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Posts Tagged ‘calendar’

coal in my stocking

Bad Blogger.

Probably getting coal in my stocking.

One full, exciting and life-changing week in my business equals ZERO blogging.

But believe me, I was still out there looking for those holiday moments. But even those were a stretch. Therefore, vowing to get back in the groove for this last 12 days of my 25. And I will catch you up now on the past week’s activities.

Maybe it will spark an idea in your brain regarding how to bring a little holiday cheer into your life:

Day 7: I was working all day so I played Christmas music on Spotify all day. Singing along. Laughing at some of the funny old songs and really loving the instrumentals. What is your favorite holiday album? One of my top choices is Jewel’s 1999: Joy- A Holiday Collection

Day 8: It was a Saturday so I headed to Bayridge Brooklyn to meet a friend for a movie and lunch. Met him on the corner with all the Christmas trees and wreaths because why WOULDN’T I stand in that amazing fragrance while I waited?  Then after lunch we walked around the neighborhood as it started to get dark and looked at the decorations and the lights. Fun day.

Day 9: Spent the day getting my “life” and home together in preparation for my first day on Wall Street with my new client. Conclusion. Those holiday cards are simply not going to send themselves. I have basically already missed Hanukkah’s window.  The cards are going back into storage. Feels a little disappointing but terribly sane.

Day 10: Monday. First day at the new client site on Wall Street. Ummm… can we say Hanukkah extravaganza with delicious looking jelly donuts and black/white cookies on a big table right near my office? I partook a little tiny bit…I mean, it is Hanukkah and I was the new girl so….

Day 11: Coming down with a cold. Headed to that new client’s holiday party anyway. Planning to stay through the entertainment and head out at dessert (like any good wedding escape plan- works here as well) and then, I got stuck on the subway for 45 minutes.  So that took care of that. Just went home.

Day 12: Received my first Holiday cards complete with beautiful family pictures from my dear friend Ellen (and a pic of my adorable Goddaughter Emily) and one of my longest-standing friends (not oldest- we are NOT old) from Brownies and her beautiful family from their new home in Texas. Joy.

Day 13: That was yesterday. Made plans for next week to not work compulsively and instead head to mid-town to see the Rockefeller Tree and some of the windows. If I don’t make the plan, it just won’t happen.

Okay- this “bad blogger” is back on track! Happy Holiday Cheer! 

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Screen shot 2012-12-06 at · Dec 6 @ 6.28.22 AM

In my quest to enjoy the holiday season one day at a time from December 1 through December 25 (and who knows- maybe this will continue straight through New Years Day), day 5 and 6 were all about planning. Planning forward.

  • The holiday cards came out and now scream at me from across the room
  • The decorations were found (they were secretly tucked away in this one-bedroom Manhattan apartment and required a “if you were a Christmas decoration where would you be hiding?” moment)
  • Since I have not joined a church since moving to Washington Heights, I needed to scope out options for Christmas Eve
  • RSVPed to several holiday get-togethers
  • Changed my Facebook cover photo to include the Rockefeller Plaza Tree and the gorgeous angels (my favorite)

So while I would have liked it better if I was VISITING the Rockefeller tree as my holiday activity to blog about, I will say that there are some wonderful plans in motion for the remainder of the month thanks to my planning.

What have you got planned?

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Coffee Location:  My sofa surrounded by three sleeping kitties

Today’s Beverage of Choice: Brewed coffee in a big red mug

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Bedazzling Makes Everything Better!

You heard me. Bedazzling makes everything better.

A little sparkle. A little glitter.

Shine a little brighter. Add a little pizzazz.

This is a lesson learned this week from two of the most important little people in my life~~

My almost 10-yr old niece Ashley-lyn and my 5-yr old Goddaughter Emily

 

In summary:

  • The only way her Mom (my life-long friend Ellen) could get Emily to wear her headdress to the school Thanksgiving celebration was to allow her bedazzle it! Look at the happiness on that face!
  • Ashley ran for student council to represent her 4th grade classroom. After losing the race last year, she was determined to make an impact in the voting this year. Not only were her leadership skills and positive attitude key to her WIN this week, but I am certain that those glitter letters and sparkle skirt played a huge role!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where could my life use a little burst of color?

What activities have been feeling lackluster and need to twinkle?

Where could I feel a little more confident if I just added some pizzazz?

Time to begin with a little creative time in my schedule. A few moments ago, I took out my calendar and put aside time to play a little each day. Some days I blocked 30 minutes and others an hour based on what the calendar looks like.

Thank goodness last year my friend, Debra sent me a mini-Bedazzler and my friend Jessica sent me Opi Muppets glitter nail polish. Plus there are all those boxes of pens, stickers, markers, post-its etc. that I packed and moved to my new apartment. Seriously, I have everything I need to get started!

How about you?

 

 

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I have always been a planner. Since I was a little girl.

While many little girls were playing Barbie and house, my imagination role-play games included organizing neighborhood children to put on a variety show. And when there were no other kids around, my poor sister had to endure my choreography and director’s wrath so we could get the show “just right” (think Cher’s Half Breed album 1973).

But in those years before my sister was old enough to participate, I would play school by myself being both the teacher and the student (aren’t I talented?) including lesson plans, fake library cards, sticker charts, homework and bulletin boards.  As I got older I transitioned to interior designer (complete with my own sketches for rearranging Mom’s living room furniture) and cruise director with a clipboard (okay- really- wouldn’t I make a great Julie McCoy?)

 

I have notebooks full of charts, graphs and calendars. Days to learn the songs, dances and lines for the musical. Days until college applications were due. Study schedules. Weight loss charts. Graphs depicting my savings to be used to get my ears pierced at the mall. By the time I got to college, I was in full-blown planning mode with wall charts and everything!

The advantages to my predilection for planning is that I moved from organized high school class president to college senior class president to corporate management trainee to corporate executive using this skill to excel. It was always in my back pocket to make sense of the chaos. It was and still is a leadership tool in my toolbox.

I leveraged this same skill to transition to entrepreneurial life helping clients create calendars and plans to support their businesses, lives, marketing programs, etc.  Do what you love, right? Do what comes easy. Plus it makes me happy because my plans are pretty. They are created with post-it notes and sharpies.

However, I have also come to see that I use this planning tool as a way to calm myself down. If I am anxious about something in my personal or professional life, I go right to the calendar.  Sometimes just to look at it. It beings me comfort. It is a guaranteed return. When things are uncertain, the calendar seems certain to me. I can plan something and write it down. Plus mine is pretty with all those colors (both the paper and electronic versions).

This is just a little insight into me. A little writing to perhaps get you thinking about what skills or characteristics you have brought with you from childhood that have helped YOU to excel in adulthood. They are probably right at your fingertips.

 

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It is that time of year when we all create goals and resolutions.

Starting fresh in the New Year with all the promise and hope of a clean slate.

For me, I abandoned making resolutions 16 years ago.

As many of you know, I believe whole-heartedly in the power of starting the day over again. At any point.  So resolutions have always set me up for failure because, well, you can probably imagine that I ALWAYS broke them early on in the year and then cast them aside or talked myself out of wanting the result.

Goals are different. Goals for me are about incremental change with the possibility for remarkable surprises. They are about looking to the future and putting the mini-plan in place to support each of those goals. Looking for opportunities to move closer to the goal in giant leaps facilitated by those incremental plans.

In my world, there are three absolutes for goals.

  • They span all parts of my life: personal and professional. EXPAND!
  • They are BIG dreams! They are scary and vulnerable! I utter the secrets that have been carried around inside me.
  • They are specific. Through specificity comes the magic!

Have you taken the time to write down your 2012 goals?

Honestly. Do you have the goals written down? Are they in a place where you can see them each and every day? Living with my goals has become a tremendous inspiration to me.  They are hanging on bright pink oversized post-it notes right over my desk

Now look at the annual goals.

  • Do they span multiple areas of your personal and professional life?
  • Are they big? Are they audacious? Do they make you think, “After I stand in disbelief, if this really comes to fruition I will be dancing/crying/high-fiving in my living room?”
  • Are they very specific? Not sure- then my guess is that they are not. Specificity allows you to feel the relief of knowing if you are moving forward. Specificity allows the magic in between your actions to happen. Specificity gives you a litmus test as you whether a particular decision moves you closer or further away from that goal.

Take some much deserved time to dream and plan for 2012 during this holiday season. Happy New Year!

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Trust me when I tell you- I LOVE to work from my home. When the role of the remote workforce gained widespread popularity a few years ago, I was thrilled to be employed by a progressive corporation that allowed the flexibility of working from home much of the time that I wasn’t on the road with clients.  This was the smartest thing a corporation could do with an overachieving, workaholic like me. Give me an office that is as quick to commute to as rolling out of bed and making coffee- brilliant!  The work often began before 7 am and ended when the lights went out and I went to bed.  Most days I did this all in my sweats and a t-shirt.  And shhhh…..many days I worked from my pajamas and took a shower between conference calls in late afternoon.

Although I was on endless conference calls and sent hundreds of emails and instant messages a day, it did not replace the camaraderie of an office life with cubicle laughter, constant interruptions and coffee breaks. This is mainly because of the value actual face-to-face interaction with coworkers brought to the day.

Fast forward to my new life as an entrepreneur. Again, I find myself joyfully working from home. I have a tremendous amount of flexibility to design my day in ways that motivate and inspire me. Although my days are usually much more balanced with writing, client calls and creative projects than they were when I had my corporate role, you guessed it- I am still doing it all in my sweats most days. Alright, I have upgraded to yoga pants but that is really not that much different (smile)

Because I have a business to build and a network to grow, I must reach out to people and make new connections and renew faded ones. I am certain that is true for you as well.  Regardless of whether you are searching for a new job, working from an office, spending your day in a gallery or running your business, you need to make connections as well.

So what is your plan? What is your strategy? How do you ensure that you are talking to new people, adding people to your circle and renewing those relationships from the past?  What! You don’t have a plan?

Here are a few quick ideas you can put in place to bolster your connections each week:

  • Schedule time in your calendar for connecting. You can start with 30 minutes or an hour a week. This is time you are putting aside to send emails, call people, reach out  on professional networking sites, etc.
  • Now block that time and make it sacred. No rationalization here. No “better offers”. Make the decision that you will commit to this weekly activity.
  • Make one connection call a week and keep calling until you talk to someone (no voice mail messages!) If you adopted this simple suggestion, you will have had 52 conversations with new and renewed connections this year. If I told you to make 52 calls to people that would probably seem a bit overwhelming, but one a week is somehow much more manageable, right?
  • CHALLENGE: Want to step it up a notch?  Meet one person a week face-to-face. Simple meetings. Invite a colleague to lunch. Have a cup of coffee with an acquaintance. Join a local networking group. Sign up for class- any kind of class. Attend a lecture and talk to someone sitting next to you.

Really, this does not need to be difficult. This does not require a new “to do” list and color-coded pens! (You know who you are!) But I can feel you resisting. I can hear you saying, “Bryn, talking to people on Facebook or sending an email really works for me” or “Bryn, a phone call is really effective and I don’t have to get dressed and go out to meet people. I lose so much productive time”.

I am going to let you in on a little secret:

To have a strong and effective network, you have to meet people the old-fashioned way. There is no replacement for a face-to-face conversation and exchange of ideas. It is so appealing on a cold day to just stay home and skip that networking event. It is so easy to rationalize that you do not have the right clothes or new business cards. Most of us are quick to find excuses to cancel a meeting that we planned a few weeks ago (when it seemed like a great idea!) rather than head out the door to network.  Distractions are everywhere and yes, phone conversation, emails and Skype coffee dates are indeed great ways to reach out to people.

However, my bottom line is:

You can’t make all of your connections in your pajamas!

Believe me, I’ve tried!

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We have all heard of the earthquake or hurricane preparedness kit. In fact, many of us already have some version in our homes: the instant milk, granola bars, candles and extra batteries for the flashlights tucked away for just that moment we least expect to need it.

Do you also have a networking preparedness kit?

Are you “Connection Ready” for when you least expect the most perfect contact to fall right in your lap?

One of the top concerns I hear over and over again from my clients, friends and acquaintances discussing the art of networking with me (everyone always seems to want to strike up a conversation on the topic which is just great with me!) is lack of prior thought. Lack of planning. Lack of thinking it all through.

Taking the time to be “Connection Ready” will quell the fears and anxiety about networking to a very large extent. You will be amazed!

And, really it is not complicated at all…. Almost as simple as grabbing those protein bars, bottled water and canned beans and heading for the root cellar.

Use this checklist to get started:

  • Think one month out. What is one goal you hope to achieve in your business, career or personal growth? Make a contact in a particular company? Meet new people in your neighborhood? Find a collaborator who also works from home and can brainstorm with you? Identify a new JV partner?
  • Now, with that one goal in mind, identify the number one piece of information or experience you will want to gain from that encounter. For example: Lunch date scheduled. Name of a local resource who can do your taxes. Friend of a friend who might know someone at Acme Company.  Ideas for collaboration.
  • Set aside one hour a week in your calendar. This will be your “Connection Ready” time. For some of you, you will use the time to research contacts. Some of you will make phone calls. Some of you will read industry publications or blogs to find names or resources or generate ideas. Some of you will brainstorm with someone you trust. Some of you will practice your “elevator pitch” to explain who you are and what you have to offer. Some of you will look for local networking events. You get the point. YOU CANNOT DO THIS WRONG.
  • Do you have up-to-date business cards or personal calling cards? Have them tucked in your wallet, your handbag or briefcase- basically do not leave home without them. Even pumping gas or standing in line at the supermarket can become a remarkable opportunity for a surprise connection. You need to be “Connection Ready”.
  • Gather your follow up materials. This is a critical part of the “Connection Ready” kit. Where will you collect networking details: business cards, phone numbers, ideas, leads, etc. Consider getting a notebook you devote entirely to networking. For those of you more tech savvy, create a file within your contacts just for your networking names, number and notes.  Also, be certain you have professional note cards and stamps to use in your follow up “thank yous” after meeting with someone. REALLY. “Old school” handwritten notes can make all the difference. Don’t get me started- that topic will be an entire book by me one day! (not kidding)

Don’t get caught unprepared. And maybe even more importantly, give yourself the gift of being “Connection Ready” and watch your nerves settle, your enthusiasm soar and your conversations click!

Questions? You can always reach out at info@brynjohnson.com. I would love to hear from you.

 

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