.  

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.”

Whether your inn regularly hosts international guests or not, you can still appreciate that universally warm smiles are understood to represent kindness.

“Just when you think you’ve graduated from the school of experience, someone thinks up a new course.”

This is certainly true for innkeepers who must learn new things, especially as technology changes. There will always be new things to learn, so we should be thankful that we are able to understand new things.  Each day is a gift and we should make the most of our time.

“If you want things to change in your life, start with your thinking.”

While it is human nature to see what could go wrong, it is always in our best interest to think positively.  This does not mean we don’t take precautions, but optimistic thinking assumes that good things will inevitably happen as the result of our productive efforts.

“The mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work unless you open it.”

Before anyone jumps out of a plane, they must learn how to safely pull their parachute cord. Before we make any important decisions in our life, we need to make sure that our mind is open to other ways of doing things.  

“Habits and beliefs become the blueprint through which we build our reality.”

Our habits and beliefs do work to create our reality.  Of course there are unexpected things that happen in life (both good and bad), but we are ultimately responsible for the lives we lead.  While we cannot change circumstances and situations outside of our control, we can certainly work on our patterns of thinking.

“The more you dream, the farther you get.”

When you dream you are on your way to becoming more inspired to take action. Only taking action will you get any farther. Those who do not dream will never be inspired to act.

“The door of opportunity will not open unless you do some pushing.”

Excluding those born into wealth, most people in life must work for their rewards. Opportunity does not show up unless effort we put the effort in.  The work we do can be very rewarding once we start reaching more of our goals.  The people who are most likely to succeed in life write down their goals.  Consider having daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and long-term goals.  The more specific you are, the more real the goals become.  

“Admitting our failings is one way of acquiring fresh insights.”

Since we are all human, not everything we do will turn out how we planned. When we see what we could have done different and admit our failings, we are on our way to acquiring fresh insights.

“Lighting a lamp for someone else will also brighten your path.”

This can be taken literally since often innkeepers live the lights on for guests to make their way back to the B&B safely. By lighting their way, you are likely increasing their trust of your hospitality.

“The best part of any journey is the people you meet along the way.”

We have all met people that we are so thankful to have met. Our lives would not be the same without them.  Some of you have repeat guests that you have grown to love.  We can’t imagine not ever having met them.  

“Appreciation is like an insurance policy. It has to be renewed now and then.”

When guests feel appreciation, they are more likely to come again.  Make note of birthdays and anniversaries. Consider rewarding your returning guests with a free upgrade in their room or by treating them to something extra like a massage for two.  

“You haven’t used all your options until you’ve asked for help.”

We are not all gifted in the same areas nor do we like to do the same tasks. That is a good thing! We can have others who are more skilled in certain areas and who enjoy using those skills, help us. It has been said to focus on what you do best, and hire out the rest. If marketing is one of those areas you do not understand (as well as you would like) and/or you do not care to spend your time doing, contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free consultation.

How to Find Your Inspiration as an Innkeeper (Part 2)

To find you inspiration as an innkeeper, there needs to be a match with your motivation for working, your individual talents, and your hospitality niche/ideal guests.  In Part One of this blog post I gave three hypothetical situations.  I will give some suggestions for each scenario.  

Innkeeper Irene loves cooking for others and entertaining guests, but she dislikes anything involving paperwork–especially finances.  I suggest that she finds a skilled accountant or bookkeeper to manage her finances.  She should seek referrals from other innkeepers or other people in her local community. 

Since Irene’s restaurant is becoming more known in the community, having an active online marketing presence is very important.  She can also hire someone to actively manage her online marketing which should include consistent and strategic blogging and social media.  By focusing on what she loves (cooking and entertaining), she Irene will likely grow her business and be able to afford to hire two experts who are skilled at those tasks and able to ease her burden.  

Bob the B&B owner is very successful with marketing his inn. His grown children manage the day-to-day operations of their thriving business.  If you remember his situation from the last blog post, his occupancy rate is very good, but he is wondering how to earn more income outside of bookings.  Even if Bob does not have a restaurant or a spa in addition to his inn, he can still increase his income in a variety of different ways: 

  • Hosting private events (such as private parties, murder mysteries, book signings, wedding or baby showers, holiday or seasonal gatherings, etc.)
  • Offering customized guest packages (such as a Girls Getaway package, Romance package, or Local Attractions package)
  • Providing items for sale at his B&B (such as coffee mugs with his B&B logo, T-shirts/sweatshirts, signature goodies for guests to take home, etc.)
  • Teaching classes (such as cooking, writing, painting, etc.) to guests

In the third example, Shirley & Dale are a husband and wife innkeeping couple. Shirley’s favorite thing to do is to plant and grow flowers and produce in their gorgeous garden as well as to decorate their inn. Dale loves construction and renovation projects (both inside and outside). I think the long-term goal is for Shirley & Dale should keep doing what they love.  However, since they have a real need for adding housekeeping and kitchen staff, they will need to continue to handle those responsibilities until part-time employees are found. 

Shirley & Dale should advertise for part-time employees in a variety of places including any professional hospitality associations to which they belong.  Their ad should provide information (or a link to more specific information) detailing specifically what they are looking for so that they are more likely to find someone with the exact skills they need. Once housekeeping and kitchen staff are found, then they should focus on achieving a consistent marketing presence. 

Some professional innkeeping organizations have Vendor Members.  For example, Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging is a Vendor Member of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.  I am happy to set up a free (no obligation), 20-minute phone conversation to answer any questions innkeepers have as well as provide practical ideas for bringing in more business.  

How to Find Your Inspiration as an Innkeeper (Part 1)

Wondering how to find your inspiration as an innkeeper? Bed and Breakfast innkeepers each have their own unique story of how they entered the hospitality industry.  Think about how YOU got started as a bed and breakfast owner.  For your own reviewing, write down your own personal story of how you came to be a travel accommodations provider. Consider including your answers to some of the following questions.

Motivation:

  • Do you love cooking for others?
  • Do you like entertaining guests?
  • Do you desire to work from home?
  • Do you need to feel independent?
  • Do you enjoy helping others relax?
  • Do you receive fulfillment from serving others?
  • Do you like recommending things for people to do in your local area?
  • Are you a first-generation B&B owner, or does your family already have a history of hospitality management experience or ownership?

Innkeeping:

  • What do you like the most about B&B innkeeping?
  • What could you do more of? (things you find enjoyable)
  • What could you do less of? (things you dislike doing)
  • Do you have (or have you thought about hiring) part-time employees to fulfill the roles you least like (or are challenged by)?

Niche:

  • What amenities does your inn have?
  • What is your inn known for? (ex: spa, restaurant, etc.)
  • What in your local area attracts guests to stay for a visit?
  • What type of guests do you (or would you) like to attract?
  • How do you describe your place of hospitality to others (on your website, in your social media, over the phone, and in person)?

There needs to be a match with your motivation for working, your individual talents, and your hospitality niche/ideal guests.  Consider the following 3 hypothetical scenarios…

1) Innkeeper Irene loves cooking for others and entertaining guests. She dislikes anything involving paperwork–especially finances.  Her B&B restaurant is becoming more known in the community. She does not have the time or desire to learn online marketing. How can she keep doing the things she loves (cooking and entertaining) and hire out for other things (financial and marketing)?

2) Bob the B&B owner is very successful with marketing his inn.  His grown children manage the day-to-day operations of their thriving business.  Their occupancy rate is very good, but he is wondering how to earn more income outside of bookings.

3) Shirley & Dale are a husband and wife innkeeping couple. Shirley’s favorite thing to do is to plant and grow flowers and produce in their gorgeous garden as well as to decorate their inn. Dale loves construction and renovation projects (both inside and outside). However, they have a real need for adding housekeeping and kitchen staff (not to mention their need to promote their inn). What can they do?

Please add your comments and suggestions below and watch for Part 2 of this blog post!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Practical Advice About The Art of Innkeeping

the-art-of-innkeeping

I highly recommend Owner & Innkeeper Steven Allen’s book,  Sugar Hill Inn the Art of Innkeeping based on his experiences of transforming Sugar Hill Inn to a completely remodeled, smooth running place of hospitality with luxurious amenities.  

Author Steven Allen tells readers the best way for a prospective buyer to see an inn is to stay the night and experience it from the guest’s point of view. Allen explains that looking for an inn is very different from finding a new home in that there are only a handful of interesting properties available at any one time.

Every establishment has its own character and personality.  The personality comes from its history, its location, and most importantly, the owner.  

After purchasing Sugar Hill Inn, Allen had to prioritize the order of the improvements he made on the property.  Decorating the inn is about pleasing the guests and helping them feel immediately at home.  Some of the projects took longer than planned and all of them cost more than anticipated. The new structure had to be authentic and timeless in its appeal.  

According to Steven, the hardest part of being a business owner is knowing when to follow your own instincts and when to listen to others that may know more.  Allen states that the challenge is that if you don’t follow the crowd and you do succeed, you are a genius for thinking outside the box, but if you fail, you are a dope for not following the tried and true.

If they had done the ordinary, they would not have the opportunity to be “lucky.”  Year after year, they selected the two to three rooms in the most need of renovation or where a face-lift would have the most impact. Other projects were done for safety’s sake.  Seeing the transformation was very rewarding. Over the last ten years, their renovations have touched all fourteen rooms. 

With so many everyday details to run an inn, Allen states that it is helps to take a step back and see the big picture.  This stimulates creative thinking.  Keeping an inn relevant and fresh is a never-ending responsibility.  Innkeeping is a very demanding lifestyle with long hours. 

Sugar Hill Inn strives to share the good life with its guests by creating experiences that will be remembered. Part of that involves surrounding guests with beauty. Allen is a lover of art and has the unique distinction of having several pieces of original art displayed throughout the inn.  When the painting adds to the beauty of the room and the room enhances the painting, you have found the perfect location.  

Steven Allen points out that he has intently focused on what people want. He’s analyzed what people order, listened to feedback, studied comment cards and reviews, and stayed at other inns. To him, “hospitality is doing what is best for the guest.”

Being an innkeeper is more a lifestyle than it is a job.  Allen asserts that seeing the inn transform from average to what many of his guests describe as a gem has been very satisfying.  The real challenge is implementation and consistently following through every day.  While there are many factors that determine an inn’s value, of course the underlying real estate is a major factor.   

Innkeeping is 24-7.  For the right person, Allen explains that this profession can be exciting, fun, and challenging.  Every lodging property is different.  Look for an opportunity to build upon the best of the past and bring new energy, ideas, and money to assure continued success.  Steven Allen, and his wife Karen, own the Sugar Hill Inn located in the secluded White Mountains of New Hampshire where together they practice the art of innkeeping.  

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

What Mentally Strong People Do

13thingscover-e1407853185250This post will highlight the book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success by Amy Morin.

The author defines mental strength as being able to regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner.  Anyone has the power to improve their mental strength.  The benefits of mental strength include:

  • Increased resilience to stress: better equipped to handle problems more efficiently and effectively
  • Improved life satisfaction: behaving according to your values = peace of mind, recognizing what’s really important in life
  • Enhanced performance: helps you reach your full potential

So what are the 13 things mentally strong people don’t do? Then we look at what they do instead.

1) Mentally strong people don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves:

  • Focus on what they can still accomplish with their life
  • Choose to take control and change their attitude
  • Make a conscious decision to celebrate life’s gifts
  • Feel grateful for what they have
  • Volunteer, stay active, and continue to learn new things
  • Look for the silver lining in circumstances
  • Actively problem solve to improve situations
  • Participate in experiences/activities that help them feel better
  • Stay focused on what they do have rather than what they don’t have

2) Mentally strong people don’t give away their power:

  • Set limits to create healthy boundaries
  • Don’t depend on others to regulate their feelings
  • Don’t let others define their self worth
  • Don’t avoid addressing the real problem
  • Don’t become a victim of their circumstances
  • Don’t give other people’s words more power than they deserve
  • Don’t lose sight of their goals
  • Speak up when people hurt their feelings so they don’t grow resentful
  • Forgive those who attack them so they don’t have any more power over them
  • Forgiveness reduces stress, increases tolerance to pain, and can lengthen life
  • Let go of their anger to focus their energy on a worthwhile cause
  • Don’t allow any one person’s opinion to define them
  • Evaluate feedback to determine if it has any validity
  • Remind themselves they have a choice in everything they do, think, and feel
  • Choose to define who they are going to be in life
  • Realize no one else has the power to control how you feel
  • Set healthy emotional and physical boundaries with people
  • Behave proactively by making conscious choices about their responses
  • Take full responsibility for how they choose to spend their time and energy
  • Are willing to examine feedback and criticism without jumping to conclusions
  • Don’t blame others for their own behavior
  • Don’t allow criticism to control how they feel about themselves

3) Mentally strong people don’t shy away from change:

  • Know that staying the same often means getting stuck in a rut
  • Open to learning new things, improving their life, developing healthier habits
  • Focus on what they can do to make a positive difference
  • Make changes based on what is best
  • Don’t allow emotions to make the final decision
  • Create a successful plan for change
  • Create goals they would like to accomplish in the next 30 days
  • Establish accountability and monitor their progress
  • Behave like the person the want to become
  • Set realistic time frames and reach their goals

4) Mentally strong people don’t focus on things they can’t control:

  • Focus on what they can control
  • Don’t waste energy worrying about what they can’t control
  • Point out the positives in others making a genuine effort to create change
  • Stop trying to force people to be different
  • Ask for help when they need it
  • Keep the emphasis on influencing others rather than controlling them

5) Mentally strong people don’t worry about pleasing everyone:

  • Don’t base their self-worth on the way other people seem to perceive them
  • Don’t make decisions based on trying to please everyone
  • They are authentic to who they really are
  • Recognize that worrying about trying to please everyone is a waste of time
  • Know exactly what their core values are so they make the best choices
  • Have more time and energy to devote to their own goals
  • Say no when they don’t want to do something
  • Behave assertively even when speaking up may not be well received
  • Don’t lose sight of who they are and what their values are
  • Don’t automatically say yes to an invitation, they consider if it’s a good choice
  • Don’t agree with people and comply with their requests to avoid confrontation
  • Know that they do not have to go along with the crowd
  • Can express their own opinion even if it goes against what the majority of people think

6) Mentally strong people don’t fear taking calculated risks:

  • Make decisions based on logic
  • Know that emotion interferes with making logical choices
  • Weigh the potential costs against the potential benefits
  • Decide if it will help them achieve their goals
  • Consider the alternatives
  • Ask, “How good would it be if the best scenario came true?”
  • Ask, “What is the worst thing that could happen and how could I reduce the risk that it will occur?
  • Willing to do more research in order to calculate the risk better
  • Resolve to make the best decision possible with all the information that is available
  • Monitor the outcomes of the risks they take
  • Make strategic judgments not blind gambles
  • Are willing to take risks that cause them discomfort
  • Don’t allow irrational thoughts to influence their willingness to try something new

7) Mentally strong people don’t dwell on the past:

  • Shift their thinking to move forward
  • Give themselves something else to think about
  • Establish goals for the future
  • Focus on the lessons they’ve learned
  • Think about the facts, not the emotion
  • Look at the situation differently
  • Make peace with the past
  • Practice forgiveness
  • Accept experiences so they can live in the present

8) Mentally strong people don’t make the same mistakes over and over:

  • Learn from their past mistakes and don’t repeat them
  • Find out what went wrong and what they could have done better
  • Know what they will do differently next time
  • Create a written plan to prevent repeating the same mistakes
  • Establish behavior that will replace the previous behavior
  • Hold themselves accountable and think about alternatives
  • Use positive self-talk and keep their goals in mind
  • Create a list of reasons why they don’t want to repeat your mistake
  • View mistakes as an opportunity to improve themselves for the future
  • Acknowledge personal responsibility for each mistake
  • Don’t make excuses or refuse to examine their role in the outcome
  • Don’t put themselves in situations where they are likely to fail

9) Mentally strong people don’t resent other people’s success:

  • Secure enough not to be threatened by the success of others
  • Avoid comparing themselves to others
  • Focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses
  • Don’t insult other people’s accomplishments
  • Stop trying to determine what is fair
  • Focus on cooperation not competition
  • Happy about others’ accomplishments
  • Create their own definition of success
  • Replace negative thoughts with more rational thoughts

10) Mentally strong people don’t give up after the first failure:

  • Don’t allow failure to define who they are
  • Know that deliberate practice is more important than natural talent
  • Accept that failure is part of the process that helps you learn and grow
  • Realize failure is often part of the journey to success
  • Learn from their failures
  • Understand they will be okay even if they fail repeatedly
  • Rest assured that they are becoming better with each failure
  • Resolve to try again even if previous attempts were not successful
  • Develop a new plan to increase their chance of success

11) Mentally strong people don’t fear alone time:

  • Use alone time to reflect on their goals and set future goals
  • Write in a journal
  • Learn meditation which can improve health, emotions, memory, etc.
  • Take a few minutes every day to be alone with their thoughts
  • Reflect on their goals and progress every day

12) Mentally strong people don’t feel the world owes them anything:

  • Know that life isn’t meant to be fair–that some people have more positive experiences than others
  • Realize they have choices in how they respond to disappointments
  • Spend more time helping others
  • Behave like a team player
  • Focus on their efforts, not their importance
  • Acknowledge their flaws and weaknesses
  • Stop and think about how others feel
  • Don’t keep score
  • Practice humility which makes them stronger
  • Have a healthy amount of self-esteem
  • Focus on what they have to give, not what they want to take
  • Give back to other people in need

13) Mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results:

  • Don’t underestimate how difficult change is
  • Recognize that progress isn’t always obvious
  • Know what kind of results to expect to see in a specific time frame
  • Practice delayed gratification
  • Keep their eyes on the prize
  • Remind themselves of their goals in creative ways
  • Celebrate the milestones along their journey
  • Deal with the feelings of frustration and impatience in a healthy way
  • Pace themselves for the long haul
  • Establish realistic expectations and don’t expect results tomorrow
  • Look for areas in their life where they can improve
  • Focus on finding strategies to help them develop the skills to make progress
  • Develop a plan to help themselves resist temptation
  • Find accurate ways to measure their progress

Maintaining mental strength means…

  • Incorporating mental strategies in your life that will help you reach your full potential
  • Looking at what you’re doing well and build on your strengths
  • Identifying the areas that need improvement and challenge yourself to get better
  • Monitoring your behavior and identify strategies to help you be more productive
  • Regulating your emotions to change how you feel
  • Changing how you think and behave
  • Evaluating your thoughts to make sure they are realistic and productive
  • Asking for help when you need it and surround yourself with supportive people
  • Committing to being a healthy role model for others

Developing mental strength is not about being the best at everything–it means knowing that you will be okay no matter what happens!

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

Extraordinary Productivity

extraordinary-productivity

I love the book, The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity by Kory Kogon, Adam Morrill, and Leena Rinne.  The authors explain what they mean about there being a “productivity paradox”.  It is both easier and harder than ever before to achieve extraordinary productivity and feel accomplished in our lives.  We all experience three challenges:
  • The overwhelming flow of decisions we have to make in daily life
  • That our attention is under unprecedented attack with modern technology
  • We feel a drain on our personal mental energy

The authors propose that we make five choices in order to experience extraordinary productivity. Choice 1 is to act on the important, but not to react to the urgent (what feels like it has to be done now, but may not lead to any results).  Borrowing from Stephen Covey, they use his 4 quadrants of how people spend their time.

  • Quadrant 1: Necessity: crises, emergency meetings, last minute deadlines, pressing problems, and unforeseen events
  • Quadrant 2: Extraordinary productivity (what we want to focus on): proactive work, high-impact goals, creative thinking, planning, prevention, relationship building, learning and renewal
  • Quadrant 3: Distraction: needless interruptions, unnecessary reports, irrelevant meetings, other people’s minor issues, unimportant emails/tasks/phone calls, etc.
  • Quadrant 4: Waste: trivial work, avoidance activities, excessive relaxation, TV, gaming, internet surfing, gossip, and other time wasters


They explain that the results we achieve in life are impacted by our discernment.  With practice we can rewire our brain to become more discerning and less reactive.  They recommend settings these goals:

  • Minimize the time spent in Quadrants 1 and 3
  • Eliminate entirely all of the Quadrant 4 time
  • Maximize what we invest in Quadrant 2
  • Speak the language of importance to those around you

The authors say that it takes three steps: pause, clarify, and decide.

  • Is this important?
  • When does this really need to be done?
  • How will this impact what we are currently working on?
  • Is there another resource for getting this done?
  • Where does this fit relative to the other priorities I am working on?

Choice 2 is to go for the extraordinary and not settle for ordinary.  They quote brain expert, Dr. Daniel Amen, “To harness your brain’s power, it needs direction and vision.  It needs a blueprint.”  According to the authors, most people do not take the time to clarify what is most important to them and do not end up spending their time on those things.  They recommend that those seeking to be more productive identify our few most important roles and define what success looks like in each role.  These roles should be:

  • Represent our key relationships and responsibilities
  • Be relevant to our life right now (not the future)
  • Be meaningful to us
  • Give a balanced perspective of our life
  • Be limited to about five to seven (maximum)

We should then determine our vision of success in each role.  Anchor our purpose and passion in a role title and craft a role statement for each role.  Decide what contribution we want to make in each role.  As (role title), I will (extraordinary outcomes) by (specific activities).  The authors remind us that roles are dynamic therefore constantly changing. They discuss the importance of setting SMART goals.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Extraordinary productivity means going to bed each night feeling satisfied and accomplished.  By identifying the few most important roles we play, this gives us a framework for balance, motivation, and fulfillment.  Anchoring our role titles and statements strengthens our ability to make good decisions about our time.  Setting specific Q2 goals helps us direct our brains in the most productive ways.

Choice 3 is to schedule the big rocks, and don’t sort gravel. This is a figurative illustration.  The big rocks represent the important Q2 priorities in our lives.  We are to put those first.  The gravel represents the distractions (Q3) and time wasters (Q4).  If you start with the gravel, then there is no room for the rocks.

Everyone has the same amount of time, but some people can cram more in the spaces than others.  The key is to focus our very best attention and energy on the few priorities that really matter. The authors recommend that we spend thirty minutes each week and ten minutes each day in Q2 planning so we can dramatically increase our ability to be and feel accomplished at the end of every day.

  • Review our roles and goals to see if they connect with our vision for our Q2 life
  • Schedule the big rocks (the 1 or 2 most important things you can do this week)
  • Scheduling a specific time and place to do something represents our higher-level commitment
  • Organize the rest of our time

The bottom line is that we should decide what is most important and get those activities already scheduled before our week begins.  Schedule Q2 times during the week to proactively protect your Q2 priorities.

Choice 4 is to rule our technology and not let it rule us.  Technology in and of itself is not the problem.  It is how conscious and deliberate we are about how we use it that can be a problem.  The book discusses sorting tasks into one of the Core Four.

  • Our appointments set at specific times
  • The tasks we need to do that are not scheduled
  • Our information about people we interact with
  • Other information we want to keep track of that does not fit into any of the other 3 categories

The book asks readers if we know that over 196 billion emails are sent and received EVERY DAY?!  At the moment of choice, we can act to make an appointment or schedule a task or file away contact information and notes.  If this is not something we need, we can trash or delete the email.  No need for our emails to pile up!

Choice 5 is to fuel our fire, but not burn out.  The book discusses five energy drivers:

  • Move (exercising improves memory, brain health, and physical fitness)
  • Eat (choosing healthy foods and supplements over junk food and sugary food)
  • Sleep (we must get enough rest and not be sleep deprived which leads to poor decision making and even accidents)
  • Relax (to turn off our stress responses and restore our energy by taking regular breaks)
  • Connect (to make positive social interactions)

The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity states that our brain is our number one asset in a knowledge-work world.  Being conscious and intentional throughout the day takes a lot of energy.  We need to have a clear and motivating purpose and a healthy physical body (be as healthy as we can be) in order to fulfill our purpose.  Thus, we should invest regularly in the five energy drivers above to keep us from burning out. By implementing the five choices recommended in this book, we can be on the path to extraordinary productivity!

  • Act on the important and do not react to the urgent
  • Go for the extraordinary and not settle for the ordinary
  • Schedule the big rocks and do not sort gravel
  • Rule our technology and not let it rule us
  • Fuel our fire to not burn out

Affiliate Disclaimer: The links to the book are affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

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Value to participating hotels and bed and breakfasts:

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Hospitality Partner Program from Clean the World on Vimeo

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the Bee Kind Travel Pack from Gilchrist and Soames is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

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