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“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…” so the song goes. Ugh! Anyone in the deep freeze of the season can relate to the idea of “settling down for a long winters nap” when the weather is gray and gloomy. But, what if you aren’t able to hibernate like a bear? After all, you have a business to run!

It’s no secret that the gray of winter leaves an indelible mark on mood and performance. Growing a business, which has its day-to-day challenges, is compounded by fatigue, depression, and listlessness when office fever sets in.

With 63 million people working from home, safeguarding your sanity to ensure ongoing business growth is priority #1.

Minus a long-term sabbatical, here are 10 actions to protect you from office fever:

  1. Get dressed. It’s easy to stay in your fuzzy bunny slippers and “jams” when the temperature gauge registers zero. But, donning your office best prepares you to meet the day with a sense of duty, professionalism, and discipline.
  2. Engage a business coach. You can’t grow a business in a vacuum—especially when it’s frozen! A business coach keeps you focused and on fire regardless of the weather report.
  3. Get moving. Thanks to technology, a 7-minute workout is only a click away. Exercise not only improves your mood and memory, it actually makes you smarter. Psychiatrist, John Ratey, author of Spark: The New Revolutionary Science of Exercise and the Brain, says, “Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.”
  4. Stay connected with colleagues and clients. It’s natural to want to hunker down when cold winds swirl around corners and sneak through the cracks in your office. However, when 55% of communication is through verbal cues such as body language and eye contact, why not leverage Skype, FaceTime, blab, or Google hangout to not only speak with—but also see—your colleagues.

Plus, you’ll want to shower, get dressed, and maybe even brush your teeth to make a good impression earning double bonus points when it comes to warding off office fever.

  1. Let in the light. When your mood is as gray as the sky, it’s natural to want to leave the shades pulled and the drapes drawn. Needless to say, that’s only going to advance your office fever.

According to research conducted by the University of Leige, “light conveys a powerful stimulating signal for human alertness and cognition and has been routinely employed to improve performance.”

Throw back the shades and let in as much light as possible.

  1. Spend 10 minutes outside. Former client and research scientist, Dr. Lisa Berntsen’s recent study, Take Ten Outside, offers an excellent solution to sustainable performance. Simply stated, those who take short 10-minute breaks outside “reap the benefits in well-being, productivity, creativity, and reduced stress.”
  2. Play your favorite music. Television (or radio) with its 24-hour news cycle isn’t the best form of “companionship” to keep you from crawling the walls. Try on Pandora or Spotify for electrifying your mood. In fact, feel free to check out my favorite playlist to keep you out of the funk of office fever—Wake Up Happy by Spotify.
  3. Visit a museum, planetarium, or conservatory. This is what my Canadian client does when the dead of winter creeps in. What a brilliant idea! Not only will you uncover incredible beauty, and stellar views, you can’t beat the warm, uplifting experience—and comfy chairs.
  4. Take frequent breaks. Pierre Khawand wrote about the significance of breaks in his book, The Results Curve(TM): How to Manage Focused and Collaborative Time. After a decade of research, he discovered that the best results are achieved after 40 minutes of focused work followed by 20 minutes of collaboration. Combine with Dr. Berntsen’s “Take 10” and you have a power hour+ that dispels any inkling of office fever.
  5. Pamper yourself with healthy food. Nothing makes me reach for my favorite bag of potato chips than when cooped up by circumstances beyond my control. Poor food choices only amplify feeling out of sorts caused by office fever. Instead, select foods that elevate your energy—and your spirits. In fact, when I’m feeling chilled to the bone and want to curl up in my warm blanket, I reach for a warm glass of water with cayenne pepper. It warms my soul, hydrates my spirit, and protects me against side effects of office fever.

Regardless of the season, stay in top mental, emotional, and physical condition to keep yourself—and your business—alert, aware, snappy, and on the grow.

It was the end of a long day dealing with tax forms and numbers, and, frankly, I was looking for a little mindless entertainment. I needed to emancipate the abacus from my brain. And, like any brain-drained small business owner, I turned to Facebook. That’s when this happened…

Bam! There it was. Two minutes of solid motivation. It was mesmerizing and captivating to watch how a young man, and his Dad, spent their morning drive to school. It was beyond impressive—it was inspiring. 

After watching the video, I read some of the comments. The general consensus was that every child needed to recite an equally powerful pledge on their drive to school.

Every child? How about every small business owner?  

Small Business Owners Are People, Too

In all the years I’ve had the pleasure of coaching small business owners, it’s crystal clear who will succeed at achieving their goals…and who will struggle. Sadly, much of the success/struggle tug of war is stoked by belief and attitude. 

It’s not the wavering belief or attitude towards clients—it’s the business owner’s lack of belief in their own ability, and the know-how to achieve their goals, that keeps them stuck. (For more info, read Stuck? 7 Reasons Why Your Small Business is Not Growing.)

How do you spend the first two minutes of your day? Overwhelmed? Exhausted before your feet hit the floor?  

Rather than start the day in that condition, why not follow this young man’s example in your business. It’s sure to create a better state of mind to achieve your dreams and goals. 

Have I convinced you to spend the next two minutes watching the video? Frankly, I could tell you what it was about but then I would rob you of the experience of hearing this young man’s pledge to himself, his goals, his family, and his community.


Powerful Way To Wake Up In The Morning! Get Your Mind Rightt.

2 minutes of solid gold from this little one. What if every kid started their day like this?

Posted by Drew Canole on Saturday, December 19, 2015


Okay, so maybe Facebook isn’t the slacker I previously thought.


Before writing this blog, I set my timer at two minutes. I placed my fists on my hips, spread my legs, lifted my chest, and gazed to the heavens. I struck the Super-Hero pose.

At first, I questioned if I had it right. Then, I felt calmer. The calmness transitioned into confidence. I thrust my chest out just a bit more as if to signify that I am, indeed, strong and confident. Then, frankly, I started to laugh thinking how funny I must look to anyone passing my business.

 It didn’t matter, however. I wanted to find out if the research was right.

Gray Chatter
During a recent episode of my guilty pleasure, Gray’s Anatomy, Amelia was preparing to perform an unimaginable surgery on Dr. Herman. The stress was palpable. One little slip and Dr. Herman’s illustrious medical career would be over.
While preparing to “scrub in” for the long and dangerous surgery, Amelia struggled with a mini-meltdown. To regain her confidence, she struck a super-hero pose. Stephanie, her loyal assistant, questioned her behavior until Amelia shared that research shows that striking a super-hero pose improves ones confidence when doing a super-hero thing.  (Click to Tweet)
Really?!  Okay, I was skeptical. It’s Hollywood, after all. Yet, deep down, I wanted to believe that I, too, possess super-hero powers.
Gray Matter
Researchers wanted to know if assuming a certain pose would alter the brain’s chemistry. Would the super-hero, high-power pose, alter the brain’s testosterone-cortisol balance? Their answer was “yes”. Study participants experienced an increase in testosterone (power hormone), with an accompanying decrease in cortisol (stress hormone), when assuming the super-hero pose.
Additionally, researchers wanted to know if assuming the super-hero pose triggered an accompanying change in behavior consistent with that of a super hero. Again, the answer was “yes.”
In as little time as two (2) minutes, the superhero stance elevates confidence. It alters hormone production; lifting the power hormone and reducing the stress hormone.
As science demonstrates, body posture influences our brains and, consequently, our feelings. According to science, if you pose like a super-hero, you’ll think like a super-hero, and act like a super-hero. 
Seems like good advice for any business owner. Plus, who am I to argue with science?

One of the quickest way to self-sabotage your business is to attempt to grow without a plan or goals. Most businesses aren’t accidents—that’s to say they don’t happen without intentionality or direction. Of course, there are a few other factors that self-sabotage your business success. How do you avoid or overcome them? It’s simple, really—you look at the root cause and take the steps to prevent it from happening to you.

Tip #1: Have a well-thought-out, evolving plan.

A strategic plan provides an overview of your strategy and goals. It ensures the realization of your vision for the future. It plays an essential role in staying grounded and focused. When done right, it assists you in overcoming some of your self-sabotaging behaviors, like confidence (both over and lack of), failure to control your costs, unstructured expansion and more.

The key is to take time to create your plan, and go deep with developing the core business elements needed for success.

For the most successful small businesses, the strategic plan is an ever-evolving document. They frequently and regularly reevaluate and amend it to reflect the current happenings within their business.

The sky is the limit, especially when aiming for manageable and reachable stages.

Tip #2: Research tools needed to operate efficiently and effectively.

Knowledge is power. The more you stay up-to-date with the business tools you’ll need to operate efficiently, the better chance you have of preventing traps of self-sabotage traps. 

Not only are tools continually changing, the needs of your clients, and their expectations, fluctuate. Keeping your current clients engaged while attracting new ones is your primary goal. Do you know how to balance that delicate equation? 

What are buyers looking for currently? How do they generally prefer to buy services such as yours? Webinars, Google hangouts, and workshops within your business community keep you connected to what’s trending and how it can be utilized to stay relevant as you grow your business. (Plus, we would be amiss if we didn’t invite you to subscribe to our blog to keep you informed.)

Tip #3: Communicate and collaborate.

Everyone who works with your business play a vital role in your business becoming and maintaining success. Feedback is crucial to ensure all parties involved with your business, including service providers, are aligned with your goals. 

  • Make sure you are openly willing to communicate. Role modeling starts with you.
  • Provide opportunities for everyone to share ideas, accomplishments, and experiences.
  • Be transparent with your expectations. Set clear guidelines and goals. 
  • Let your team know what is working, and direct them to continue those behaviors.
  • Host team-building efforts. Not everything needs to be about business—it can also be about strengthening the teams within it.
  • Allow others to air grievances safely to promote a collaborative, product work environment.

Tip #4: Accept guidance.

Many have trudged the road to successful business practices before you. There are also those who make it their mission to guide companies in the right direction. Trust me, you don’t need to know everything there is to know about running a successful business before it actually happens. Learn from those around you. 

Invest before it’s too late! Engaging a business coach is one of the soundest business activities to preempt problems and stop self-sabotage. 

Are you ready to overcome self-sabotaging behaviors and grow your business? 

It’s sad, but true: small businesses self-sabotage with startling regularity. Any number of factors play into a business failing to grow into its true potential. From a failure of morale to a failure of methods and logistics, more often than not, the inhibition comes from honest good intentions meeting bad ideas. How might your small business growth be subject to self-sabotage? It’s frightening easier than one thinks. 

1. Lack of Confidence. Perhaps the simplest form of self-sabotage that inhibits small business growth is a critical lack of confidence. (Click to Tweet) This lack of confidence makes substantial gains impossible to achieve. Confidence in your product and/or service, your ability to successfully grow your business, and your capacity to take on new responsibilities and new markets all play a vital role in small business growth.

2. Too much Ambition. Shocking, isn’t it! At first glance, this seems quite the opposite of the previous situation but it’s not.  Excessive ambition comes in many forms, not just wasteful overconfidence. A business that attempts to change too rapidly, or expands too broadly, often ends up with less successful results than one which focuses its efforts and develops specific, realistic goals.

3. “In-the-Box” Thinking. Getting trapped in preconceptions about your business limits your ability to grow. (Click to TweetNot every form of growth needs to be ‘the same, but bigger.’ In many cases, your greatest route to growth will be something new and different. Don’t sabotage your potential by closing your mind.

4. Failure to Control Costs. In the excitement of new opportunities and ideas, it’s easy to let costs grow out of control—rendering any gains pointless as you break the bank, even at new heights. Your business partners and employees may appreciate your new spending habits, however, your bottom line will go nowhere if you don’t consider costs alongside growth.

5. Undervaluing Morale.  This is a challenge for any business, growing or not. Employee morale determines efficiency, efficacy, turnover, and myriad other factors in your company’s performance. Keeping employees happy, even if it seems on the surface to be costing time or resources, give you better returns. 

6. Inefficient Operations. Growing companies often suffer as operational systems that barely held together at a smaller size fall apart completely. Waiting for that collapse, then patching the existing system to cover the cracks, wastes time, effort, and efficiency. Build your operations for the business you want…not the business you have. (Click to Tweet)

7. Unstructured Expansion. Expanding without clear goals often results in an enterprise pulling itself in many directions without growing. Develop a strategy for growth…one that includes a plan you can observe, tweak, and follow through on. Without structure, it can be difficult to recognize growth and nurture it.

8. Refusing the Proper Tools. Refusing to adapt to changes in the way a modern business operates can cripple your small business growth. As our ability to analyze and perfect our businesses grows, so too does the edge afforded by the proper tools. Hold back and your competitors will surge ahead.

9. Looking at the Wrong Metrics. Sometimes the obvious place to analyze isn’t the right place to analyze. Looking at the wrong values for your company’s success can lead you down foolish paths. It’s important to consider where your metrics will send you…and what improving certain numbers will truly gain you.

10. Failure to Seize Opportunities. The ultimate source of small business stagnation? A simple failure to seize opportunities. Not every chance to grow your business comes with a guarantee, a warranty, and a big blinking light saying “DO THIS!” (Click to Tweet)

Have you caught yourself in self-sabotaging behaviors? How did you put the brakes on it? 


Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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