August 9, 2009 - Leave a Response

By Matthew Best

Last week I told you about my computer challenge – having to have Window’s reinstalled
and being grateful for having backup of my files. This week, I want to continue with another observation about being without my computer for a week. It’s a simple observation really – When I went back to my computer and pulled in my e-mail, old files, old programs, etc., I was amazed at how much of it was just clutter.

When we are in the day to day of life, we seldom realize that subscribing to just one more newsletter or adding one more program to our computer will pile on to the zillions of things that are already there. Just today, I unsubscribed to about 70 newsletters – I can only imagine how many fewer e-mails I’ll receive that I never read anyway. And don’t worry – I still subscribe to many other newsletters, it’s just that I’ll actually value them more since they won’t get lost in the clutter.

So how much clutter is in your life? Do you even notice it? Instant access can be a positive thing – look at all the great things we’ve accomplished as a society. Remember though, it’s a tool. Instant access can also mean that there is no time to process the information. Poorer decisions are often made when we don’t take time to process information. Sign-up at


It’s OK to Not Be Stuck

July 18, 2009 - Leave a Response

by Matthew Best

A question that I ask my clients many times at the beginning of a coaching session is “Where are you stuck?” Many times the answers come easily. Clients come to a coaching session very open to learn when they are stuck. But what about those times when the answer to the “stuck” question is hard to find, really minor, or unknown?

I find it interesting when a client struggles with the question, seeking to find something to tell me. It’s interesting to me because many times the client thinks I know something about them that would make me assume they are stuck. They are searching for an answer based on an assumption. Guess what – the assumption is wrong.

I ask the question about being stuck because it helps to identify what type of coaching session we’ll be having – problem solving, strategy, accountability, etc. It’s ok to not be stuck. Just as it’s ok to not be in pain, not be worried, not be tired, not be stressed, not be any number of other things that we invest way too much time and energy into each day.

It’s ok to be just fine, normal, doing well, doing great, content, etc. In fact, it’s more than ok. We don’t have to live our lives like a network news channel – always some problem or challenge being highlighted. The challenges and the problems should be the exception to normal, not the normal.

Your homework for today is simple – take a few minutes to think about what’s going well. Why is it going well? How is it benefiting you? What opportunities are available because something is going well?

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Careful What You Wish For

June 27, 2009 - Leave a Response

by Matthew Best
An interesting thing happened to me this past week.  One day this past week I was attempting to get out the door to do some work at Panera, otherwise called my office away from my office.  The kids were asking me tons of questions, one of the cats had just done something unmentionable outside the litter box, the baby started to cry – we have a pretty full house, so all this is pretty normal.
I was a bit frustrated though.  I was frustrated because I was concerned that I wouldn’t have enough time to get my work done.  I didn’t leave the house in the best of moods. It hit me when I got into my car.  At that moment I realized that I had gotten exactly what I wanted and I was frustrated about it.  I wanted to spend more time with my family – which has been happening.  I wanted to work less – which has been happening. I was getting exactly what I had asked for.
So why the frustration? What I came to recognize about the situation was that I was still dealing with the effect of old habits – habits about how much time I “needed” to work.  I was used to working many more hours and now I was shifting to working fewer hours.
My key for avoiding a recurrence of the frustration is to not only define the goal clearly, but also the consequences of achieving the goal – think of it as symptoms that let you know that you are completing a goal.  When I had neglected to do this, I became frustrated at what was going on.  When I remembered what the goal was – I remembered that less work time means working smarter, not harder.  It means setting up better systems to handle time consuming tasks, etc.
So what are you attempting to accomplish?  Are you making progress on this?  How do you know?  What are the consequences of achieving the goal?

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What’s Your Score?

June 23, 2009 - Leave a Response

Take the free EADD Assessment on  You can then enter to be Entrepreneur of the Month.  Go to the site for details.


June 19, 2009 - Leave a Response

by Matthew Best
Have you ever thought about silence?  It’s very powerful actually. This is a day and age of constant noise and activity – i.e IMs, text messaging, phones that do everything, phone calls, e-mails, social networking updates, and especially Twitter, hundreds of TV options, Internet connections everywhere, and more.
Most people are uncomfortable when there is silence – they don’t know what to do if nothing is going on.  Try being in a room with just 10 people and seeing how long silence will remain.  Usually what happens is that someone will cough, or get on their phone, or their phone will ring, or they will rustle paper, or chew gum, or tap fingers, or type something, or who knows what.
Why do we avoid silence?  We do we become uncomfortable with silence and quietness? What do we fear? These are great questions to think about this week.  You may end coming up with different answers than the next person. This week I want to challenge to be in silence and see what you learn from it. How might this work?  When you feel compelled to give unsolicited advice, stop and just be silent and listen.  What was the experience like?
When you are in a sales meeting and you really tell your prospect about all the great things your newest gadget can do, stop and let your prospect talk.  What did you learn about your prospect that you didn’t know before? When you are in a business meeting for your organization and a question has been thrown on the table, try having everyone being quiet for a minute or two. Let your mind do it’s work before giving an answer.  How were the solutions compared to earlier meetings when people came out with answers right away?  What happened with the communication of the people at the meeting?
Here’s a big one – try unplugging for a day.  If you can’t bring yourself to doing it for a whole day, try an hour.  I’m referring to all the instant communication and news.  What’s your day like?  Better, worse?  How much of what you missed what important? The old saying is “Silence is golden.”  What is it for you?

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Looking for Feedback

June 10, 2009 - Leave a Response

I just launched a new website –  I’d love to get your feedback.


Internal vs. External

June 10, 2009 - Leave a Response

by Matthew Best
This past week I listened to the book Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.  I really enjoyed the book.  The authors explored areas that most people never even begin to think about and ask questions that no one else is asking. The theme that I took away from the book was the internal vs. the external.  The authors gave several examples of how so many external things really have no impact on the outcome of people.
For example – The authors cited a study that was conducted on the Chicago Public Schools (CSD).  The CSD opened their students up to school choice a few years ago. Considering the shear number of students this district has, the administration decided that there would a lottery for children whose parents decided they wanted to participate in the school choice program.
The students’ performance was tracked through their schooling.  Not surprising was the finding that the students who participated in the school choice program and changed where they attended school improved their scores.  Likewise, those students who did not participate and stayed in their school did poorly.

The real surprise was the third group of students – those who chose to participate in the program, but were not picked in the lottery. Those students stayed in their current chools.  The findings showed that these students also improved their scores. The conclusion that was made was that school choice had no impact on the students’ scores.  What mattered was the decision by the parents and students that their current situation was not acceptable.  The mere fact that these students had decided that they wanted better for themselves caused them to do what they needed to do to improve their scores. This was an internal change.
As I’ve said plenty of times – attitude drives behavior which drives your results. These students shifted their attitude.  As a result, they changed what they did. What are the shifts in your internal attitudes and beliefs that will allow you to be successful?

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Burn the Boats

June 5, 2009 - Leave a Response

by Matthew Best
Andy Andrews, an author and motivational speaker, tells a story about Hernan Cortes, a Spanish Conquistador who went in search of and captured a large Aztec treasure. Before he left for the New World, he gathered the troops he would need and told them the story of how their life would change after they captured the treasure.
The day finally came for Cortes and his troops to sail.  Each day on the journey he told his troops the same story about the gold and how it would change their life.
When they reached the New World, they camped along the shore for a few weeks and each day Cortes told his troops the same story about the treasure.
Finally, the troops were restless and were eager to find the gold.  Cortes knew
they were ready.  He assembled the troops and gave them one last order – “Burn the boats.”  The men were perplexed, but did as Cortes had said.  Cortes explained to them that by burning the boats they were eliminating any reason they had to fall back to safety – it was either capture the treasure or die.
After the troops burnt the boats, they marched off and captured the treasure.
So, what are the boats in your life and your business?  What are the things that
give you perception that they are providing you safety, security, and comfort?  What reasons are you making for not burning these boats?

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Lessons from the Beach

May 27, 2009 - Leave a Response

by Matthew Best

We took a short family vacation to the beach this past week.  I love the beach. Even in the relaxation and the hustle of vacations, there are lessons to be pay attention to.
First lesson – taking time away.  I am convinced that entrepreneurs and business owners and decision makers spend way too much time working.  Believe me, I’ve been there.  I understand – there’s lots to be done and it’s your business, so you invest a great deal of time with your investment.  The problem, and yes it’s a problem, comes when we don’t step away for a little bit of time to take a look at the reality of our own businesses.

We need time away to gain some clarity and to stop the habits that stop of from making changes.  Even taking one day away every so often can be a refreshing experience.  You’ll be ready to face the challenges.  And don’t tell me you are too busy, too important, or too anything else.  Even the President of the United States takes a vacation every once in awhile.
Second lesson – Remember what’s important.  We have four kids aged 2 1/2 months  to 6 years old.  In the regular day-to-day of life you end of disciplining, telling your kids “no” “stop” and who knows what else.  When you take this mindset to the beach you learn to relax a little.  We relax because we remember that when the kids do something we don’t necessarily like, it’s not because they are bad so often, it’s because they are figuring out their own way, testing the limits around them, etc.

We parents get upset because the kids don’t do it “our way.”  The lesson I pulled away was to remember what’s important – which isn’t much really.  Do I really need to directing what my kids are doing every moment and how they are doing it?   No.  What if they do it a different way?  So what.  So my message for this lesson is that when you are upset or frustrated with a situation, ask yourself – why am I frustrated?  What’s important?
Third lesson – be creative.  I like to think of myself as a pretty creative person already.  But I also learned there is plenty more creativity that I could be tapping into.  My daughter and I came up with a game to play on the beach with the incoming ocean waves.  There were very few rules, it didn’t require us to spend money on any materials and more importantly, it was a blast.

Take a look at your situation. How can you use your creativity to move you forward?  Can you do it without spending any money?  Remember, you can make the rules for your own success.

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What’s Your Niche?

May 19, 2009 - Leave a Response

by Matthew Best

So, what’s your niche?  It’s quite an intimidating question isn’t it?  I find that
very few people can truly identify what their niche is completely. Most entrepreneurs struggle with the idea of defining a niche – they are creative people and see any limitation, even if it’s self-imposed, as a violation of their freedom.  Can you see how this might be a conflict?

One of the biggest challenges that people have in defining their niche is that they don’t know how to.  I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve read on the importance of having a niche, but so few things are out there on how to go about defining a niche. Today is your lucky day though because I’m going to share with you the big secret.

First, identify the skill set that you are an expert in.  Is it finance, marketing,
coaching, internet-related activities, etc. Second, identify an industry that you want to work in. That’s it.  That’s all there is to it. So let’s say you are a financial planner.  Instead of trying to convince everyone in the world to work with you, you decide that you are going to work with real estate agents.  You apply your skill set to a specific industry.

Chances are that you will be much more successful than blanketing everyone.  Your message will be focused and you can focus on specific challenges that real estate agents are dealing with. So what’s your niche?

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