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Indiscretions Can Kill Your Business
By Rose Hill

The quickest way to cancel out all the thought, work, energy, time and expense you've poured into promoting your business is with indiscretions. I'm not talking about giving your clients' confidential materials to their competitors, though that certainly will kill your business I'm talking about the indiscretions that leak out of your mouth, such as:

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Those inappropriate responses to anyone and everyone within earshot when you are dog-tired and have been up all night trying to meet a deadline.

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Those mean-spirited criticisms of a competitor or client when you thought you were speaking with someone "safe."

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Those discussions with prospects about what goes on behind the corporate doors of another client.

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Those judgmental, negative, or derogatory remarks you make about anyone, any business, or anything to anyone who is a prospect, client, competitor, associate, subcontractor, or vendor.

Most of us only leak such indiscretions when we let our guard down for a moment, or when we want to impress the person in front of us, or when we're very ticked off at someone. Others of us are just so darn pessimistic and negative that bad-mouthing is our modis operandi it's just how we move through life, so why should we change now?

"Heck, Rose, we've earned the right to criticize and complain haven't we? The economy is lousy right now. We're at war with terrorists. We're in a drought. And my dog doesn't like me anymore!"

Oops, there are all those too-human rationalizations coming to the fore again.

If you want your business to succeed, your indiscretions need to stop. Remember Mom's old adage "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything"? Your Mom was right.

I'll bet you aren't even aware of how often and when you are indiscrete. I certainly wasn't. (Sure, I'm human too, ya know!) If you'd asked me if I would ever engage in indiscretions that would hurt my business, I would have been aghast, even though I know better. I'm monitoring my own language these days. (And so is my Business Coach.) It's amazing how entrenched some thought patterns and language phrasing can become.

My personal rationalization about my indiscretions revolved around "The client has asked for my professional opinion about XYZ. And that's what she's paying me for. So here goes..." And then those nasty negative and indiscrete things gently drop from my tongue and I say "I've hired both ABC and XYZ companies to do work for me in the past. I've found ABC company to be difficult because..." and I'm off and running with all the things I don't particularly like about ABC company. But I'm turning it around, and so can you. I'm shifting my thought patterns to "I've hired both ABC and XYZ companies to do work for me in the past. I just love working with XYZ company because..."

Now, doesn't that look like the easiest shift in the world? But, as in all changes of habit, it may be simple, but it sure isn't easy!

Here's how to get on top of any indiscretions you might be leaking:

  1. For the next two weeks, monitor your conversations and log your indiscretions. Use a section of your Business Journal for this. (You are keeping a Business Journal, aren't you? Oops, subject for another article.) Record the time of day, your mood, who you leaked to and exactly what you said.

  2. At the end of the two weeks, review your log and look for patterns. Look for patterns in the phraseology and word usage. Look for patterns in the time of day. Look for patterns in your moods. Look for combinations of word usage and your moods. Look for patterns in who you leak to and your moods. Got the idea?

  3. If you are being indiscrete more than you'd like to be, or if you'd just like to clean up your language, ask your Business Coach to help you shift your thought patterns and language.
    One of my favorite techniques in changing my language is to put Post-It's on my computer screen, on the bathroom mirrors, above the phones, on my car's rear-view mirror, and on my office wall clock that have the wording or phrasing I'm working on getting rid of. Each time I use that wording, I add time to my daily walk. That does it for me! (I hate exercise, in case you didn't catch that.) For you, perhaps you'd do better to put $10 in a jar toward your vacation fun. Different rewards or punishments work for different people. Find what works for you and use it!

See Also:

Create a Winning Attitude for Success 
A positive attitude of achievement is also made up of very specific elements. Following are Six Characteristics of a Positive Mental Attitude. They are presented in sequence but it is the simultaneous interaction of them all working together that creates the synergy for a winning attitude and success in just about any endeavor.

Success: The Human Element 
Responsibility for growth rests not only at the corporate level, but also at the individual level. While development of technical skills is important, emphasis must be placed on the enhancement of the total person. The result is a productive person working in a caring company. Here are some growth promoting areas.

The 3 Paradigms of Success
A paradigm, according to the Oxford American Dictionary, is "something serving as an example or model of how things should be done." Here are the 3 paradigms of the successful professional service provider.

Rose Hill is a Certified Business Coach who works exclusively with independent professionals who desire to create a solid foundation for their continued business success. I do this by means of a comprehensive 4-pronged, 6-month High-Impact Business-Building program. Rose can be reached at (503) 629-4804 or via e-mail to rose@coachrose.com http://www.coachrose.com

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