Archive for January, 2011

Jan
29

Soaring

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I’m a big fan of dance, and absolutely can NOT miss an episode of So You Think You Can Dance when it’s on. It’s not something I spend a lot of time watching and don’t attend live performances very much, but through that show I’ve been able to figure out more of what I enjoy and why.

Dance in America: Wolf Trap’s Face of America:

Yosemite National Park: Luminescent Flights

My mother sent me a link the other day for a series of dances performed in National Parks and the first series, for me at least, is particularly astounding. These dancers are on the rock wall next to the falls in Yosemite National Park and are performing an amazing, beautiful, soaring and graceful piece. As I watched I could feel the air, hear the falls and smell the incredible air. I could almost experience some of the movement.

And, believe it or not (yes, I am this nuts about business), it made me think about the amazing, soaring feeling I experience when I am doing what I love in my business. It’s a feeling I believe every entrepreneur should experience. One of the dancers talks about how it felt to go over the edge on that wall the first time to test things out and how scary it was, yet how exhilarating. I believe business, when we are truly embracing our passion, feels exactly the same way. It’s not always that moment of exhilaration, but if we take the chances we’ll experience that too.

To top it off, the payoff can be huge, and I don’t just mean money… I mean in experiences that are fulfilling, extraordinary and positively thrilling.

Where in your business are you hesitating to embrace the opportunity to soar? I bet when this woman started to incorporate rock climbing and dance she experienced plenty of resistance – both from within herself and from people and sources outside of herself… and yet, she pursued it and look what she was able to do and to create.

Take the chance on yourself. What do you want to do? What do you want to create? Where is your opportunity to soar?

Images taken from the video.


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Jan
22

Making a Big Splash

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As I was walking up 5th Ave the other day I came across a new store with a very splashy entrance… it’s just a few doors away from another one of the stores I’ve thought about including here on the blog, so I’ll do this one first, then get to the next one…

It is a new Hollister location and the entrance to the store includes video screens that run at least 6 feet high and a minimum of 12 feet across, with the door in the center, which you’ll see in the video. As you watch you’ll also get to see what’s in the door…

It will be interesting to see if the two very scantily clad models (and 2 people with winter coats on – after all it was only about 30 degrees when I shot this) are still there over time, or if that is part of the big opening.

What works well with this store front (and you can search YouTube to see what I mean – my video is just another example of it) is that they are getting free media from other people, people like me sharing the name and images because it is new, interesting and unique. Whether it actually translates into more sales, I don’t really know. They are also using some of the same techniques their neighbor a few doors up has used for quite a while….

Abercrombie & Fitch. Here’s an image I took over the summer, and this ‘line’ of people waiting is a daily occurance. It’s a brilliant strategy when you think about it, a lot of people are very influenced by lines and the appeal of something that is ‘exclusive’.

Abercrombie & Fitch manages to keep a line of people outside the door during most seasons of the year – which makes people stop and wonder what is going on, take pictures, and often, get it line.

As you think about your business, how can you create ‘Buzz’?

What is it that you can do that will attract unusual attention?

What can you do to help your customers and clients feel like they are part of an exclusive and fortunate group that gets to use your product or service?

It’s just a piece of an overall marketing strategy, but making yourself exclusive can be a very successful way to bring in clients. And, creating something, like the ocean view and the pool of water on 5th Ave in the middle of winter, can really make you stand out. But, before you spend a fortune creating something beautiful or unique, make sure you have a way to track the results, and test it in a smaller way to see if it has an impact on the bottom line. Once you are sure, you can consider rolling out a bigger, flashier version.

While there were many people milling around the new Hollister store, taking pictures and enjoying the ‘scenery’ (both digital and real…) I didn’t see very people going inside. It may have been the day and the time, but an installation and investment like that really needs to pay off, so go slowly into it as you chose how to use your marketing and advertising budget. There are many ways to create buzz or an air of exclusivity without spending a fortune.


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Jan
14

Passion and Excitement vs. Overwhelm

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Find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the projects you are taking on in your business?

After struggling with feeing overwhelmed for about 3 years straight (no picnic, as you know if you’ve experienced something similar) during the last year and a half, I’ve come to a realization.

Excitement and passion doesn’t exist in the same space as overwhelm.

At least not for me.

What that means to me, is that when I’m feeling overwhelmed, one of two things is happening; either, I’m working on something I don’t really want to be doing (it’s not aligned with my passion) or I’m letting fear get the best of me.

Let’s look at the first one… doing something you don’t really want to be doing.

There are a lot of reasons to take on projects that may not completely align with your passion and purpose, but when it comes to building a business, you really have to be careful here. It’s easy to get sidetracked by something that feels like an obligation, looks like a good opportunity or has the potential to bring in substantial income. No matter what the reason, if the project or task is not in alignment with your overall goals, you will have to struggle with yourself to get it done. Pay attention to that feeling, it’s telling you something.

Don’t get me wrong here… there will be times when you are doing something that is aligned with your overall goals and you may not want to be doing it… that’s a different experience though. It doesn’t feel suffocating and crushing… and you can, with a little effort, shift your thinking about it by focusing on the outcome, generally pretty easily bringing yourself into a place where you aren’t resisting it as much.

What I’m talking about is when you are off-track, and that oppressive, heavy feeling comes over you, you feel like you have SO MUCH to do you can barely breathe and all you want to do is go to the park, watch TV or crawl into bed. Pay attention. It’s likely you are working on something that is not aligned with your passion and your heart’s desire. That kind of overwhelm is something you generally won’t experience at the same time as feeling excitement or passion for what you really want to do.

Now let’s take a look at the second one… letting fear get the best of you.

The second reason we often run into that sense of overwhelm is when we are beginning to do what we really want to do and fear gets the better of us. It’s a different feeling though… you mind spins with all the people who are already doing it, how there’s no space in the market for you, you just don’t see how you’re going to make money doing this thing or making this product, you have no idea how you will get it done… It looks like a different choice would be easier… “the grass is so much greener over there… why didn’t I choose to be an xyz or make xyz.”

It’s an illusion. A mirage.

Take a few deep breaths, pull out your quarterly plan and re-focus you attention on what you really love and want to do. Put blinders on… the grass is definitely NOT greener (after being in a couple different industries and having successful friends in several more, I can tell you with absolute certainty, running your own business requires tremendous effort and if there is no competition, well, you are either cutting edge (which can be really hard) or creating something there is no market for – competition is healthy, and a sign that people are interested in what you have to offer).

So, if you are struggling with overwhelm, take some time today to sit down and brain dump all the tasks and things you need to do onto a piece of paper, into a document, online into a project management software (here’s a good one) – whatever will work for you. Then take a few minutes and answer the following questions:

1. What do I really LOVE to do?

2. When do I feel the most energized and passionate in my life? (This could be showing up anywhere, not just in business)

3. What am I doing when I really connect with people and make the most difference in their lives and my own?

Cut loose with this. Don’t hold back. Nothing is right or wrong – good or bad. Just let it come. You may know exactly what the answers are or you may still be sorting it out.

Once you have your answers for this, take a look at your task list brain dump – anything that is on there that isn’t related to something you wrote answering these three questions should be reviewed with a very strict eye. You may need to eliminate it.

And, if you’re struggling with that decision because you feel like you made a commitment, you owe someone or you’ve put in a lot of time and effort, reach out to someone you trust that can help you figure out how to handle it.┬áIf you don’t have anyone in your life that fits that bill, then you may want to consider working with a coach – this is where coaches have made some of the most significant impact in my life. Giving me permission to stop something that I knew was not working for me, that was sometimes even really unhealthy for me, but where I felt obligated or like I couldn’t change my mind. There are always options and choices, but when you are stuck you can’t always see them, a good coach can help you find a solution you will resonate with, it may be challenging, but it could also be life-altering.

If you are interested in working with me as a coach, use this Contact form and we’ll set up an appointment to talk. Creating a life that thrills you often requires help and support that family and friends can’t or don’t know how to give. Don’t let it stop you.


Categories : Success Mindset
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Jan
08

When it’s all just too much…

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As business owners we have all had those days (or maybe even weeks, or months…) where things just felt like way too much. There was too much to think about, too much to do, too many things to manage.

Particularly at the beginning of a New Year, it can seem overwhelming – you have so many things you want to do to make this year great…

It can be completely paralyzing.

And, it can shut off the flow of income to your business like a light switch.

And, there are things you can do to get out of that place and move yourself back into the flow of creating and completing, getting things done. Here’s a short list of some of the options (there are tons more, but these tend to help me when I need it most):

1. Take A Break

Sometimes this is what you really need. It could be an hour or 2, or a couple of days. If you are in that state, you may just need to step away and give your mind a chance to clear so you can start to see the bigger picture again. Then the things you really need to focus on will move to the forefront and the things you can afford to put on the back-burner become obvious, letting you focus your attention where it needs to be.

2. Take Some Time To Plan

We can get so excited about new directions, products or services we want to offer and so overwhelmed by all the nitty-gritty things that need to get done that we can forget to take the time to plan. It can even feel like we’re wasting valuable time doing the planning, but understand that without a plan you won’t get where you want to go… It would be like hoping in the car and setting off on your trip, map in hand, with no destination. Even having a map can’t help if you don’t know where you want to go.

Take some time out this week and plan the first quarter of the year. Pick 4 or 5 specific outcomes you want to achieve and then lay out some basic steps you need to take in each month to achieve those outcomes. Then keep it in your workspace and review it regularly – just like taking a break, having a plan easily helps you identify what you need to focus on and what can wait until later. And, it’s amazing what you will get done in the last few day of a month if you realize you are behind schedule…

3. Step Up Your Boundaries

Frequently, as entrepreneurs who are creative, giving and supportive people we can let others gobble up our time without really realizing it. If you have gotten lax about maintaining your boundaries, setting your schedule and keeping it, you may need to look at this.

Decide how much time you will spend on the phone, on email or social media sharing and supporting friends and even family members. It feels really good to do it, but if it’s happening at the expense of you getting busy on your business, in the long run it will hurt more than it helps. Schedule the time you give to people, and then stick to it, and make sure you give yourself and your business the gift of your own attention too.

4. Get Some Help

If you are really ready to step-it-up, you can start to reach out for some help. This could come in the form of a VA for a few hours a week, hiring a PR Professional, getting a coach or even having someone take over parts of your marketing campaigns. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of ways you can begin to outsource the things you don’t really need to be doing anymore.

Take some time and list out the tasks you did today – do that every day for the next week, then at the end look at what could have been done by someone else. Your time is valuable, and you should be spending it on the things that bring the most money into your business, so take the tasks you can have done for less and get someone else on board to take care of them.

And, if you are ready for step number 4, I have something that might interest you. I’m opening up a very limited number of slots of ‘Done For You Twitter’. I’ve had SO many people request it, that it is finally time to do it. If you are interested, please visit the Contact page and fill out the form. You will hear back from someone within 24 hours with more details.

So, grab a cup of tea (or coffee, if you prefer) and review one of these steps for you and your business. It will make all the difference.

Image by: m_bartosch