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Posts Tagged ‘decision’

Coffee Location:  My sofa watching the NY Giants on SNF
Today’s Beverage of Choice: Coffee and chocolate protein shake

 

 

 

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Have I Been a Modern-Day Rip Van Winkle?

Have I been sleeping?
Sleeping though part of my life?

I feel like Rip Van Winkle. I loved that little story from my childhood.
My mother would tell me that when there was scary thunder that I did not need to worry because it was just Rip Van Winkle bowling.
However, recently I actually read the story again after all these years and learned that Rip is described in many of the versions by creator Washington Irving as a “henpecked husband who loathes ‘profitable labor’ “.

Now that is really taking the comparison of Rip and me a bit too far.  I am neither a henpecked husband nor a person who loathes profitable labor… but walking around constantly exhausted from living in indecision and not working or living as my very best self certainly makes life and business less profitable. So, looking a little like a modern-day Rip Van Winkle.

On Sunday, November 12 it changed. I woke up and came down that figurative mountain as Rip did in the story and basically declared,  “I CHOOSE ME!” Made the decision.Immediately slowed down the wondering, worrying and spinning!

  • I choose me.
  • I choose to see my life as it really is, not a warped version of how I wish it to be.
  • I choose to forge ahead as the best self I can be today.

This new decision has had an immediate impact on my business model, my relationships and my home. 

In future blog posts, I will talk about this in more detail (all a part of my 40 day vulnerability challenge).
However, for tonight I just wanted to pose these questions…

  • Where in your life are you “sleeping”?
  • Where are you looking at life in fantasy rather than reality?
  • Where are you acting like a modern-day Rip Van Winkle?

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Coffee Location:  Sitting by my Christmas tree

Today’s Beverage of Choice: Starbucks Via in my favorite blue/brown mug

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Even in indecision, I am making a decision.

Learned that first-hand this week.

Truth be told, I have learned this lesson over and over again in my life, but this was the week when it all clicked in a whole new way. The evolution of my emotional and spiritual self-colliding right into the long list of things I want for my life and business.

Like so many of you, I have made list upon list of what I want for my life. Opportunities, relationships, $$, happiness, friends, health goals and the list goes on and on. I have been filling journals and post-it notes with lists in various forms for decades.

However, over the past few months I’ve been challenged by some dear friends to create a few new lists about different aspects of my life. And this time to be VERY specific. More specific then I ever thought necessary. The kind of specific that at times felt a little ridiculous. But I did it. I did it because to be honest, my way had not been working for me. What did I have to lose?

Making these VERY specific lists- one about life and one about business- forced me to make a decision on some level. Do I want this or that? Is this particular characteristic of my business a non-negotiable? Each extremely specific item on the list was a decision.

And then I did the seemingly impossible next step. I let go of the results and the timing. Yes, you heard me. I let go of the results and the timing. Gave it up to the Universe and God.  Of course, I took my will back many times over those few weeks of letting go. Wanting so much to control the outcome- and then realizing that I really can’t. That is madness. Honestly, I have lived for years saying I don’t control the outcome but secretly thinking that maybe I did. (can you relate?)

All those years of not being specific.

All those lists of things I wanted without really committing to them with specificity.

I was living in a form of indecision. And that was a choice. That indecision was a decision. Quite profound to me actually.

Now I am actively letting go.

The result? Already in only a week of this daily (sometimes hourly) practice, I am seeing little miracles.  I am being provided even MORE than I asked for. Not always in the same “package” as I had envisioned but exactly what I wanted and then some.

I just had to share in case it can help you as you reflect on 2011 and begin setting your goals for 2012.

Happy New Year!

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Everything is changing.

I am on the edge. The edge of that beautiful cliff at sunset.  Do I stand here and watch the sunset until the opportunities fade into the horizon or do I free-fall? Trusting I will be caught. I will be cared for.

Free-falling is the answer.

That is how it feels. Beautiful sunset surrounding me. There is so much more faith than fear but wow… this is uncharted territory. I do not ever remember being suspended in life this way before.

Over the next few months watch for some big announcements. Changes in business. Changes in life. Changes in perspective. Changes in team, collaborators and partners. Nothing is safe from change in my life right now apparently.

But why play it “safe”?

I could have stayed in Corporate for that!

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Here’s what I know. I like to tell the truth about my business.

I admire and respect when others do the same. It’s how I learn. It’s how I course-correct some of those “not so great” ideas. It’s how I build community.

One of the tenets behind my company is Providing Visibility-both externally for my clients and their brands and internally in terms of sharing from a place of full disclosure when appropriate. Therefore, in the spirit of visibility, I want to begin a series of TRUE CONFESSIONS articles. Little “secrets” about my business and my entrepreneurial journey that might just help you. An inside look.

I wasn’t always comfortable with selling.

Nope. I really was a bit of a mess. Loved the conversation but hated talking about money. Sometimes didn’t even know someone was asking to work with me. I couldn’t “hear” them. At one point I realized that I literally sat in one chair to coach and consult and when the conversation transitioned to selling, I got up and moved to another chair. YIKES. A therapist could have some fun with that!

Things shifted for me when I stopped thinking of those conversations as sales conversations. I now think of them as simply connection conversations. When it is a connection conversation, I can have it over the phone with someone who I met at an event, a former client, a person who was referred to me or an interesting person in the line at Starbucks. It leaves it unexpected and fun for me because it is about the connection. I could discover a partner, collaborator, referral, client, or a new friend at any point.

I still come up with every excuse in the book not to leave my house.

Yup. Still a homebody. Networking always seems like a great idea when I put it on my calendar; but as the time draws closer and closer that day, I start to think about the heels, the Spanx , the makeup, the email inbox, and the endless list of things to do. They are all just distractions.

If I can just get myself out the door, I am home free. Need to remember that on the tough days. This is about growing my business. This is about connecting with people. This is about having fun. And with a connection strategy before leaving the house, I am definitely setting myself up for success. Because bottom line- I really dislike networking and love love love connecting! My challenge to myself: I must leave my house at least 2 times a week to meet new business connections.

I once had no communication calendar for my own business.

Yes indeed. Built them for clients. Taught workshops to share my passion and love of the organization and relief the communication calendar brings. But you have probably heard the old saying that the shoemaker’s children have no shoes. I needed to put myself and my business first.

Why? Because I needed to be able to see my business all in one place. Every product launch, every speaking engagement, every newsletter, etc. This allows me to look at the week and the month and know what is being communicated to my clients, friends and followers. But possibly even more important for me, it allows me to say NO. Before the communications calendar, I would say, “Yes I can speak. Yes I can promote your product. Yes I can host you to my list. Yes I can ….” and I did not incorporate my own business into my decisions. Ever feel like that? Like your business got away from you? That’s why I have a communications calendar!

Stay tuned for more TRUE CONFESSIONS!

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Insert one hour of unscheduled time into your week.

Okay-Don’t panic! It is just one hour.

The only planning this hour requires is getting it on your calendar.

And then do… well… whatever you want to do or are called to do in that hour. Go with the flow. Fill the time based on your instincts in that moment. This is one of the most important tools I have to get “unstuck” in my life and my business. My clients hate the assignment and love the results. It stirs up so many “shoulds”- I “should finish that chapter”, “I should clean out the pantry”, etc.

Instead, do what feels good at the top of that hour.

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Personal time. Making certain that personal time is SCHEDULED in your calendar.

This is the most straightforward planning task of them all and usually the most difficult for my clients.

  • I know you “mean” to add it to your calendar
  • I know you “want” to have a little breathing room in your business
  • I know you “believe” that you understand the importance of personal time

And trust me, I struggle with this portion of my business planning every day. Why? Because I am always busy finishing “one more thing”. I am the Queen of “one more thing”.

What does “one more thing” usually bring me?

  • Looking up from my computer to realize that I have not left the house in 2 days
  • Awareness that I began working when it was dark and stopped working when it was dark
  • My brain fuzzy from spinning around in my business non-stop
  • A tremendous feeling of accomplishment in the sales, writing, client time or phone connections I have been buried in- but piles of laundry, no healthy dinner made and piles of fun books staring at me from the living room
  • Hmm… still in my pjs

I am not suggesting that you stop focusing on your business.  Rather the opposite. Improve your focus by getting some much needed personal time.

Here is the easiest way I have found to ensure that it happens. WRITE IT IN MY CALENDAR AS AN APPOINTMENT EVERY DAY.  I certainly look at the week and month ahead to find those larger blocks of time that I will want to use to spend with friends, family and community. But what I am suggesting here is to look at your schedule every evening or first thing in the morning and put your personal needs above (or at least equal to) your business needs to take a shot at striking that elusive “balance”.

Here are some examples of things I put into my calendar over the course of a week. Some may seem silly. “Why do you need to write that down? Won’t you remember to cook dinner or shower- seriously?” But honestly, there are days that when I do not schedule it in, I just keep plowing through and at 8 pm I have no healthy food options and I am not yet showered. YIKES. Full-disclosure here!

  • Shower
  • Make dinner
  • Call for doctor/dentist appointment
  • Return ______’s call
  • Make deposit at the bank
  • Mail birthday cards
  • Buy birthday cards
  • Exercise
  • Read for pleasure
  • Email an old friend
  • Book plane ticket for trip home
  • Watch YouTube videos
  • Shop online for just about anything

You get the idea… not difficult activities but I get to the end of the week and they are STILL not done if I do not schedule them like I would client time or sales time. And the space that unfinished list has taken up in my head is prime real estate better allocated elsewhere.

Give it a try and let me know what shifts in your business (and your life!) as a result.

 

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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?
  • 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.  Confirmation from the person you were speaking to that they understood what you do for a living or what new career you are looking for.
  • 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!

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