The Climb Up Mt. Disappointment

Everybody knows that the path to success isn’t all daisies and sunshine. It’s a challenge! It’s a trial by fire and the rules are always changing. Achieving success is a mountain you have to climb, and if you’re a novice, that often means a lot of disappointment along the way.

Enter Mt. Disappointment, L.A., California.

View from Mt. Disappointment

View from Mt. Disappointment

Honestly! There is a mountain in California named Mt. Disappointment, so-called because when the land surveyors in 1875 climbed what they thought was the highest peak in the L.A. Basin, they realized upon reaching the summit that there was in fact a higher mountain just to the south. The surveyors then had to pack all of their equipment, descend the mountain that had just climbed and then ascend an even higher mountain. Whether it was in jest or they were that frustrated, the first mountain was named Mt. Disappointment.

However, the mountain hasn’t gone to waste. Since its naming, the peak was flattened and in the 1950′s it was used for a Nike missile base. There is also now a service road that connects Mt. Disappointment and its rival, San Gabriel, for avid hikers. The loop is famed for being difficult, but incredibly scenic. Those who are up to the challenge of reaching San Gabriel’s peak are rewarded with views of Mt. Baldy (yes, Mt. Baldy), the L.A. Basin, Strawberry Peak, the San Fernando Valley and the Hollywood Hills.

Mt. Disappointment is certainly more functional than fun, but it’s purpose has been served. Without that initial, albeit anti-climactic ascent, the surveyors wouldn’t have discovered the more impressive opportunities afforded by San Gabriel. Sure it was disappointing, yes it was frustrating, but it wasn’t a waste of time to climb Mt. Disappointment. The surveyors were where everyone who has been a beginning entrepreneur or a start-up business have been. To find the next bigger and better success, you have to overcome some serious disappointments. But each disappointment gets you closer and closer to your next achievement.

How to Use New Year’s Resolutions to Enhance your Business

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The clock is ticking and the ball is about to drop, but don’t drop the ball when it comes to your business! This is the perfect time to reevaluate your business and think about how to help your business improve in 2016. The first few weeks are critical when it comes to implementing new systems to improve communication, increase accountability and set new goals to help you and your business rise above the ashes and come back stronger than ever!

While you might be setting new fitness goals (who doesn’t want to shed a couple pounds or get a little healthier?) on your personal time, don’t forget to set goals at work either. But studies have found that a majority of goals are not reached or simply failed within the first month of the new year. Why? We have a habit of setting unattainable goals for ourselves and we lose motivation. The enthusiasm fails and we crash and burn like a dying firecracker. Don’t fall into the trap of setting too many lofty goals at once.  Instead, set a few short term goals that can be reached easily in the first few weeks. Then, reward yourself and your office for reaching that goal! Continue setting goals that are increasingly long term and rewarding success. Maintaining that momentum will make goals seem less arduous and more attainable.

Nip things in the bud. Resolve problems that you encountered in the last year and figure out a strategy to avoid those mistakes again. When you take time to review the previous year (as much as you may want to run full tilt into 2016), you give yourself an opportunity to analyze what you did that worked, what failed, and what has yet to be accomplished. Take a hard look at your budget, as well, and reevaluate where your priorities lie. If you wan to grow, sometimes you have to cut back here and there. But in the long run, you’ll benefit. Go into the new year with goals, not regrets!

The last thing you have to consider is your professional relationships with clients. Don’t let “old acquaintances be forgot,” and fall by the wayside. Take time this new year to get back in touch with old clients and reestablish those relationships. Update them on your progress. Let them know what exciting new plans your company has for the new year. Make them feel remembered and wanted. At the same time, revamp your social networking and pare down to a few vital and manageable tools. If you use a dozen different resources but are wasting time and money to keep up, scale down to five or six outlets. And while you’re at it, update your website! Make it stand out and make your presence known!

Set the bar high this new year. If you set attainable goals, focus on improving, and stay connected and modern, you’re sure to have a year to remember.

From all of us at Fast Trak Inc, Happy New Year!

Office Politics: Tips and Tricks

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Today we’re surrounded by debates en masse. Pundits stand before us pontificating on what they have over their opponent. Ugly slurs are thrown from one side of the room to the other. No, this isn’t about the 2016 Presidential Race. This is happening in your office with your co-workers.

To say that you don’t get involved with office politics is like saying you don’t really “get” this wearing shoes thing that the kids are doing. No matter what the environment, when several personalities gather and everyone has their own opinions and motives, there will inevitably be some some controversy. There are always those people who excel and those who out of jealousy or resentment will envy them their success. There are those people who seem to have an abundance of pet peeves and want to voice their opinions to anyone who will listen. There are bullies. There are doormats. All of these intersecting personalities breed a political hotbed of good, bad, and ugly. Everybody is involved in office politics, and prior to popular belief, there are ways to use office politics to your advantage.

First, pay attention. Listen for those hot-button topics that tend to send co-workers into a rage. Listen for the conversations that everyone is passionate about. Keep an eye on who is invited to important meetings and how often that occurs. Take notice of who seems to know more faster. More difficult is paying attention to the people who aren’t so well-included. These Titanics-in-miniature are falling behind and can sometimes be the source of petty drama. You’re not running from these people so much as noticing their strengths, weaknesses and alliances and then playing the game accordingly. If you notice a group spends a lot of time having lunch with the supervisor or works on bigger projects, find ways to get to know them better.

The next thing to consider is how to form alliances around your office. Think of it like rock climbing. You want as many stable footholds as you can find. Positioning yourself with this strategy ensures that if one alliance falls through, you’ll have several other options to rely on. Having your foot in so many doors also ensures that you are seen as a reliable and flexible person who several people are willing to work with.

It’s also important to consider that timeless mantra, also known as the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Would you want others talking about you behind your back? Would you appreciate being passed over for a project or promotion based on what someone said they had seen you do? Also try to keep things in terms of win-win. Just because office politics exist, doesn’t mean someone has to always be a loser. Being the person that others can look to as a problem-solver and a fair judge will help you get ahead and avoid any negative work talk.

And unfortunately, negative talk is as commonplace as paperclips in any office. The only way to control it is to be mindful of it and avoid fanning the controversial flames. Simply standing by while a co-worker goes behind someone’s back or manipulates others is just as bad as if you were the guilty party. Speaking up is the fastest way to avoid a huge problem later.

With that strategic mindset, you want to remain goal-oriented. Keep your emotions out of your work relations as much as possible. You’ll be building bridges quickly and activities like backstabbing and manipulating burns them faster than you can reinforce them. Build strong, solid relationships with several people and you’ll really go places, so to speak.

To wrap up, office politics are cumbersome, but they are inevitable. But rather than rolling over and being another innocent bystander, using these tactics will help you navigate the worst of it and come out on top.

One Thing to Keep in Mind at Your Holiday Party

The holiday season is in full swing, and everyone from the Fortune 500 businesses to your local post office are throwing holiday parties. In a modern and educated society, it’s important to recognize that there are several diverse holidays this time of year. It’s also important to remember that not everyone celebrates any holiday in particular.

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So what’s a party planning committee to do?

Huffington Post recommends remembering to keep the party inclusive and light on any one cultural influence. One of the biggest problems with holiday parties is that they are often inundated with Christmas imagery or games like Secret Santa that alienate employees who don’t feel any connection to the Christmas holiday. But that doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a Festivus pole. Instead, use the party as more of an opportunity to build team spirit and draw people together.

Gift exchanges can still be done, that party platter of treats and finger foods is,  of course, more than welcome! The event doesn’t have to be sterilized of everything festive: decorations are okay! You don’t have to be “PC” until it hurts. But keeping the focus off one culture when several others in the room might feel excluded will keep things enjoyable for everyone. Celebrate a successful year and share how much you’re all looking forward to the next one.

That said, there are a few things to keep in mind when you attend your company’s holiday party.

 

For the employees, be sure to read the invitation carefully for notes on dress codes, the time the party starts and finishes and any other unique details. It’s also important to be clear on the company’s policy regarding guests. Companies are given limited budgets for parties, so if your “plus one” turns into “plus five,” you’re creating a problem. You’ll also want to monitor how much you are drinking so that you do not embarrass yourself or your company and so that you remember having a great time!

For the employers, be very specific in your invitations. Cover all the bases so that there is no confusion later on. Set the limits on the number of drinks your guests are allowed and the number of people they may bring. Making sure everyone has a relaxing and fun time is important, but maintaining control is important, too. And finally, ensure that everyone is safe. The venue should be nice, but you should also make sure everyone has a way to get home safely whether that’s arranging for a taxi service at the end of the night or organizing a carpool and designated drivers.

Overall, it’s the season to relax, have fun and celebrate with those you work with. You see your co-workers and employees on a nearly daily basis. They are your team. They are what make your business a success. Don’t be afraid to spread the cheer and make sure that everyone is just as merry and bright as you!hparty

 

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