Millimeter Change is Good for the Stuck!

You ever felt stuck? No matter what you do your self-control never seems to kick in. My "millimeter" approach to change is invaluable to getting out of feeling stuck somewhere. Let's say you're in a bad relationship. You want out. You feel stuck -- for financial, emotional -- it doesn't matter what is the reason. You feel you cannot leave. It's too scary. It's too big to take it on. What will you do? Where will you go? Start first with this question: what is the no. #1 thing holding you back? If it's related to financial then you need to do what you might do if you were wanting to leave a job for the same reason. Start a "millimeter" savings plan. You don't have to save a "fortune" to make a change. You start very small. You look at your budget. Then you create a "millimeter" savings plan. What can you spare PER DAY not a LARGE amount of time. Make everything small. Shrink it down. Is it .50 cents? Then set aside .50 cents a day even if it means putting two quarters in a big jar. Make a goal to pay firs and last month's rent or even a down payment. If it's for career, six months of salary is safe. Do it each and every day. Keep your eye on the "millimeter" amount NOT the large amount. You will be surprised how fast your goal is accomplished one "millimeter" contribution per day.

The "Millimeter" One-Minute Rule

Some people are very reactionary. They knee-jerk responses to just about anything that is said or done. These people are typically "drama" people. Without careful thought or consideration, their sudden reactions guide their lives and the responses of those people around them. You may not recognize you are a drama person. Let me ask you this, do you constantly have something major going on? You're always stressed out and reacting to just about anything that happens. You make mountains out of mole hills. No one is going to judge you here. If this sounds familiar then I have some wonderful advice that will only take one, small extra minute to start to change your life and reduce your stress and "drama". 
When something happens, give yourself the one-minute timeout. Take one minute and don't just react. Instead take a deep breath. Think about what you want to do or say. It's not magic and it's no hard. It only requires a conscious choice to think vs. react. Reactions are often reflexive. Reflex responses are not always the best choices. BUT take a deep breath. Guess what that does, too. It re-oxygenates your brain. It gives you a moment to reflect. A reflective choice is ALWAYS better than a knee-jerk response. Give it a try. It's simple. You'll notice almost immediate results. When you're not giving the other person stimulus watch how that immediately improves their response, too. It's just a small "millimeter" tip to reduce stress and drama.

Start by Making some New Year's Resolutions

Resolutions are really goals. We just call them resolutions. When you make a New Year's Resolution you are actually "resolving" to do something. Have you made yours yet? It's time to think about how to improve your life somehow. We can all improve something, right? Whether it's personal or professional, time for change. Just remember "millimeter" changes are easy. So think of it this way: resolutions are easy if you do them the "millimeter" way. What's yours going to be? Just go forward and know you can do anything! Believe in yourself! Know you can do it. "Resolve" to do it.

Change Starts with a Decision

The smallest or "millimeter" way to change is simple: make a decision. You can't get on the road to change until you make a decision. It's the smallest way to get moving toward what you want to do. Acting passive is unlikely to get you where you want to go. Yes, sometimes things fall into place, but realize they can't come to you unless you invite them. So whatever the change (big or small) needs to start with you and your choices. Are you going to continue what you're doing and "hope" something changes or are you going to decide to make things happen. You'll find the very act of "deciding" can immediately shift your perspective and invite the right kinds of things to come into your life. Whether it's subconscious or conscious, once you've decided it's almost like taking off blinders. Have you ever noticed that when you think about something you'll start noticing similar things around you? Making an active decision is the first "millimeter" step in the right direction. So make a decision!

Tips to Make and Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

How many of your New Year's Resolutions have you kept? Maybe you can't keep your resolutions because you've made them too big or lofty, and they seem out of reach. Using my "millimeter" approach to change, your resolutions are not only achievable but easily done.
Tip #1: Make daily resolutions -- what does that mean? You do things on a daily basis to achieve your annual goal. You don't make, say, a resolution to lose 50 pounds and then try and lose 50 pounds in a week or even a month. You do one thing a day to help you achieve your overall resolution. Maybe that one thing is to stop eating dessert with every meal. Maybe that one thing is to cut one portion at every meal in half. Start with the small goals to achieve the big changes. (Hint: daily scale watching will not make your goal come any faster. Be patient and make small resolutions to step on the scale weekly or even monthly). Also, weight loss should be about getting healthy and feeling better so focus on what you're eating and how much you're eating.
Tip #2: Persist -- even if you're persisting in the small goals and doing them daily at least you're staying the course. Persistence is the overall key to just about any success. Most things with enough time and pressure (think about Andy's escape hole in Shawshank Redemption) just take consistent work even if it's a small hole dug each day. Giving up is what leads to failure not continuing to try.
Tip #3: Believe you can do it -- some things whether big or small all start in a person's belief in themselves. Daily reinforcement and doing small things each day reinforce our abilities to do something -- anything. And in just the very effort of "doing" is making it "become" what you want. So believe you can do it and if you have to look in the mirror and say it every day, "I can do it!" then do so. Self-empowerment starts with you being your very own fan and supporter.

Being Thankful for Change

It's Thanksgiving and time to think about gratitude and thanks. As has been the theme of this blog, I am always talking about "millimeter" changes. Smaller and more doable changes make it easier to accomplish anything -- and I mean anything. When change becomes less scary and less challenging, it is easier to accomplish. Using my "millimeter" technique breaks it down and makes it even rewarding. Because change can be very rewarding. It can bring new things and people into your life. Be grateful for what it brings. Don't be afraid. You never know where small and big changes will lead you -- and sometimes it's nowhere close to what you expected, but it can be somewhere even better. This Thanksgiving be grateful for your family, friends and your life.

How to Remove Obstacles to Change: A "Millimeter" at a Time

Most people don't make change because all they see are obstacles or reasons "why not" vs. "why not". Obstacles or reasons not to change can be removed a "millimeter" at a time. For example, let's say you want to change careers or start a business, but the thought seems impossible. I don't have enough money. I don't know anything about starting a business. I don't know how. 
Each reason can be easily removed with my "millimeter" technique. Write down each obstacle. One day at a time, do something to remove that obstacle until it's gone. Let's take the most common reason people don't do things -- lack of money. Write that down on your obstacle list. Then much like one of those commercials where you can sponsor something or make payments, figure out how much money out of your paycheck you can set aside and save specifically to start a business or change careers or even go back to school. Begin the "millimeter process" of saving. If it's easier do something as simple as put a $1 a day. Keep saving and give yourself daily, monthly or even annual goals. Best advice: save at least six months worth of your current salary to get you properly started and give you enough time to make money -- a millimeter at a time.

It's Never too Late to Change

The old adage "you can't teach a dog new tricks" just isn't true -- especially when you use my "millimeter" approach to anything. Small changes are possible for anyone of any age. The only thing you really have to shift is your perspective and attitude not the possibility of it. Small, daily changes don't require a whole new way of doing everything or even thinking about something. Millimeter changes don't challenge your comfort zone -- to much ... just a little bit. The reason some dogs don't like new tricks is because of that aforementioned challenge to one's comfort. But when you do very minor shifts on a daily basis it's a "little less" uncomfortable. Even if that change, for example, is for a technophobe to just start by turning on the Smart Phone. Then the next day, trying just one thing (like texting) on the Smart Phone. Do that for a week or two, and then do something like try to go on the Internet. You see, if it's a small effort it's not so daunting, is it? Even for a technophobe.

Millimeter Changes or More of the Same?

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” -Tony Robbins

That quote if you never heard it before is very illuminating. People often do the same thing over and over again, and they mistakenly believe they'll get something different. It's akin to writing the wrong address on the envelope every time and continuing to get "return to sender" and not understanding why. It's also like math 1 + 1 = 2
Why do we keep doing the same things over and over and expecting a different outcome? Because it's comfortable. We know how to do it. We avoid change. Trying something new though will give you a different outcome -- and the outcome is unknown. Maybe that's why people don't try. They don't know what to expect.
Using the my "millimeter" system of one little change at a time makes doing that one thing different not quite some scary. A small change a day or even a week is like an experiment. It gives you room to slowly watch and see what the different outcomes could be. Does that scare you? Doing something small vs. big or even huge gives you room to see what it could be like if you do it differently. Why not start today with just one small change -- and get that first different outcome.

Persistent is the Power of Success

“Never, never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill

One thing about the "millimeter" philosophy is that it pushes you through continual small changes to persist -- daily. Persistence is how most people succeed. Overnight success doesn't exist. No one is an overnight success no matter what is the perception. I guarantee you those people persisted and stuck with it -- what "it" was to them. Using my "millimeter" approach you can persist with diligence through steady pressure. Each "millimeter" step is really about persisting and staying with your goals whatever those might be. You keep going. You keep doing those "small" changes each day. Even if it's as simple as making a phone call or doing one small task -- it all adds up. And pretty soon you have "persisted" your way toward the big goal. Persistence one "millimeter" at a time will pay off. Just stay the course.

What You DO Have Power Over

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” – Steve Maraboli

We don't have control over other people. We don't have control over events. Sometimes we don't have any control at all. You do have control over yourself. You do have the ability to make powerful changes in your life. Even what we perceive as too much, too big, or too many can be done using my "millimeter" approach to change. People look at the big picture, and they think, "I can't get THERE! I don't even know how." But when you think about it in daily steps and slowly each day move toward it in "millimeter" steps before you know it, you're there. Big picture thinking is visionary. Millimeter thinking is like the jigsaw puzzle to that big vision. Each day put a piece in place. As each piece goes into place the big picture becomes clearer and more precise. Even if it's a 500 piece puzzle, a piece a day always eventually leads to the completed project -- it just might take 500 days. Remember, you have the power. You have the ability. You have control over what YOU do. With that self-empowerment and a great vision, you can get there a millimeter at a time.

Promoting Your Business -- the "Millimeter" Way

Are you one of those business owners who thinks they have to hire a big PR firm to promote business? Is it because you don't know where to start? Public relations can be broken down into smaller or "millimeter" techniques that won't overwhelm your time.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a FREE service you can sign up to use. It send thrice daily queries from major publications. It lists categories of requests (e.g., Travel, Business and Finance, Lifestyle). Major publications such as Forbes or Success Magazine editors post what information they want for a story. You can simply answer their requests. If they like what they read, they will either interview you or ask you questions. You could have an interview in national media. Did you have to write and release a press release? No. It's easy to respond to questions, right? 

How To Brighten Anyone’s Day

As a practicing orthodontist, I am passionate about helping people achieve the smile of their dreams.  My 30-years experience in the field is what prompted me to write my book, It's All About Millimeters: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Impact in Your Business and Your life. I saw how small, millimeter changes in a patient’s bite and smile, made an enormous difference in their self-esteem and opportunities for their lives.

I am not suggesting that in order to brighten someone’s day you need to be an orthodontist!  However, in my practice, it is all about smiles. And smiles brighten the world.

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always smiling make you smile too when you speak with them?  Did you notice that they smile even when confronted with an irritated customer, client or patient? 

I have a staff member like this at our front desk who handles all the appointments.  She is always smiling, even when a parent or patient is upset about something.  Even on the phone speaking with people she is smiling.

I love her can-do attitude and her ability to make others smile (me too) just because she is smiling.

This is another example of using millimeters to make a difference.  A simple smile.

Try it today, right now. Smile more, smile often and share your smile and see how the world around you will smile back. You will brighten other people’s day and your day too will feel that much better

Staying Organized in Small Steps

Are you always on the fly? Can't keep your schedule straight. You're moving at the speed of light, and when you arrive at your destination or your business meeting only to find you forgot something. Maybe you feel like you're only partially prepared, but inevitably you always have something you missed. Want to know a simple "millimeter" strategy to fix the problem and reduce stress?

Prepare once! Create a checklist of items. Spend a few hours and organize "kits". Make about 10-20 kits based on the checklist. Whatever materials you'll need for the average meeting or presentation, use a kit and have it on standby. The kit should include:
  • Business Cards
  • Brochures or information sheets
  • Sign-up sheets to create mailing lists (when it applies)
  • Background on your business
  • Any material you might need to sell or give away (products, books or coupons)
Take your kits, place them in a briefcase or a professional-looking carriers. Leave it in the trunk of your car. Here is the tidbit of added advantage: you'll make a first-rate impression on your customers or clients when you pull out a well-organized kit and hand him/her that information. You'll look organized and on top of your game. This small change in your organization will make a BIG change in your stress levels and make you look professional, too.

Do You Do This?

I was recently on a very long flight from Dublin to Chicago and had an opportunity to watch a movie starring Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron.  In the movie Keanu plays, Nelson, a workaholic-advertising executive who meets Sara (Theron) while taking a DMV test to renew his license. Without going into much detail (you need to see this movie), Sara is the exact opposite of the hard-driving Nelson. 

She convinces Nelson to spend a month with her to “help” him. 

Sara is a remarkable example of a "millimeter approach" to life.

She looks at the small joys in life, walking and running on a beach with dogs, home-cooked meals, encouraging a local boy without a dad, knowing all her local neighbors, and enjoying the simplest yet extraordinary things in life.

That is what a “millimeter approach” is all about.

Do you stop and see the small, but extraordinary things around you? 

Do you have time for helping others, getting to know your neighbors, or just taking a walk on a beach around the neighborhood or on a beautiful trail?

Hey, I am guilty of NOT doing this, and the beauty of this movie, brought me back to the reality of life. It is the “millimeters” around us, the small moments, experiences that bring us the most joy. With our plugged-in and tuned-out world, we all need these “millimeter” moments daily in our lives. 

Will you join me?

Three Things We Do To Sabotage Our Health

Recently I have been so busy that I told my husband the other day that it felt like finals week in college, but instead of being a week of all-nighters and extreme quantities of caffeine, it is more like a college quarter of late nights, poor sleep, no exercise and bad eating habits.

Sound familiar?

Sometimes your business or your job requires you to spend serious amounts of time and energy delivering products or services to your customers, clients or patients.  Since the economy is still in a recovering mode, when business shows up you take it.

Unfortunately, we sometimes overestimate our ability to get it all done and still take care of our families and ourselves. Typically the first thing that suffers is our routines regarding our health and wellness.

The three things I see most entrepreneurs and business owners do under these circumstances that sabotages their health is to eat and drink foods that are not particular healthy for them, reduce sleep time, and forget to exercise.

These three things if prolonged beyond a week or quarter of  “finals” will ultimately hurt you both physically and mentally.

As a proponent of a “millimeter approach” to health and wellness here are my three tips to help you stay healthy when you have a “finals” week, month or quarter.

#1 make sure you have plenty of fresh fruit, veggies and salad ingredients in your refrigerator so you can easily grab a healthy snack or throw together a healthy salad quickly without having to get the pots and pans out. Another idea is to make a big pot of soup on a Sunday that can be enjoyed several days with some hearty bread. This type of food will keep your energy levels high so you can avoid the Red Bull, Coffee and Espresso overload.

#2 If you are not sleeping well or just a few hours a night, make sure on the weekends you get a chance to catch up either via a daytime nap or just getting to bed earlier on a Saturday night. If you are traveling on airplanes, learn to nap during the flight.  This is my preferred method of catching up on my sleep. Studies show how napping can improve your cardiovascular health and wellness and keep you alert and refreshed.

#3 No time for exercise?  Carve out even 10 minutes a day to take a walk, stretch or just do push-ups, sit-ups and squats.  If you get another 10 minutes later in the day repeat. 

Using a “millimeter” approach to maintaining your health and wellness, you will find it much easier to stay on the program even during times of stress, excessive workloads and “finals”.

Work-Life Balance in Millimeters

A common complaint, especially among women, is time. I don't have enough time for my personal life. How do you achieve work-life balance? One "millimeter" a time, of course. How you ask? Starting very small. If you find yourself with no personal time at the end of a hectic day or every day, then make a small change. Do just one thing a day just for you. If it's take a bubble bath, do it. If it's ride a bike for 30 minutes, do it. If it's cook a meal because that relaxes you, do it. If it's go get a pedicure, do it. Set aside 30 minutes or more if you can, but just 30 minutes just for you. Even if that means closing your bedroom door for 30 minutes and shutting your eyes. Just do it! It doesn't have to be a BIG step just a small one.

The Truth About Millimeters

People ask me all the time why do I use the term “millimeters?”  Why not “inches?”  After all, in the United States, where I live, the metric system is not the standard measurement system.

My answer is simply this; it is what I have been using for over 30 years to evaluate the success of patients’ orthodontic cases.  A “millimeter” of overbite, cross bite, or rotation in my world is a big deal and often means the difference between exceptional results versus a good result.  Most of my patients (and I believe most people) want the best results possible when it comes to their bites and smiles.  Hence, we measure everything in “millimeters” which are very small, but very significant.

With that analogy in place, you can see why I talk about millimeters as a way of improving our business, our professional practices, our careers and our lives.

Most of us usually try to accomplish 12 things a day, maybe get two done and feel like a failure and often just give up.

When you focus on just small “millimeter” steps at a time, you will be able to achieve your goals and see progress. It is the small steps taken each and everyday that will pave the way to the success you are looking to achieve in your business and your life.

A patient once said to me, “that must be tough Dr. Galante, measuring your results in millimeters all the time?”

I paused and thought about it and answered back, “actually I am quite lucky to have to think about millimeters of tooth movement, because I know that it will make your smile the best it can be and I believe if more people looked at the very small things in their lives that are significant, their would be a lot more happiness and joy in their lives.”

You see it is the small things, “the millimeters” in life that ultimately bring us the most joy and happiness.  Think about this today.  Write down a few of your greatest pleasures, the things that make you smile and feel good. 

I would love to hear about your millimeter stories here on my blog or you can email me at

The One-Step at a "Millimeter" Rule

All businesses go through hiccups. Much like life, nothing is perfect. Sometimes as you go through growing pains, you have to adjust and scale your business. One of the great rules is to always get ahead of situations ... at a "millimeter" at a time.

Sometimes a business situation can seem monumental. You have an entire system to learn or re-learn as the case maybe. How do you avoid overwhelm? One step, one task, one system at a time. You incrementally walk your way through a system or process. Stay focused on the task at-hand. Do not look ahead. Just focus on one thing at a time (my millimeter approach). As you master the task, move to the next one. Pretty soon you will have the entire system mastered. It may not take an hour. It may take a day ... a week. But stick with it until you've mastered it one task at a time.

Persistence and consistence -- the two key rules of getting something completely done.

Try This Today

I recently had an amazing experience while renting a car from Enterprise.  An energetic, passionate young woman helped me with my rental, and I was so impressed with her customer service skills that I actually offered her a job in California working for me as an administrative assistant.

I honestly did not expect her to take it (I was in Ohio renting the car and Cincinnati is her home town.)  But what did happen helped me remember how important it is to recognize people in our everyday interactions.

Unfortunately in today’s world, we tend to remember all the negative outcomes or negative experiences. With review sites that promote negative reviews such as YELP, there is now more and more focus on what is “wrong” with a service provider or product than focusing on what is right.

Maybe I am naïve, but I believe most people get up each day and want to have a great day and help their customers, clients and patients. Of course, some people give up sooner or just do not have the energy or focus to sustain a customer-centric attitude all day.

My proposal today is to try to make a change in the collective atmosphere that focuses on all the “bad” and start handing out praises to people we encounter all day long.

Try it starting today.

Learn How Change Can Become Your Friend

Can change really be your friend?

Yes, absolutely, when you take it a “millimeter” at a time.  Most of us who set goals make them with the intention of achieving them. However, somewhere along the way, we either hit roadblocks, realized the goals might have been too large to tackle at this time, or just give-up and rationalize that “I really never wanted (fill in the blank).”

The truth is, you can achieve all your goals and more by using my “millimeter” approach.  In my book, It’s All About Millimeters: How Small Changes can have a Big Impact in Your Business and Your Life, there are case studies of business owners who made small, but significant changes consistently overtime to improve their bottom lines. Misty Young, a brand restaurant owner, realized that the employees, who had been working at the restaurant she just purchased, needed ongoing training.

By providing training via videos that she produced, one at a time, she was able to build a library of videos to help current and new employees learn excellent customer service skills. Misty knew there were many things that needed to get done right away with her restaurant, but she chose to take a “millimeter” approach so that she could achieve her goals and get the change she was seeking for her restaurant and employees, and ultimately the health of her restaurant.

What small change can you implement today to improve your business, career or personal life?  Start with ONE small goal a day (or even ONE a week) and see how change can become your best friend.

Is It Time To Reinvent Yourself?

Back in 2008 our orthodontic practice growth came to a screeching halt. In fact, it was worse than that -- it was more like being catapulted off a very tall mountain.

Imagine being on a beautiful scenic road in your favorite vehicle, enjoying the view and your driving companion and feeling on the top of the world, and then suddenly without warning, your car careens off the side of the road down a mountain in free-fall.

Not a great feeling, right?  Scary, no doubt, especially when you did not see it coming.

 Well that is what happened to us in 2008. We had just moved our orthodontic practice into a brand new building that we purchased in 2007.  We took out a huge loan to pay for the building and the tenant improvements, but felt 100-percent confident our practice would continue to grow now that we had the additional space.

Within a period of about six months of our November 2007 relocation, our practice declined 30 percent, which meant some serious economic changes for us personally as well as our employees.
In my book, It’s All About Millimeters, I share this story in more detail and the ultimate “turnaround” of our practice. One of the most important things we did to bring our practice back and regain all we lost and continue to grow each year since 2010 was simply to reinvent ourselves. 

By focusing on a “millimeter” approach, we decided to “niche” our practice and standout from the crowd of 30 other orthodontists in our area.  This process of focusing on a particular “niche” and changing the way we provided orthodontic services helped us recover and get back on the track for double-digit growth that has continued despite ongoing economic uncertainty.  

The “millimeter” approach to reinvention can help you make those changes needed to succeed in your business, your career, and even in your personal life.

Building Blocks to Big Dreams

A lot of people who experience what is commonly called "overnight success" will tell you there was nothing "overnight" about it. Most people who ultimately succeed and "make it" are those who played the game. They didn't give up. The persisted and stayed with it. A really good technique to stick in there is to use my "millimeter approach" and each day do something to move your dream just a little forward. A lot of people will commonly say they have no time for this or that. But if you use "millimeter" time, you just need to do one little thing each day to push your goal. And it doesn't matter what your goal is -- big or small or even lofty.  
So let's take for example, you want to write a book. Where do you start? Using my "millimeter" technique, you start small. Make your first day the title. You create a title. Make your second day the table of contents. Make your third day, a page or maybe even a chapter. Each step of the day, make small goals. Each small goal will eventually add up to the big goal. And the big goal will add up to success.

Yes or No?

"For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." ~ Steve Jobs 

Steve Jobs, the icon of Apple Computer and other stellar companies, knew change was critical to happiness and success. He didn't fear it. He embraced it, and he sought it out. He understood what some people do not -- that changing something leads to good things. If you're not happy with how something is, then do what Jobs did -- go after changing it. A friend of mine says this, you're the only one in your casket. It's true. No one else is going to that grave with you. It's your life. It's not your friend's life. It's not your husband/wife's life. It's yours. Are you going to live it the way you dreamed? Are you going to accept the status quo? Are you going to be happy, indifferent or sad? Because every single day is an opportunity to do it differently ... to be different ... to change the course. If you can't look in the mirror and answer that question with "yes" then it's time to change the direction. And if you follow my "millimeters approach" then you know it isn't going to require a huge step to do it, but a small one! A very small one.

The Biggest Lesson in Business

What do they call it, expensive lessons you don't want to learn. Many times in business you have to be prepared to shift directions or revamp business models.  On this blog, I teach about small changes for big results. The best lesson and least expensive is to be agile and flexible enough to shift course when things aren't working. It's when you get stuck in a mode or method and become inflexible, costly mistakes don't get resolve any sooner.
Let's apply that to a vendor relationship. Say you're working with a vendor who no matter what happens (hidden fees are largely the culprit), what they say they're going to charge you and the actual bill never adds up -- and it's never in your favor. What do you do? Keep accepting unacceptable business practices because maybe they've been your go-to vendor? Maybe you feel stuck with them for whatever reason? 
Do you just keep paying the bill that perhaps eats your small net profit margin? No, you take small steps to either confront the vendor or change vendors. You start with the small step. Confront the vendor. Question the invoice. Hidden fees are culprits for eating your profits. If the vendor refuses to change or compensate you, do you give them another chance? No. If the vendor accepts responsibility, do you give them another chance? Yes. If they do it again then you change directions and find someone else (ever heard of fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me?). Accepting the unacceptable takes businesses down a road toward reduced margins. It's not smart business. And one small phone call should determine your choices to change directions.

Promoting Change

Dr. Donna Galante speaks to writers about how she wrote her book.
Dr. Donna Galante appeared at the Sacramento Writers Who Mean Business to discuss how she came up with the idea to write It's All About Millimeters. She discussed with writers her ideas about taking small, incremental steps to get projects done. A point she eloquently made is that if you take each step, one at a time, you will achieve your goal. Almost every goal in life can be broken down into smaller steps. Small steps when put together into one big picture (especially if done daily) can make all of the difference to achieve a big goal. Tip: make it your mission to do ONE thing a day to achieve a goal. Just one thing -- that's all it takes. Then persist -- persistence is key.

Millimeter Survival Tips

If you're a business owner then you know the joys and perils involved. Your company's survival in the last few years has been based most likely on your ability to adjust. Business ebbs and flows, but the right attitude prevails when business does more ebbing than flowing. If you look around at the businesses still standing through the recession you will find they probably have one thing in common -- they survived through change. 
How do you survive through change? You change with it. Now you don't have to move away from your core business. You just have to "millimeter" it AKA tweak it. Let's give you an example. If you're selling high-end widgets to a market where the upper middle class is dwindling and the demand for high-end widgets diminishing then you just need a different widget. It's not that people don't need your widgets. They are now working on a different budget. So for your survival you have to reposition your widget and move your price point to meet market requirements. You might lose a little of your profit margin, but focus on selling different widgets with different price points. Find a way to sell widgets more direct so you can retain a greater percentage of your profits.
Millimeter thinkers don't think in "mile-high" thoughts. They take what they have and they tweak it to fit the current climate. Again, think about what businesses survived the Great Recession. How did they survive? Did they just change their widget or maybe even redirect their sales to a different part of the market that will still thriving?

Going with the Flow of Change

Being open to change is good. Sometimes if you're open to opportunities and exploring things will just fall into place. In business when you have a problem open yourself up to allowing the solution to come to you. Here is a brief case study. 
The assistant of a business had so many schedule conflicts, he was unable to get the job done. It wasn't that he did a bad job, but it wasn't a great job either. The business owner wasn't sure whether to fire him, but he was really great at certain parts of the job. One day the business owner was talking to another assistant. The conversation shifted, and the new assistant had solutions to every single one of the manager's problems. Right then the manager realized a solution had been presented. Did he let the first assistant go and replace him? The business owner decided to focus on the first assistant's strengths and move him to a new positions. Then the business owner seized the opportunity and grabbed the solution to hire the second manager -- everybody wins. 
The key is "millimeter" management. Being open to change the current situation without being drastic. Firing the first manager without a solution is drastic. Allowing a solution to present itself is "millimeter" management. Be open to take small steps that lead to bigger changes, and the rest will have a way of working out.

You Happen to Change

"Your life doesn't get better by chance, it gets better by change." ~ John Rohn

Nothing stays exactly the same. You can put something stagnant in a stagnant place and even at the molecular level it changes. Ironically while change is inevitable some people often fight it. Using my "millimeter" approach, it makes it easier to embrace change. When you think about putting an object down in a place, change goes on all around it even if it's at that molecular level. By embracing change and actually "guiding" (control is an illusion) you will feel empowered by it vs. afraid of it. Conscious choice. Conscious decisions. Conscious change toward improvement and betterment can liberate you. You're not letting change happen to you, you happen to change.
Notice when you're passive, you may also feel victimized. People do things to you. Events happen to you. But when you become the catalyst in your change; the center of your change; the mover of your world, you will feel a sense of strength. You no longer knee-jerk along. You decide. You do. My "millimeter" approach will help you. It doesn't require you to "do" overwhelming and big things. It asks you to put yourself in the driver seat one step at a time. It puts everything into perspective. Think of it. When you drive a car, do you just magically appear in the driver's seat? No, you do things to get in the car, turn over the ignition, hit the gas, etc. Millimeter change works the exact same way. And when you begin to see life in that perspective and how to empower and change your life that is makes it do-able -- and maybe even exciting!

What You Can Learn From Katherine Hepburn

I am an old movie buff and have very fond memories of hanging out with my mother watching Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Betty Davis, Jimmy Stewart and other movie icons from the past.

I have always respected and admired Katherine Hepburn as a leading lady in the movie industry. She set the stage for many other female movie stars to succeed.  A very out-spoken individual who had clear and well-defined opinions about everything, she had a long career in Hollywood.  She garnered four Best Actress Awards in her 60 years on the big screen.
One of my favorite quotes from her is, “We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brother, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault.  But’s is always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.”

I love this quote and it goes perfectly with my “millimeter approach” to change.
It is so easy to blame everything and everybody for whatever isn’t working in our lives.  Change is hard, scary and intimidating. 

But it does not need to be when you approach the change with a “millimeter approach,”  those small, but significant steps toward your personal or business goals.
Why not stop the blaming and take a millimeter approach. Do just one small thing today to move forward to your goals of better health, weight loss, more customers, better relationships, more money and more success.  You can’t keep blaming your family, your teachers, the economy, our government or the weather.

Start today, a millimeter at a time and see how change can occur effortlessly and predictably. 

Ardent Admirers

“AA” stands for “Ardent Admirers” – and it is a goal of all millimeter businesses to ensure their customers, clients and patients are part of the club. Why should your business aspire, encourage staff, and set up programs to create your own AA membership club? To find the answer, let’s look at what advantages, opportunities and prosperity other millimeter businesses enjoy by developing their own AA membership club.

A millimeter business like this one understands the importance and necessity of having Ardent Admirers. These are the customers, clients and patients who love your business and refer their friends and family. These Ardent Admirers represent the 20 percent of your business that generates 80 percent of your referrals. They are the customers, clients and patients who forgive you even when you have a “millimeter” slip in your service or communication.

Just like the above example, Ardent Admirers are developed one at a time. Millimeter businesses know that they need to take care of each and every customer, like they are the only one they have. A millimeter business will go out of its way to make sure its communication with its customers is consistent and frequent. They understand that communication on a regular basis with real information is the key to building a strong AA membership.

How do millimeter businesses create Ardent Admirers?

They do it by making sure the millimeter things they do either with their service or product is done consistently and with passion. In the dental field, where I live, most patients are not that excited about getting crowns on their teeth. They realize they need a crown or else they could potentially lose the tooth, but the idea of a few hundred to thousands of dollars on a tooth repair is not nearly as exciting as getting a new pair of stilettos (for you ladies) or maybe a new golf club.

To read more about this, pick up a copy of my book It's All About Millimeters

Love Yourself, A Millimeter At A Time

Do you have this voice that pops up occasionally or maybe even daily that lets you know about all the things you are not doing, the things you could be doing differently, the things you failed at, and all the things you should have done?  Yikes!

I confess that this is unfortunately, for me, a common occurrence, and one that I have learned to overcome by using my “millimeter approach.”

Here are my tips for you:

1.     Love yourself.  I know this can be a tough one for some of us as we are constantly giving, giving and giving more and often taking a backseat to what we want and desire.  Try daily doing one thing for yourself.  Take a walk, get a massage or a pedicure, take 30 minutes to read your favorite novel in peace and quiet, or whatever it is that makes you feel most happy and refreshed.

2.     Journal.  Write down all the things you want to do, places you want to go, experiences you want to have, careers you want to pursue, money you want to make, everything and anything you want to achieve and experience in this lifetime.  Make sure not to edit anything in your journal.  Just write. Keeping adding to it.  Could be outlandish today, but five years from now you will be crossing it off as a done deal. 

3.     Tithe.  No matter how often we may feel things are not going well for us, or that deal did not come through, there are tens of thousands of people facing more serious situations including starvation, homelessness and illness.  No matter how small your bank account may be right now, commit to giving money to your favorite church or charity. Furthermore, find a cause you are passionate about and go volunteer in any way you can. I call this tithing your time. Even a “millimeter” of your time spent helping others, provides massive impact not only for those you are helping, but you too. 

Set a goal to launch these three strategies this month and see if that “nagging, depressing, demeaning voice” becomes less and less audible over time.

"Millimeter" Check Lists for Project Management

Do you make lists? Grocery lists? To-do lists? When working on a larger project, breaking down the steps makes it easier to manage and check off each step. "Millimeter" steps make any project manageable. How do you make a proper millimeter checklist? Work it backwards.
1. Think about the project finished.
2. Consider each step that would go toward finishing it.
3. Start making the checklist.
Working backwards to forwards ensures you consider each little step in-between. Let's use this blog, for example. You see the finished product -- a graphically designed and branded blog to match the book It's All About Millimeters. Now break it down. How did the graphics get done? How is the content provided? Where did the ideas for the content come from? Re-engineer the blog and you see it's all millimeter steps to not only create it but manage it.
1. Graphics mock-ups created
2. Graphics designed to match market brand
3. Content theme developed based on book
4. Content lists and ideas developed
5. Content written ahead of time to lists
6. Graphics approved
7. Site coded
8. Content pre-written and approved
9. Content uploaded on a near-daily basis
See how that works. Taking the big picture and breaking down the steps. In project management and business, checklists provide the framework and guide to the whole. As each step is completed, check it off. And here is an even bigger tip: celebrate! Don't forget to acknowledge and celebrate the "millimeter" wins. Satisfaction comes from recognizing you just did something great.

Turn a Negative into a Positive

Change goes both ways -- good and bad. Life works that way, too. Keeping a can-do "millimeter" mindset even when the change is negative means understanding that if something goes south, small efforts to move it north work, too.
When it comes to business, I have a quick tip on how to handle the difficult moments. Let's say you have clients or patients. A client suddenly decides to stop doing business. What is your attitude? Do you let it defeat you in a BIG way or do you have a "millimeter" attitude, which means one, small shift in your attitude to change your outlook. Do you want to hear a good one? It's small! It's simple! It's easy. One word: NEXT! Don't dwell. Move on. A client or customer quits, you just immediately focus on the one, simple next move. Don't get bogged down in disappointment or ask why? It would be good to ask the client why, listen to it, don't argue it, but realize that is their perspective. Take something you can use to improve, and then move on.