Thursday, January 23, 2014
I firmly believe we ARE our brand. We radiate our values and beliefs in every conversation, every encounter, every project we take on. Here is an example everyone can relate to: remember last fall when it was local election time? Did the dozens of cardboard signs on any corner persuade you to think differently about a candidate? When you hear a candidate speak or watch them on a television ad, you intuitively know who is being genuine and who is trying to project an image to get your vote. There is an intangible something about each one of us that radiates to others. That is the origin of our brand.
I'm not suggesting that we don't use whatever avenues we choose to present our businesses in a favorable light, if that method appeals to us. I am saying that we don't have to make ourselves crazy trying to blog, tweet, use Facebook and other social media sites and the 25 other things the so-called experts recommend to get our businesses noticed. Choose the ones that appeal to you and consider that enough. Track your results for a period of time and see how they are, then tweak if necessary.
We are in charge of our own wellbeing. We literally cannot use every medium available to us. Take care of yourself by choosing one or two venues to connect with your audience and let the rest go without a backward glance. Give yourself a little freedom. Isn't that one of the reasons you went into business in the first place? Ah....relax.
Monday, July 22, 2013
I recently read Dr. Amen's book on brain science, where he provides evidence that every thought we think creates reactions within the body that either send healthy chemicals through our system and energize us or toxic chemicals through our system that drain us. There are no neutral thoughts. He builds a strong case for always leaning in the direction of positive thinking.
An easy way to remember it: positive thoughts and feelings give us access to greater energy flow. Negative thoughts and feelings restrict our access to that flow of energy. Of course, there are other factors, such as environment, diet, health and how well your personal values are being met which affect your energy level, yet the easiest place to begin is with our thoughts. It is incumbent upon each of us to know ourselves well enough to know what gives us a boost to think and talk about and what makes us feel deflated. This will be unique to each person. Being outdoors always lifts my mood and energy, but some may get that same lift from driving, or listening to their favorite tunes. If your energy flags from time to time, notice what you were thinking about or listening to at the time. If it happens more than once, this may be a topic that is a drain to you. Reframe it or steer clear of it if you can.
Remember that you always have access to greater energy and look for ways to let it in and renew yourself.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Declare Your Ambiguity
There are 5 steps to this process:
- Declare The Ambiguity. Own up to it. Sometimes everyone is thinking the same thing, but no one wants to say so, wondering silently whether their peers have as many unanswered questions as they do, but not wanting to look incompetent. As long as this murky feeling sits with you and/or the group undeclared, you aren't really dealing with it, but it is still there.
- State What you Are Clear On. In any given project or scenario, there are pieces you have clarity about, and pieces that are somewhat foggy or less clear, or a total blank. Begin with what you are clear about. Maybe it is the outcome, or the start date, or the timeframe. Whatever you are clear on, state it as a place to begin. This is like putting down the puzzle pieces you definitely recognize and you can build on them.
- State what is unclear, undefined, or murky. "This is where I feel I'm grasping in the dark," or "Here is where the lines begin to fade for me," are statements describing that feeling of not knowing where you stand. It might be different for you than a colleague, but by stating it you open a dialogue that can be clarifying.
- State the information that would clarify. "If I knew what the budget was, I'd feel better about providing some solutions," or "Who, exactly, is our perfect customer for this service?" or "How long will we be in this temporary office?"
- Ask for what you need. Be specific: "Ray, can you let me know by tomorrow when the vendor is available and what he will charge for this part of the project?"
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
- They see the big picture and how each segment supports that picture
- They are comfortable communicating up and down the org chart and are good at building relationships
- They are innovative thinkers who expect to find solutions and do
- They have a knack for putting people together who will collaborate and cross pollinate well
- They manage their energy well and know how to prioritize
- They convey ideas easily and build enthusiasm among team members for those ideas
- They look for the best in people and encourage them to bring their best game
- They are inclusive, building bridges between people with cultural and philosophical differences
- They hold themselves and others accountable for results
- They manage resources well: time, people, $ and space
- Because they listen well, they engender trust among peers
- They are willing to ask for help, ideas, feedback
Monday, February 27, 2012
How often do you acknowledge the brilliant, creative ideas you come up with? We all have them, you know. The thing is, when they come from us, we tend to brush them off. “Someone else must have already thought of this by now,” we say to ourselves.
Maybe, maybe not. It’s a good thing George de Mestral was not thinking that way or he would not have been the creator of Velcro. He was out for a walk one day and came back with his socks full of stickers. He examined them closely and learned that the hooks on the ends of the spines made the stickers stick and thought how beneficial that would be if he wanted to fasten something easily. It was a million dollar idea.
We have them all the time, but most of us have not learned to appreciate our own genius. We have been conditioned to believe that genius is rare, that it is reserved for the privileged few. Because George de Mestral acted on the idea, it was made a tangible reality. The concept was golden whether or not he was the one who brought it about. How many times have you had ideas that later were manifested by someone else? Rather than kicking ourselves when this happens, we would benefit more by seeing it as tangible evidence that we have brilliant, viable solutions and ideas.
I recently attended a mastermind session where eight strangers generated dozens of ideas for solving each others challenges. Was there anything special about this group? They seemed like ordinary business owners. It happens every time people come together to help each other. We each have access to brilliant thinking that we can call upon to come up with solutions to any challenge. And although it is fun to do it with a group, we do not require a group for this aspect of ourselves to emerge.
If you would like to further develop this capability in yourself, here are two things you can do:
- Begin to notice and acknowledge to yourself all the great ideas you generate. Every time you brainstorm with others, you are producing ideas. Acknowledge the wealth of ideas coming from you and those you interact with. Mentally give yourself credit when someone else runs with an idea you had long ago.Use this skill more frequently and consciously. Like any other thing you do, the more you do it the easier it gets.
- At least once a week, think about the challenges you are handling in your life and business. Choose one to focus upon and generate a list of possible solutions. Do this exercise when you are relaxed, in a good frame of mind, and will not be disturbed for at least 20 minutes. Trust the solutions to come, set a timer, and, without censoring, write down every possibility that comes to you. You can refine and test this list of options later. For now, get in the habit of expecting to generate ideas and then seeing those ideas flow easily onto the page.
Most of us are far more capable than we realize. We are designed to be creative and when we acknowledge the brilliant, creative aspect of ourselves, all sorts of magic begins to happen. Then ideas bubble up like a natural spring. Why not make it a point to spend a little time each day with someone who could really rock your world in a positive way—spend a little time with the genius in you.
(first published on my Biznik profile in 2011)
Thursday, June 9, 2011
- Capable Adult Leader
- Critical Parent
- Frightened Child
- Rebellious Teen
- Loving Protector
Monday, February 14, 2011
- Bring together a group of 7 to 9 individuals who do not work together every day. According to research, this is the ideal number for creating an energetic, lively conversation that is still manageable and not too time consuming for everyone to participate.
- Invite people from diverse specialties, like financial, legal, creative. We often hang out with our peers. Be adventurous and invite in sharp people from backgrounds you know little about.
- Let there be a wide range of age and a good mix of gender. These multiple perspectives help us see challenges from lots of angles.
- Alternate between individual time generating ideas in solitude and coming together to generate ideas in a group setting. You might circulate an email in advance of the in-person meeting stating what puzzle you want to solve and asking each person to come with 3 ideas. Then, when everyone convenes, those ideas will spark other ideas and you are off and running.
- Be honest with yourself about what your strengths are and where you most need support to round out the skills available to you. The most accomplished people in every field surround themselves with capable support.