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Tip Sheet

Talk Back to Negativity, Overcome Procrastination, and More Tips From March

Plus tips on building a “capsule wardrobe.”





MINDSETStay Optimistic

How to stay upbeat in tumultuous times? Nate Zinsser, director of the performance psychology program at West Point, told Bloomberg one of his favorite strategies is to “Flash a Stop Sign.” “When your mind throws you fear or doubt or worry, visualize an actual stop sign. You want to deliberately cease those thoughts and replace them with optimistic thoughts. Talk back to the negativity the same way you would talk back to your obnoxious brother when he’s talking garbage,” Zinsser says.

SALES FLOORIt’s Play Time!

Given the importance of the symbolism and the money involved, it can, at times, be easy to forget that the experience of buying jewelry should be enjoyable. That’s hard to do at Midwest Jewelers and Estate Buyers in Zionsville, IN. “We are fun! As a store we are very low pressure. One of our favorite phrases is ‘Let’s play!’ We encourage everyone who walks in the door to try on the $225,000 diamond ring. Hey, you never know, right? We are you!” says owner Brian McCall.



Can you achieve 2 percent of your goals for the year in the next week? Yes, it doesn’t seem much time, but that’s how the math breaks down. It’s too often fairly easy to punt a week — but when you think of it as 2 percent of a year — it changes the calculus a bit.

PRODUCTIVITYLeverage the Dread

One of the ironies of procrastination is that it often stems from the mildly discomforting things in life, such as doing taxes. In contrast, you don’t indefinitely put off a root canal. You want to get it over with. According to a trio of new studies out of the University of British Columbia, you can use this psychological quirk to your advantage when you find yourself avoiding a task: Tell yourself that it will be horrible, the absolute worst. “The key to getting tasks off your to-do list is to harness the psychological discomfort of dread, which is negative and unpleasant — and therefore a feeling that most people seek to relieve,” noted an article about the finding in Fast Company.

STYLINGBuild a Capsule Wardrobe

Does choosing an outfit for work take an inordinate amount of time every morning? Try a capsule wardrobe: a collection of a limited number of clothing items that complement each other and can be mixed and matched effortlessly. The benefits, according to, are less decision fatigue and stress in the morning, while you also save money and lead a more environmentally friendly life.


MARKETINGA Welcome to Remember

Quite a few jewelers give new customers a tour of their store. Perry’s Diamonds & Estate Jewelry in Charlotte, NC, takes it up one level by giving them a welcome bag as well. The staff is trained to ask everyone coming through the door if this is their first visit. If yes, the customer gets a brief tour of the store and a little bag of swag containing various Perry’s branded items such as lip gloss, nail clippers and hand-sanitizer or a $5 Starbucks gift card simply for checking out the showroom. “Potential clients love this small gesture, and it helps break down some of the defensive barriers that potential new customers sometimes come in with,” says owner Ernest Perry.

SELF-AWARENESSBetter Than Perfect

Perfection isn’t just impossible, it’s counterproductive, notes Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist and author of the bestseller Think Again. “Perfectionists are more likely to burn out and less likely to embrace new challenges. Success depends on high standards, not being flawless. The target is not perfection — it’s excellence.”

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It Was Time to Make a Decision. It Was Time to Call Wilkerson.

Except for a few years when he worked as an accountant, Jim Schwartz has always been a jeweler. He grew up in the business and after “counting beans” for a few years, he and his wife, Robin, opened Robin James Jewelers in Cincinnati, Ohio. “We were coming to a stage in our life where we knew we have to make a decision,” says Jim Schwartz. He and Robin wanted to do it right, so they called Wilkerson. The best surprise (besides surpassing sales goals)? “The workers and associations really care about helping us move out own inventory out of the store first. It was very important to us.”

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