Business Coaching to Help You Grow Your Business and Achieve Your Personal Best!
Author: Ernest Lewis
Ernest is owner of E.A. Lewis Consulting where he helps individuals and organizations achieve their personal best! He provides executive and business coaching services including leadership development, team building, continuous improvement, and strategic planning support. Ernest is also a writer, motivational speaker, father of three, and loves to RUN!
As the economy opens back up, many people will be finding working from home as part of the new norm. Some business owners and employees want it, some not so much. Wherever you stand, if you have not settled into the WFH format yet, here are a few tips to get you there.:
Think Habits – Our habits determine our success. Do the right things, do them consistently.
Establish Routines – Get into a rhythm and stay there as best you can. Map out your days and your ideal calendar to help you stay on task and avoid distractions. If the first Monday of the month from 8:00 – 12:00 works best for admin work, make it so every month.
Be Professional – Some people can be productive in their jammies. If that is you, awesome. If you need to shower, shave, and put on a suit, do that. If you need to do a Zoom meeting, be sure to follow the prescribed dress code!
Find Your Space – If you do not have a separate home office space with a door, do your best to create a space that will work for you. Find a corner of the family room or basement, set-up a desk, put a calendar on the wall, and whatever else you need to say, “This is my work space and don’t bother me when I am here.” Train family to respect the work schedule and workspace as best as possible.
Self-Care – Be careful this does not get lost in the confusion of being at home vs being at work. Take care of yourself first so that you can take care of everything else.
• Take frequent breaks – get up and walk around, get a drink of water, etc.
• Disconnect when you need to especially from the social media blitz.
• Remember, me time is allowed and necessary.
Finally, WFH is likely to be a large part of the new norm. We were trending that way before Covid-19 and we are definitely there now. So, plan for the long term to WFH and remember a key element to a successful work from home effort is communication. When people are at a distance, we can lose sight of the need for and the effectiveness of our communication so…
Include this last tip into your routine: Call first, call often!
Change is the norm. Always has been. Covid-19 has been a big change for sure and it’s effects are likely to continue for some time to come. So, the key is adapting and doing our best to adapt well for the long term. Here are a few key points for adapting to change.
The Three P’s
Be Positive – As much as possible, keep it optimistic. Our tendency is to initially fear the sky is falling but that rarely happens. Think about worst case and be prepared as best you can but hope for the best.
“Optimism, when applied to your life, develops strength and peace within you.”
– Norman Vincent Peale
Be proactive – Sudden change will give rise to fear and put us in a reactive mode, i.e. fight or flight. Self-directed change or change we prepare for allows us to respond in a more logical manner for better results. Develop contingency plans and robust systems so when the need arises, you are ready to go.
“It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.
– George Eliot
Be Purposeful – Set your goals, both short term and long term, based on your core values. Doing so allows you to go after them and move with purpose. That purpose gets you out of bed in the morning, it helps you dispel any doubts, and it helps you to be ready for any storm that may come.
“Occupy your thoughts with purpose and you will be so busy pursuing a meaningful future there will be no time for doubt, chaos and disappointment.
– Carlos Wallace
Do your best to be positive, proactive and purposeful and you will weather the storm.
Weathering the storm is the norm right now. Battening down the hatches is necessary to help ships keep water out and stay afloat in stormy waters. In days long gone, the key elements “to batten” include the wooden grates over the hatches in the ships deck, the tarps thrown over the hatches, and furring strips nailed around the edges or ropes to hold the tarps in place.
Four key business elements that help batten down the hatches during troubled times include:
Map out your marketing strategy – having this in place and effective implementation are critical always but especially during the storm. Keeping your marketing active versus cost cutting approaches makes all the difference between businesses that survive and those that thrive.
Diversify your customer base and service offerings – As a part of 1. above, diversity helps to keep your business off the revenue rollercoaster through tough times as well as any usual seasonal effects.
Plan worst case…sound strategic planning includes what if worst case scenarios most of which won’t ever happen. But if they did, you are more likely to have a contingency plan ready to go and even if you don’t have just the right plan, working through scenarios is good practice and helps to ensure you and your team can meet the challenge when the need arises.
Set aside a rainy day fund – Every cent counts and even a small rainy day fund sets the right tone for your team from core values to daily cash flow management.
“If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting.”
If you didn’t have these four key business elements in place before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, you might be feeling the pain. If so, triage your business and get through as best you can. When you get a moment and catch your breath, schedule a time for you and your team to take a look at the four key elements above so when the next storm comes, you can batten down the hatches!
Covid-19 and social distancing for the last couple of weeks has been stressing me to my limit as it probably has for you too. Being off my routine, in lockdown mode (I know, safe at home) worrying about business stuff and family stuff and with a lot fewer warm hugs has really knocked me off my game. Can’t sleep, stress eating, not getting out to run (worsens everything) and a low level anxiety from everywhere have been the new norm…the negativity creeps on you and before you know it, it’s hitting you hard. Thankfully, my friend Tim Cole sent me a link to an insightful article by Mitch Albom in the Detroit Free Press which I really needed today. Mitch writes about Knox who has an incredible story…a blessed ray of sunshine all the way from Haiti that helped Mitch find his one thing.
My one thing…this weekend, my 9 year old son finally learned to ride his bike overcoming a ton of anxiety. He’s been putting it off for years. There was a super stress moment and some tears but he pushed through and of course, once he got the hang of it he didn’t want to stop. He rode about 8 miles before the day was done and he didn’t let me help in any of it except to cheer him from a distance and adjust the seat and the brakes a few times. This win was all him! I got a long warm hug for the assist and then he let go but came back and gave me a second long warm hug, bonus! :)
In writing this I also realize for the umpteenth time, that we have rays of sunshine all around us all day every day. We just have to get out of our funk and look for them. Life’s best things are the littlest things right under our noses.
As these next days and weeks come and go, find your one thing(s), your rays of sunshine, and count your blessings. And if you can, help someone else find theirs because we are all of us everywhere on quite the rollercoaster. Thank you Mitch and thank you Tim!
Do you want to grow and develop personally or help an employee be the best they can be? Do you want to grow your business? Do you want to create an inspired life full of purpose?
Then I want to help you do just that with honest feedback, straightforward analysis, and practical and effective tools that work!
Here are 5 reasons to work with a Coach.:
1) See the forest through the trees. I’ll help you to see and understand those things that elude us when we are in the middle of all that we do. Being able to step back and effectively analyze and evaluate our situation is key to working on the right problems, developing the right solutions, and successful implementation.
2) Get more done with less effort. If you are working too many hours, stressed to the max, putting off vacations and holidays, or just on overload, I can show you how to maximize your time and energy as a leader and be more profitable and still be able to go on vacation with a little peace of mind!
3) Be more successful. If you’re not reaching your potential, it’s time for something new! By using a step-by-step process with effective problem solving strategies, I can show you how to generate more revenue and hit your financial goals. Get the help you need in sales, marketing, systems development, time management, team building, leadership and professional development, organizational development and more!
4) Learn to strengthen and develop your team. Every business owner needs a solid team of employees as well as an effective support network. Recruiting, training and retaining the best people makes for a stronger, more stable, and more successful business and is the key to competing at the highest level.
5) Find your deepest passion for what you do…your Mojo! Motivating employees and ourselves is at the heart of business and individual success. I will show you how to light the fire in your company and help employees reach heights they never thought possible. Learn to help employees manage change, step-up when times are tough, go after new opportunities, and be committed to the organization for the long term.
Finally, I help you find your ACCOUNTABILITY! Accountability for effective results makes the difference between companies that survive and those that leap to the front. Having a Business Coach to help you and your employees face tough questions and decisions that keep getting pushed to the back burner time and time again will make the difference between so-so performance and becoming the leader of the pack!
Final Update…wrapping up fundraising for this year for LLS and cancer research!
Fundraising Total: $6,187.19 which is $1.19 more than any previous year in 8 years of fundraising. Woohoo!
Thanks so much for all your help…the donations and the support…from me and all of our Honorees!
Our recent donors included: Becky Ohm and the staff and customers at The Flying Joe, Roger and Kristin Davenport and the employees of K & R Auto Repair, Sheryl and Terry Losey and the customers at Outstanding Nutrition, Scott Lewis, Kevin and Monica Drouillard, Frank Cody for a second donation towards the Buck a Mile for the Oil Creek 100, Jenn Starr and Peggy Masters and the staff and customers of Maumee Quick Print, John Frank and the staff and customers at the Heatherdowns Branch of Key Bank, and a final thank you to Bill McConnel owner of Dunright Building Services for his pledge of the last $250 “to get us over the top and give us something to shoot for next year!” Thank you Bill!!
Thanks again to all of our previous donors:Dave Large and his fellow employees at Bolt Express, Dave Schlaudecker for a second donation, Martha Lewis for a second donation, and a huge donation from Steve Grindle and the staff and members of Champion Credit Union, Stacy Warren, Bob Bethel, Ruthellen Ondrus, Bonnie Kimpling-Kelly, Frank Cody, Judy Kehrle, George Brymer, Dana Zanville, and Doug Hartman, Joe Erard, Jennifer Smirnoff-Poling, Scott and Betsy Saneholtz, Jim Veller, Sean Thomas and the Employees at Axis Engineering, Dan Robertson, Jennifer Starr, Joel Salazar, Gary Ehrmin, Darlene Lorenzen, Frank Cody, and Deb Chany and Dr’s Jeff and Rachel Elmore, Matt Folk, John Frank, Debby Peters, Honoree George Evanoff, Kathy Pigott, Brendon Matthews, Honoree Karen Landis, James Hunt, Martha Lewis, and Mike and Shannon Irmen, Honoree Carol Haddix, Pam Weirauch, Michelle Marentette-Hermanutz, Shelley Foos, Michelle Ansara, Tom Spy, Violet Stoycheva, Kevin Simpson, Honoree Rodney Cundiff, Jenn Wenzke, Honoree Andrea Loch, and Deb Yeagle.
I think that is everyone. If I missed anyone, I sincerely apologize. Thank you All! A Big Woohoo! to each of you!
Friend and Honoree George Evanoff is recovering from his surgery last week. He is doing well. My sister Elizabeth is past her last chemo treatment and going strong. Both of them are tough and relentless…my inspiration. Please keep all of our Honorees in your thoughts and prayers. Thanks so much!
Finally, thank you from the bottom of my heart for another successful year of fundraising. Thank you for helping fight the good fight. I appreciate each and every one of you and all of your kind words and support throughout the year. I couldn’t have done it without you! It’s been another incredible year…3 events, our Honorees having their ups and downs and adding so many new ones, and it was inspiring with so many donors stepping up…I can’t say it enough…thank you all so much!
For You…An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand
Oil Creek 100 is in the bag…all 100 Miles!
Race went well…31 hours!…
The race is 3 loops on a 31 mile trail and then 7 more miles on a “heading home” loop.
The first loop started at 5:00 am in the dark. We run with headlamps to light the way for about 2 hours until the sun comes up. The trail was in good shape, temperature was around 45 degrees, near perfect! I kept a good steady comfortable pace trying not to over do it…save my energy for the later miles to come. Had only one slip down a hill at a stream crossing where I pretty much spun around about 3 times before catching myself! Finished the first loop in about 8 hours, 31 miles…felt pretty good still!
My Crew Chief, Jennifer Starr, was there at two of the four aid stations around the loop to make sure I ate something, hydrated, and had all the right equipment when I needed it. This was Jenn’s third time crewing for me so she really knows what to do and when and she was a huge help here at OC!
Second loop went (mostly) well too…62 miles Slowed down a bit, 9 hours total I think, and had only one mishap…hit a mud patch and lost my shoe! Tried to keep my balance and put my left hand and glove right into the mud all the way up to my elbow and then put my right foot and sock deep into the muck too! Crap!! Went back and had to pull my shoe out of the mud with two hands…now I had a wet glove, two wet shoes and one wet sock!! Found a dry spot to sit down, wiped all the muck off as best I could, put the shoe back on and got to running again…and I had about 9 miles to go in wet shoes and socks…”buck a mile” dammit! Finished the loop no worse for the wear, starting to get tired and cold (the sun had gone down already)…and grumpy…this is when Jenn has to snap at me to eat something…and eat more…blood sugar and electrolytes start to get out of whack and I don’t want to eat…so, she makes me eat and rest for a bit…and she reminds me why I am out there…for a cure! That helped a lot!
Headed out for the third loop…another runner, Gary, was heading out too…sort of..he was talking to his wife and he looked like he was hurting…he had a huge blister on his foot and he was in pain and tired. I could tell he didn’t want to go back out…I didn’t want to go either…I asked if he was alright, was he hurting…he said he had the blister…I said come on, you can do it, I’ll stay with you for a while…so he came. We walked and talked and headed down the trail…he got it going and was ok after a bit and said I could go ahead…so I did. I felt stronger too and I was glad I had said something to him back at the aid station.
The next 15 miles got tougher. The temperature was dropping pretty quickly, 28 degrees, it was 1 or 2 or 3 am, not sure, I was getting slower…and hungry but my stomach kept getting upset…I just tried to keep it moving…buck a mile Baby! I kept thinking about my sister and her chemo last Thursday. I don’t know what to do for her, “sorry hope you feel better” just doesn’t seem to cut it…so I kept running and tried not to think about running…just a cure…then I fell, stepped into a hole which caught my leg and I went straight down and jammed my wrist…shit! That hurt! I sat there for a minute, pulled my leg out of the hole, straightened out my wrist…got going again.
Got to mile 84, the third aid station, 9 miles before the end of the loop…several really big hills to climb after this…I was freezing cold, teeth chattering, legs hurting, getting hard to think straight, feeling all alone even with the volunteers there who were trying to help…wanted to quit…and then Gary was there…he had caught up…he asked me if I was ok!…and that woke me up a bit. Thank you Gary!
Got it going again to finish the third loop, 93 miles…the sun came up, everything started to warm up and I was feeling better…talked to Gary a bit as we were finishing the loop together…He told me this was his first attempt at a 100 mile race…I told him about how this is my fundraiser for cancer research…then he told me about his daughter being diagnosed with Melanoma a few years ago, luckily they removed it early, and she is now fine and doing well. I was glad we got to talk.
The last 7 miles came and went and were just a little annoying…after 93, they are the toughest mentally!…I was so glad to be crossing the finish line and to be done…total relief! All 100 miles Baby!
Thanks to everyone for following my FB posts, all the encouraging comments and support helped a ton! And the “buck a mile” mantra worked real well! Thanks so much!
Donor Update – We are getting there!
Thanks to this weekend’s donors Jimmy Gnass, Ryan and Mia Leone, and “buck a mile” pledges from Dave Schlaudecker and Kimberly Hasapes! Thank you so very much!
With donations already in and pledges and checks on the way, we are up to about $ 4,751! That’s almost 48% of our huge goal of $ 10,000! We have a couple of weeks to get all our donations in still. So, if you haven’t donated yet, there is still time! Woohoo!
Thanks to all of our donors and pledges so far:
Stacy Warren, Bob Bethel, Ruthellen Ondrus, Bonnie Kimpling-Kelly, Frank Cody, Judy Kehrle, George Brymer, Dana Zanville, and Doug Hartman, Martha Lewis, Joe Erard, Jennifer Smirnoff-Poling, Scott and Betsy Saneholtz, Jim Veller, Sean Thomas and the Employees at Axis Engineering, Dan Robertson, Jennifer Starr, Joel Salazar, Gary Ehrmin, Darlene Lorenzen, Frank Cody, and Deb Chany and Dr’s Jeff and Rachel Elmore, Matt Folk, John Frank, Debby Peters, Honoree George Evanoff, Kathy Pigott, Brendon Matthews, Honoree Karen Landis, James Hunt, Martha Lewis, and Mike and Shannon Irmen, Honoree Carol Haddix, Pam Weirauch, Michelle Marentette-Hermanutz, Shelley Foos, Michelle Ansara, Tom Spy for an awesome pledge, Violet Stoycheva, Kevin Simpson, Honoree Rodney Cundiff, Jenn Wenzke, Honoree Andrea Loch, and Deb Yeagle.
Thanks to these business owners and their employees and customers in advance for helping through the Blood Drop Campaign:
Maumee Quick Print – Peggy Masters and Jennifer Starr
Champion Credit Union – Steve Grindle and the CCU Staff
Laura’s Framing Place – Laura Osborne
Dunright Building Services – Bill McConnel
Outstanding Nutrition – Sheryl and Terry Losey
The Flying Joe – John and Becky Ohm
K&R Auto Repair – Kristin and Roger Davenport
Verizon Wireless – Chad Brogan
Key Bank – John Frank
Thank you everyone! Every little bit helps…we are getting there!
Help us reach our fundraising goal so we can continue to fund cancer research…to make a difference…a world without cancer!
Our Honoree list is now at 171…we are adding Ken Miller, father of my friend Doug, and who is in James Cancer Center in Columbus and undergoing treatment for Leukemia. We are adding Cheryl McNish, for friend Ruthellen Ondrus, and who lost her battle with cancer in August. And, we are adding a friend of Debby Peters who has Leukemia but wishes to remain anonymous. And, we are adding Kathy Erard, mother of my running buddy Joe Erard, and who has stage 2 breast cancer. Prayers…and love and hugs for all of our Honorees! :-)
If you have someone you love with cancer or lost to cancer, I would be honored to run for them. Send me their name and their story and we will add them to our list. They keep me going when the miles get tough!
Donor Update –
Thanks to donors Stacy Warren, Bob Bethel, Ruthellen Ondrus and Bonnie Kimpling-Kelly for their generous donations this week. Big thanks to a couple more “a buck a mile” pledges for the OC race…Frank Cody and Judy Kehrle! Woohoo! Thank you all!
Yep…that’s my mantra this weekend…”A buck a mile” for a cure…saying that a lot already! :-)
Help us reach our fundraising goal so we can continue to fund cancer research…to make a difference…a world without cancer!