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You Thought You Didn’t Need A Professional Fixer, Just Wait Till You Read This

You Thought You Didn’t Need A Professional Fixer, Just Wait Till You Read This

Do you have a problem and don’t want anyone to know? Call a professional fixer.  For the average person, legal help would be the first resort. However, there are many ways to skin a fish. Fixers literally fix any kind of problem, a la Olivia Pope, of ABC’s hit show, Scandal.  They come in during moments of crisis and publicity faux pas.  It’s easy to think professional fixers are out of your reach, and that you have to fix your own mess. And you may be right—many people can’t afford the thousands it takes to hire one. That’s why you must seek out a “fixer” among your own.  Still not convinced you need one?

Here’s a breakdown of why you do.

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1. You lack street knowledge.

To some, the street literally means the sidewalk.  Across urban neighborhoods, there are savvy, street smart men and women who have made something of themselves without school.  They are starting companies, running them, or contributing to the arts or commerce in some kind of beneficial way. Study them. You never know where these relationships lead; you must keep your options open and your network wide.  Without certain street knowledge and ways to negotiate, you fall victim to games, cons, tricksters, and all kinds of confusion in everyday life.

2. Your professional network is made up of mostly co-workers or high school buddies.

After the age of 25, you need more.  Branch out into different social circles that reflect your grown-up interests in business, philanthropy or the arts.  You will meet people there who can introduce you to people you need to meet. An affluent professional network takes years to cultivate.  With proper care, you will find that this alone can change your entire life.

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3. You don’t know anyone who can vouch for your character if you are in trouble.

Everyone needs someone they can call on to write a decent letter of recommendation or sit in the witness stand. No one will second-guess them because they are not related to you, like your mother or Uncle Bobby.  Establish a network with successful types who have your back. A professional fixer can find this person on your behalf.

4. You don’t know anyone who can greenlight a project or decision.

Do you need to get your documents approved to move on with your life? Someone who can greenlight a project can make a difference between eating or not, waiting or not, is a lifesaver and game changer.  This is particularly important for those in government and entertainment sectors where red tape or a guy in a big office can stand between you and a dream.  Fixers can open doors.

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5. You don’t know anyone who can give you money, lots of it.

A fixer with money can hire a PR pro or even a brand management firm to help you, and they can also pay lawyers to work on your behalf, too.  This is essential when you are broke and have no other recourse.  The fixer will see it as an investment in you.  This means that you must be someone of promise or accomplishment.  If a professional fixer doesn’t have money, then they should have access.

6. You have too many friends, and not enough associates.

A professional fixer can be a long-term associate (not necessarily friend) who has the following things: money, access, connections to shadow places like the street, clandestine partners and resources, and some charm. Friends have too many questions.  Associates are best to turn to in a pickle.  You won’t disappoint them since they have no expectations.  They have little to lose because they haven’t invested their time in you, and yet, may be intrigued.  If you’re being blackmailed by someone you know, but need in your life, a friend may just ask you to call the cops.  Olivia Pope, would never do that.

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7. You went to the wrong school.

Most young fixers in-the-making are already in high places.  They are at the Ivy League college or exclusive prep school establishing relationships.  If you went to the local college, it’s not too late to get it right.  If you’re already fairly accomplished, schools like Harvard and Oxford have specialized, short term programs for professionals looking to enhance their skills.  Get in one of these, and grab as many business cards as possible.  You may need it one day. Fixers have to start somewhere.

A relationship with a professional fixer is transactional.  You only call them when you need them.  If you go with someone who is not quite “professional” make sure you have something to offer them in return—notoriety, secrecy, or an introduction.  Like the saying goes: nothing in life is ever free.

Featured photo credit: href= via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

It is easy, in the onrush of life, to become a reactor – to respond to everything that comes up, the moment it comes up, and give it your undivided attention until the next thing comes up.

This is, of course, a recipe for madness. The feeling of loss of control over what you do and when is enough to drive you over the edge, and if that doesn’t get you, the wreckage of unfinished projects you leave in your wake will surely catch up with you.

Having an inbox and processing it in a systematic way can help you gain back some of that control. But once you’ve processed out your inbox and listed all the tasks you need to get cracking on, you still have to figure out what to do the very next instant. On which of those tasks will your time best be spent, and which ones can wait?

When we don’t set priorities, we tend to follow the path of least resistance. (And following the path of least resistance, as the late, great Utah Phillips reminded us, is what makes the river crooked!) That is, we’ll pick and sort through the things we need to do and work on the easiest ones – leaving the more difficult and less fun tasks for a “later” that, in many cases, never comes – or, worse, comes just before the action needs to be finished, throwing us into a whirlwind of activity, stress, and regret.

This is why setting priorities is so important.

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3 Effective Approaches to Set Priorities

There are three basic approaches to setting priorities, each of which probably suits different kinds of personalities. The first is for procrastinators, people who put off unpleasant tasks. The second is for people who thrive on accomplishment, who need a stream of small victories to get through the day. And the third is for the more analytic types, who need to know that they’re working on the objectively most important thing possible at this moment. In order, then, they are:

1. Eat a Frog

There’s an old saying to the effect that if you wake up in the morning and eat a live frog, you can go through the day knowing that the worst thing that can possibly happen to you that day has already passed. In other words, the day can only get better!

Popularized in Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!, the idea here is that you tackle the biggest, hardest, and least appealing task first thing every day, so you can move through the rest of the day knowing that the worst has already passed.

When you’ve got a fat old frog on your plate, you’ve really got to knuckle down. Another old saying says that when you’ve got to eat a frog, don’t spend too much time looking at it! It pays to keep this in mind if you’re the kind of person that procrastinates by “planning your attack” and “psyching yourself up” for half the day. Just open wide and chomp that frog, buddy! Otherwise, you’ll almost surely talk yourself out of doing anything at all.

2. Move Big Rocks

Maybe you’re not a procrastinator so much as a fiddler, someone who fills her or his time fussing over little tasks. You’re busy busy busy all the time, but somehow, nothing important ever seems to get done.

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You need the wisdom of the pickle jar. Take a pickle jar and fill it up with sand. Now try to put a handful of rocks in there. You can’t, right? There’s no room.

If it’s important to put the rocks in the jar, you’ve got to put the rocks in first. Fill the jar with rocks, now try pouring in some pebbles. See how they roll in and fill up the available space? Now throw in a couple handfuls of gravel. Again, it slides right into the cracks. Finally, pour in some sand.

For the metaphorically impaired, the pickle jar is all the time you have in a day. You can fill it up with meaningless little busy-work tasks, leaving no room for the big stuff, or you can do the big stuff first, then the smaller stuff, and finally fill in the spare moments with the useless stuff.

To put it into practice, sit down tonight before you go to bed and write down the three most important tasks you have to get done tomorrow. Don’t try to fit everything you need, or think you need, to do, just the three most important ones.

In the morning, take out your list and attack the first “Big Rock”. Work on it until it’s done or you can’t make any further progress. Then move on to the second, and then the third. Once you’ve finished them all, you can start in with the little stuff, knowing you’ve made good progress on all the big stuff. And if you don’t get to the little stuff? You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished three big things. At the end of the day, nobody’s ever wished they’d spent more time arranging their pencil drawer instead of writing their novel, or printing mailing labels instead of landing a big client.

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3. Covey Quadrants

If you just can’t relax unless you absolutely know you’re working on the most important thing you could be working on at every instant, Stephen Covey’s quadrant system as written in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change might be for you.

Covey suggests you divide a piece of paper into four sections, drawing a line across and a line from top to bottom. Into each of those quadrants, you put your tasks according to whether they are:

  1. Important and Urgent
  2. Important and Not Urgent
  3. Not Important but Urgent
  4. Not Important and Not Urgent

    The quadrant III and IV stuff is where we get bogged down in the trivial: phone calls, interruptions, meetings (QIII) and busy work, shooting the breeze, and other time wasters (QIV). Although some of this stuff might have some social value, if it interferes with your ability to do the things that are important to you, they need to go.

    Quadrant I and II are the tasks that are important to us. QI are crises, impending deadlines, and other work that needs to be done right now or terrible things will happen. If you’re really on top of your time management, you can minimize Q1 tasks, but you can never eliminate them – a car accident, someone getting ill, a natural disaster, these things all demand immediate action and are rarely planned for.

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    You’d like to spend as much time as possible in Quadrant II, plugging away at tasks that are important with plenty of time to really get into them and do the best possible job. This is the stuff that the QIII and QIV stuff takes time away from, so after you’ve plotted out your tasks on the Covey quadrant grid, according to your own sense of what’s important and what isn’t, work as much as possible on items in Quadrant II (and Quadrant I tasks when they arise).

    Getting to Know You

    Spend some time trying each of these approaches on for size. It’s hard to say what might work best for any given person – what fits one like a glove will be too binding and restrictive for another, and too loose and unstructured for a third. You’ll find you also need to spend some time figuring out what makes something important to you – what goals are your actions intended to move you towards.

    In the end, setting priorities is an exercise in self-knowledge. You need to know what tasks you’ll treat as a pleasure and which ones like torture, what tasks lead to your objectives and which ones lead you astray or, at best, have you spinning your wheels and going nowhere.

    These three are the best-known and most time-tested strategies out there, but maybe you’ve got a different idea you’d like to share? Tell us how you set your priorities in the comments.

    More Tips for Effective Prioritization

    Featured photo credit: Mille Sanders via unsplash.com

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