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Posts Tagged ‘strategy’

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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networkingA secret dream come true.

I never told anyone how much I really wanted to be featured in my alma mater’s quarterly magazine… I think I have dreamed of this since graduating from Wellesley 23 years ago. And this fall it happened! All surrounding one of my very favorite topics: NETWORKING

 

Take a look at three quick Networking No-Nos I warn you about. (check out pg 31)

Hint: Think Throwing Up, Baby Showers, Small Talk and Restroom lines…

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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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Are you reading this blog post because you are procrastinating?

Oh procrastinating business owner, does your “to-do” list include things such as:

  • Sign more clients (umm… yeah!)
  • Identify places to speak (if they could just hear my message…)
  • Find prospects (where are they hiding?)

Do you look at your calendar and realize that you have no meetings with key influencers or collaborators or … yikes… potential clients/customers? Is that why you are procrastinating today?

There is simple connection tip that works to solve this dilemma every time.

Get out from behind your computer and go meet someone face to face.

I’m not kidding.

Not a phone call. Go outside and meet them.

Don’t get me wrong, there are so many amazing connections made every day via telephone but there is something extra special about sitting across from another person. Challenge yourself to put one- just one- face to face meeting on your calendar for this week. Show up engaged and asking for referrals, collaborators and ideas.

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Pick a number. Write it down.

It is just that simple.

I use a post-it note.

You can use your planner, your Google calendar or a good old-fashioned to-do list.

Each week, pick a number of connections you intend to make.

Who should you choose?

  • Did you like a blog post you read?
  • Is there a former co-worker that you can’t get out of your mind?
  • Was there a comment on a discussion thread that interested you?
  • Did someone on Facebook peak your interest?
  • Do you have a stack of business cards in your desk drawer? (okay- I know you do!)
  • Does someone have a business similar to yours and you are thinking she might make a great collaborator?

Identify your 2 or 5 or 10 people and reach out.

You can connect with them on social media. Send them a personal message via email. Or here’s a crazy idea- actually pick up the phone and call them! So many options.

Start connecting! Isn’t this what business is all about?

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• It’s time for you to write a new blog post.
• Today’s the day you are naming your new program.
• You told yourself you would call 5 people from your community.
• New tweets and Facebook posts need to be written.

You have procrastinated long enough. Actually you can’t wait any longer. So you sit down at your computer or grab your phone and psych yourself up to get started.

And THAT’S IT. THAT’S ALL YOU’VE GOT!

Drawing a blank.

This is such a common occurrence with clients and colleagues.

Honestly, let me tell you. Shhhh … Lean closer… there is such an easy solution to get unstuck that it seems too good to be true.

• Get a piece of paper and a favorite pen
• Grab a timer
• Set the timer for 15 minutes
• Here’s your assignment
• In 15 minutes make a list of all the ways you can communicate with your clients. Names for blog posts. Ideas for programs. People you can call and love talking to them. Places you can go for inspiration. Creative ideas you have floating around in your head. Funny names for your next book. A list of your favorite songs. Whatever words and names come to mind.
• Logical and illogical. Simple and complicated. Standard and outside the box.
• Write them all. You cannot do this wrong!

**********************************************************
Okay. Your 15 minutes is up.

Take a breath. Look down at the list.

Which ONE of this combination of great, professional and silly ideas jumps off the page at you?

That is the one you do. Today. Put it in motion.

Leave all the others to implement on another day. Keep it simple. Focus. Finish this one beginning to end. Breathe. You have to start somewhere and this one thing will lead to others plus some new ideas. And rather than just talking about it and thinking about it-you are COMMUNICATING!

Please jump on my Facebook page and tell me what you chose to take action on from your communication brain dump. ENJOY!

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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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