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Creating Lists to Learn About Yourself, Your Business and Your Customers
I love lists. I make them for everything. And I'm not just talking about groceries, things to do this week or places to see before I die; but more important lists that help me learn about myself, my business and my life.
A few years ago when I began writing books, giving speeches and publishing articles, I became obsessed with lists; mainly because they're easier for other people to follow, and easier for me to write. But the science behind lists is a fascinating thing.
It all started with my friend Ed. He once told me to make a list called "101 Goals for 2005." That's a lot, I thought. It certainly puts those New Years Resolutions to shame! But coming up with 101 of anything is a lot. And over a period of two weeks, I finished my list. And as per Ed's suggestion, I made the first item on my list "Write a list of 101 goals." When I was done, I crossed it off!
Then over the next few months, I looked at my list frequently. It kept my goals, dreams and desires in front of me; both business and personal. And I crossed new items off every week, accomplishing more than ever before!
Lists allow us to easily put information which belongs together in one place. They don't prioritize, segment, or bias any one item; but rather allow us to simply get it all down on paper - and sometimes that's the most important part of learning. In my case, I learned what goals I wanted to accomplish in 2005 - some of which I NEVER would have thought of otherwise. So, the beauty of lists is two sided: making the list, and using the list.
Here's a great example: try making a list of "10 Problems My Customers Complain About." This exercise will identify several key difficulties for which your business has solutions. Not to mention, this is great information to memorize for future conversation with those customers.
This is great tactic to help you understand your own personal brand. My mentor, Shep Hyken, author of Moments of Magic and The Loyal Customer, once told me to write my own list called "Top Ten Reasons You Should Hire Me." Wow. I'd never really thought of myself in that way. And I admit, it was a difficult task.
"Don't just put 'Because I'm nice,'" Shep told me, "write a word or phrase, and then expand on it in a detailed paragraph."
So?what are the Top Ten Reasons anyone would want to work with YOU?
If you'd like to view my list, go here.
"Lists help you evaluate yourself. They allow you to 'approach' who you are as a person. It's almost like building an INNER front porch?to yourself."
Whoa. Somebody used my own term back to me! That blew my mind. But Ed was right! If a front porch increases approachability, and approachability is a function of knowledge and uncertainty, then creating lists about yourself invites YOU to get to know YOU.
Maybe we need to be more willing to approach ourselves. After all, Socrates once said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." Here are a few of my favorite lists, all of which I've completed and update/cross off regularly. I encourage you to take some time in the next few weeks to write a few of them out:
1.100 Things That Make You Happy
Good luck and happy listing!
© 2005 All Rights Reserved.
Scott Ginsberg is a professional speaker, "The World's Foremost Expert on Nametags" and the author of HELLO my name is Scott and The Power of Approachability. He helps people MAXIMIZE their approachability and become UNFORGETTABLE communicators - one conversation at a time. For more information contact Front Porch Productions at http://www.hellomynameisscott.com.
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