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Opportunity Knocks: 10 Ways to Make Sure 2013 is Your Year for Big, Positive Change

Here we are, it’s February 20th and you’d like to say that 2013 is looking to be a banner year. That you made the career change you’ve been dreaming about. That you took a leap of faith and finally launched or expanded your legal nurse consulting business. If 2013 is starting to look like the same old disappointments as 2012, don’t despair, 2013 can really be your year.

You are no different than every successful person you admire who one day declared, ‘This is my time. Today, I’m going to make my life better.’ And then they took action. Why not let 2013 be that time for you?

If you’re ready to make 2013 the year opportunity knocks on your door, then it’s time to implement these ten action steps:

  1. Go boldly after your BIG goals. When is the last time you set a goal and really went after it? Identify one “Big Thing” − a goal that connects you to your passion. Then do something every day toward that goal no matter how small.
  2. Be your own number one fan. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can an attorney believe in you? Believing you can do it − whatever ‘it’ is − is 90 percent of the win. When I walked into my first meeting with a potential client, my legs were literally shaking. I forced myself to remember that this attorney needed specialized knowledge that only I − a registered nurse − could give him. That reminder didn’t banish all of my nervousness, but it did enable me to make the points I wanted. And I walked out of that meeting with my first attorney-client. I learned that when you expand what you’re willing to believe about yourself, you can transform who you are and what your life looks like. Acknowledge your achievements and with humility, make sure that you’re keeping your name, your accomplishments and your skill set in front of the people that count.
  3. Don’t underprice yourself. The economy still isn’t great so I’d better lie low, you reason. This just seems like common sense. But settling for less than you’re worth is a big mistake − even in the wake of the Great Recession.In fact, if you’re underpricing yourself with attorneys, it might even cost you the opportunity. When I’m hiring, I actually weed out candidates who underprice themselves because I assume they won’t perform at the level I expect. A job candidate can actually lose credibility when she underprices herself.
  4. Make sure you stand out. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant and before you know it, your attorney-clients are viewing you as a commodity. Commodities are easy to obtain and easy to replace. And that’s certainly not how you want to be perceived. Do the unexpected; surprise your attorney-clients and do everything you can (and more) to ensure that you aren’t seen as interchangeable or dispensable.
  5. Network with big players. Generally, we tend to gravitate toward people who are similar to us: people who think similarly, who find similar things fun and who are in similar walks of life. That’s fine when it comes to friendships, but you need to aim higher when it comes to networking.In business, one of the main reasons people don’t get ahead is that they don’t get out of their groups. Make every effort to meet people who are a rung or two higher than you on the professional ladder. If you impress someone who is more successful than you are, they’ll have a lot more influence than someone whose position is equivalent to yours.
  6. Turn off cyberspace. There’s no greater blow to productivity than breaking your concentration to reply to an email as soon as it hits your inbox. Remember, no award will be handed out at the end of the day for the person who responded to the most emails the fastest. If you’re doing nothing but responding to email, you’re bouncing around like a pinball.Think of yourself as an ER nurse using her triage skills. Don’t start the surgery unless the patient is critical. Email doesn’t bleed out, doesn’t need defibrillation, and, unlike a critically ill patient, won’t expire if not tended to immediately.
  7. Break the feel-good addiction. In today’s world, we’re constantly sabotaged by nonproductive energy wasters. There are emails to read. Facebook statuses to update. Receipts to locate for that already-late expense report. Dishes to be washed. Files to be organized. And on, and on, and on. These are the easy, albeit often unproductive, tasks that make us feel good. They may not get you any closer to accomplishing your greater goals, but at least you’ve checked a couple of things off your to-do list.Unfortunately, this addiction comes at a high price, because that cheap check-mark high is guaranteed to frustrate, overwhelm and stress you out in the long term. By majoring in minor things, we never get to our big commitments. Breaking these addictions open the door to achievement. Remember, what you engage and focus on is where you will yield results.
  8. Set aside sacred “momentum time.” Momentum time is precious time you are able to set aside for yourself each day to work uninterrupted toward achieving your goals. To carve out time, examine every activity and decide how to eliminate it, delegate it, hire it out or do it faster.My office opens at 8:00am. Often by 7:50 there’s a line of penitents forming outside my door: employees asking for my input on projects, directors telling me why they won’t meet a deadline and the janitor asking me to diagnose a toenail fungus. Knowing this madness is coming, I use my quiet momentum time, the early morning hours before the office opens, to hunker down and work on those projects that need the most concentration.

    If part of your day is rarely interrupted (such as early morning or late evening), reserve it for momentum time. Keep your momentum time sacred. Use phrases such as, ‘I’ll be available in one hour. What time after that works best?’ Start your day with a two-hour uninterrupted chunk, then gradually add more two-hour momentum sessions each day. Claim your momentum time and you’ll find those lost hours you’ve been looking for.

  9. Surround yourself with mentors. There are two ways to develop the skills, habits and mindsets that you’ll need to achieve wicked success as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. The first is to go it alone and learn by trial and error in the school of hard knocks. The second (much smarter) path is to learn from others who have encountered and surmounted problems that are similar to your own. That being the case, surround yourself with as many mentors as possible and practice the skills they pass on to you.I’ve been in business for three decades, and I still learn every day from my students, staff, writers, speakers, business experts and more. Aggressive learning is a competitive advantage in achieving any desired goals.
  10. Safeguard your momentum. Accept that you won’t please everyone. Someone is bound to be unhappy about the changes you make to focus on your Big Thing. A friend might get upset because you can no longer meet for lunch on Wednesdays. Your spouse might complain because you won’t run his errands on a weekday. Bottom line, they’ll get over it. Stop feeling guilty and stay true to your goals. Surround yourself with friends, family and peers who support your vision. Discard all discouraging messages. These are your passions and goals, not anyone else’s.

You can’t snap your fingers and suddenly become successful. And the successful people you envy weren’t able to do that either. They worked for it. They set big goals. They didn’t settle for small-time achievements. Opportunity will knock if you make the same big commitments.

I’m just sayin’

P.S. Comment here and share your “Big Thing” for 2013.

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*The opinions and statements made by Vickie Milazzo, the founder of Medical-Legal Consulting Institute, Inc. are based on her experiences and expertise, should not be applied beyond the specific context provided, and do not guaranty or project actual results. Vickie Milazzo is no longer involved in the operations or management of the business, but is involved as an independent education consultant.

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