Category Archives: Being in Business

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Insert Appropriate Inspiration Here

Inspiration. We all need it. We all want it. We also roll our eyes at it when we are not feeling in the mood for it.

There are days when a Whim, a Meme or inspiration picture floats across my Facebook feed and I’m moved to tears. Then there are days when a similar inspirational thought (or even the same one) floats across my feed and I roll my eyes and grunt. We all have days that are a tougher go than others. Sometimes it’s not days, it’s weeks, months and even years.

Sometimes when our dreams, our goals and desires get foiled we feel lost, confused and bewildered. We can’t quite figure out which way is up anymore and what we should do next. Up until this moment we knew exactly what needed to be done, in what order and when. We knew the next step. We knew the plan. We knew the goal. Now everything seems to be changing and we just don’t know what to do next. It’s very disorienting.

For the last four years I knew exactly what I was doing, how I was doing it and what the outcome was to be. I had the goal in front of me. I knew how this goal fit into my life and how it would pave the way for the next step. I was in business not because I so believed in the business I was in I couldn’t help myself. I was in business because it aligned with my goals, dreams, values and visions and it was a vehicle to get me to where I wanted to go. It was a means to an end and not an end in itself.

Then over the last few months something so sure, so certain, so predictable felt like it was unraveling all around me. It wasn’t really, it was just shifting, but to me it felt like everything I saw for my future was coming apart. Lots of soul searching. Lots of questions. Lots of wisdom sought, counsel requested. Lots of talking it through, thinking, praying, wondering.

In the middle of it all a little thread began to appear. The thread that seemed so insignificant at first I almost ignored it. Answers weren’t forthcoming to my questions so I decided to focus on this little thread and see where it would lead. As I wound the thread into a little ball, the yarn grew and the path became clearer. An epiphany!

In the midst of what looked like a pause on the future I longed for was actually an opportunity! The business and the dream weren’t two sides of the same coin. They were, and are, two mutually beneficial parts, each whole and separate from the other. What looked like disappointment became fulfillment and redirection. One didn’t lead into the other. They are meant to work together, independently but cooperatively side by side.

Sometimes what looks like a delay, a disappointment or a step backwards is really a huge leap forward toward your dream and your destiny. Sometimes what looks like a delay is really a short cut.

Be brave!

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I Should But…

ProcrastinationI should start my project, but the laundry needs to be folded. I should start my workout, but I feel so tired already. I should sit down and prepare the budget, but I don’t want to look at my statements. I should follow up with that client, but I really don’t feel like making any calls right now. I should schedule that appointment, but I don’t really want to see the doctor.

Why do we procrastinate the very things that will actually get us to our goals? Maybe you don’t, but I do and I’m pretty sure that most other people do too. We know working out will leave us feeling better, give us more energy and get us closer to our goal, but we put it off. We know that preparing a budget will help us keep on track for our financial goals, but the idea of seeing the bank statements in their current condition feels overwhelming and we put it off one more time. We would rather keep letting our money tell us where it’s been rather then us telling it where to go to work for us.

Yes, in the back of our mind we know that following up with our client will at least help build trust and could even potentially lead to a re-order, but we put off making the call using a variety of excuses to assure ourselves our procrastination is the wisest choice.

I’m not going to offer any psychological insights. I’m not going to offer any arguments for why we do this. All I am going to say is that I realize that if nothing changes, nothing changes. If I don’t put my big girl panties on, be an adult and do what I need to do then I don’t have any business wondering why life is not getting any better and I’m still chasing my tail, my life not improving and my reach staying small.

Change is scaring. The unknown is unknown. Truth be told though, staying put and not taking a risk is much more frightening than taking a risk, facing the unknown and staring fear down. So off I go… now where did I put those big girl panties?

Becoming

Stock Images: Reading the contract. Image: 71764
© Photographer: Dreamstime Agency | Agency: Dreamstime.com

The other day my friend Alison posted a link to a blog and I was leery about reading it – the language was a little bit harsh. Okay the language was more than a little bit harsh but I pushed past it and I have to say the message was more than a little refreshing. (Read the original post here, but I warn you the language is not for the faint of heart).

David Wong basically drove home the point that its not about how kind or nice or interesting you are, it’s about what you have to offer that makes things happen in your life. His analogy was that if you have a loved one bleeding after an accident and someone is ready to help by performing a medical procedure on the spot you don’t care if he’s a nice guy, kind to his mother, remembers his girlfriend’s birthday, does his own laundry. What you care about is whether or not he has the medical expertise and skill to perform the medical procedure. All the other stuff doesn’t count.

Hmmmm, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in our personal development that we forget to develop our skills and let’s face it, no one pays you to be nice. You get paid because you bring a skill to the situation that can fix a problem. The better your skills the bigger the problems you can help fix. The bigger the problems the more you get paid to fix them. Yes, of course if you have great inter-personal skills (you’re nice and play well with others) you have an even bigger winning combination.

In my industry (direct sales or network marketing) not long ago you could come in with a basic set of skills and be wildly successful as long as you were persistent and consistent. Today the industry is changing. It’s not only becoming more main stream (Harvard and Yale teach courses on Network Marketing I’m told) but with the novelty of direct sales/network marketing wearing off if you come with basic skills you will create a basic income. To create a great income you need great skills. To be wildly successful you need to create superior skills.

The good news is this is still one industry in which you can come in with basic skills and with a willingness to learn, grow, and develop them you can create superior professional skills and become wildly successful. There is no other industry that I know of where you can truly get your professional training on the job and succeed at such a quick pace. After all you can’t start on the job training as a doctor with just a first aid certificate.

The challenge is if you don’t have professional skills yet are you willing to learn?

Teaching an Old-er Dog New Tricks

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I’m a recovering perfectionist. Yes I admit it, I have this internal need for things to be just right. Nothing less will do. And yes, you’ve guessed it, the standard I measure things by is my own. I love clean lines, finished edges, precise angles and uncluttered spaces. I love order and function. And if you know me at all you know that my life looks NOTHING like the precision I crave.

What my life actually looks like is functional but utilized. The desk is covered with bits of paper that I mean to address in an hour, but never get around to. The filing that sits beside the files and not in them. The laundry that is folded, but not put away. The dishwasher that is clean, but still full! The floor is covered with little bits of train tracks and miniature horses. There are about a dozen notebooks lying around my work space and throughout my home. Each one started but not completed. Each one intended to be finished from one end to the other before the next one was begun. There are drawings and charts and graphs scattered throughout.

Don’t get me wrong, the house is not a complete mess but rather very lived in if you will. You see there is another side to me that craves creativity and must create solutions, systems and discover new possibilities and that side of me could care less about order, neatness and precision. That side wants to take bunny trails in every direction. That side wants to pursue a possibility and capture its every nuance. That side can’t see what’s around me until it notices a moodiness and anxiety rising with me that prevents it from focusing on the latest train of thought. When I stop and notice those signals I realize that the perfectionist in me is feeling overwhelmed by the chaos the creative side of me has made. And so the dance continues.

I take time away from creating to reorganize my space, my life and my things. I determine I will stay on top of it this time. I promise my perfectionist self that I will not allow paper to pile up, but will file it immediately. I will not let laundry stay folded in the basket, I’ll put it away as I’m doing it. I promise my perfectionist self I will finally finish the profiles on all my social media accounts and I will plan out and prepare my blog. I do my best for a few days to stay on top of those tasks and then I notice a sadness and lack of energy and I realize I’ve been maintaining everything, but creating nothing. And the cycle begins again.

But I’m learning. I’m learning to identify those signals before they become so loud they drown out everything else. I’m learning not to let the perfectionist side of me dictate long to-do lists that prevent me from accomplishing them. I am learning to actually enjoy my children and not just plan their daily tasks (we home school). I’m also learning to not let the creative side of me get so engrossed in every bunny trail that nothing gets accomplished. In other words I’m learning to be a peace keeper between the two sides of me.

This old-er (not old) dog is learning some new tricks and giving both intense sides of who I am come out and play. I’m trying to give both sides equal billing and you know what, its kinda starting to work!

Am I the only one who feels like I’m at war within myself?

Problem or Outcome?

The other day I heard a commercial on radio (I know, how antiquated) and it actually got me thinking! This ad was for some weight management program that offered all the bells and whistles. I don’t know what it was and I didn’t even catch the name of the brand so I can’t give them direct credit except to say their ad started me on this train of thought.

Problem or Outcome?

When I am problem oriented in my thinking whatever changes I make are done to fix the problem. So if I diet I’m trying to fix the problem of being over-weight. If I join the gym as part of my new year’s resolution I am trying to fix the problem of being out of shape. I may succeed for a while, but once the problem is fixed more than likely I will go back to the old way of doing things and eventually the problem returns.

Athletes do not think of winning a game as solving a problem. To an athlete winning the game is an outcome of the training, practice and discipline they put in when playing their game or training for their sport. When they win they don’t stop doing what they did in order to win. They keep on practicing, training and perfecting their skills.  They are outcome oriented.

So far I’ve shared the commercial with you. Here is where my brain took off. How many times have I started learning a new skill or attended training in order to fix a problem? Once the problem appears to be fixed I eventually go back to my old ways. I stop following the budget. I eat whatever whenever. I don’t track my sales, prospects, referrals. Eventually the problem resurfaces because the fix wore off.

What could I accomplish if instead of trying to fix problems I focused on creating a healthier lifestyle? Systematic approach to sales or managing my finances? What if I made changes to my outlook? Perhaps the outcome I’m after would be the result of the process and not a solution from a fix?

What about you? Can you recognize times you’ve opted to fix the problem only to have the problem return once you’ve stopped doing the “fix”? Are their any cycles of problem solving you can recognize in your life?

It’s the Journey.

I haven’t blogged in a while (obviously). I felt I didn’t have anything to say. Well that’s not true, I’ve had lots to say I just wasn’t sure I should say it. I wasn’t sure what my voice should be. I know, it’s my blog so my voice is my voice, but what did that mean? I finally decided that I wasn’t going to wait any longer to figure it out. I was just going to figure it out in the process.

Process. Now there’s a word that seems straight forward enough and yet it holds so many challenges. In this day of instant access, instant gratification and instant everything I guess I expected that if I dream something, visualize it, believe it, start out toward it I should arrive at the destination in one or two simple and easy steps. Then I found out there is a process. “Lots of small actions over time create amazing results,” my coach told me today. I don’t know if this statement is originally yours, but it’s a good one Michelle.

Four years ago I became a word-from-home entrepreneur mom. I started because the other option was to put my kiddos in daycare and go back to a “real job” full-time. I would rather do just about anything than put my little ones in daycare so working from home seemed the reasonable choice.  My goal was simply to help make the family budget stretch a little further. No goals of conquering the world, becoming a celebrity or creating immeasurable wealth. Yet one of the gifts I discovered very quickly was that I could dream bigger, wider and a little audaciously if I was willing to work.

I was willing to work. Hard. Just because I was willing to work hard didn’t ensure success. I soon discovered that I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I needed to learn. I needed to figure out how to ride this roller-coaster of business. I needed to know how to break things down into small actions over time.

Thankfully accessing amazing minds in business, social media, sales and so much more is as simple as point and click! If ever there was an age where information was easily accessible it would be now. If ever there was amazing access to great thinkers, leaders and trailblazers it would be today. And yet, with all this access so few people choose to learn from those who know what it takes to succeed. Most choose to listen to their family, friends, coworkers and the guy at the doughnut shop who all say it can’t be done and have proven that they wholeheartedly believe that.

The first part of the process to success is to choose to listen to those who know how to succeed and have the track record to prove it.”What you believe you can achieve.” I don’t know who the quote belongs to (though I know its actual source). In order to believe you can succeed you need to start listening to the voices of those who know how. Once you listen to them you’ll need to do differently, but that’s another post…