Do your best today

February 17, 2010 at 1:20 PM | Posted in leadership, opportunities | Leave a comment
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I’m watching the Olympics and thinking about doing my personal best. If you are familiar with The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz you know that he talks about doing your best every day. Every day your best will be a bit different. Any number of elements can impact what your best looks like day to day.

As speakers and coaches being your best every day can cover a lot of ground. When you are in front of a room full of people your best looks very different than when you are working one-on-one with a client. They are different skills sets and depending on how your day is going sometimes one skill set is easier to draw from than another.

Knowing where you are that day can make all the difference.  There are days when I am a much better coach than speaker. At least, that’s the way it feels. It may be that I am feeling more energized working one-on-one with someone, really helping then dig deep. Maybe I just didn’t get enough sleep and know it will be more difficult to feel the energy I need to make a room sparkle.

Whatever it might be acknowledge where you are. If you know you are speaking and your feeling a bit challenged contact that one person that always helps you get your mojo back. I bet you can find it for the speech. You can be your best that day! I’m sure your desire to do your very best will impact the audience in a positive way that leaves them feeling like you have empowered and uplifted them.

When I’m feeling unfocused and not able to find my best I take a few minutes to center myself. I sit quietly; try to clear my mind (Yep, I said try, some days I am more successful than others), to connect with my heart, my head and the earth around me. It might sound a bit ‘airy fairy’ but generally, that brings me back to a place of focus. Now I can work with any client knowing I am bringing my best to them.

Accepting that my best every day will differ every day allows me to be flexible in what I approach. For instance, there are some days when I just don’t feel like delving into the detail of a complicated project plan for a new program release. I do feel great energy around putting together one of the courses for that program. If I focus on where I can do my best I’ll work on the course. I can’t ignore the project plan forever but I find I work much better if I take advantage of the energy that is available right now. Most of the time the energy for the project plan comes back once I have spent some solid time working on the course. The result is I do my best on both areas of focus.

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Competitor or Collaborator?

February 2, 2010 at 8:13 PM | Posted in content, leadership, opportunities | Leave a comment
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I’m putting together a program for Entrepreneurs. Some of my competitors are experts in the topics I want to include in the program.

I started to consider how I view my competitors. To be honest, I don’t view them as a competitor per se, rather as an expert with a slightly different audience.  There are certainly enough clients out there for all of us.

I decided it might be a good idea to bring my competitors into my program, to include them on the program as experts. There are some great advantages to collaborating-

• I don’t have to create all of the content.

• My clients get to hear from someone well grounded and well respected for their expertise.

• My program can be shared with my clients and with the experts- expanding the potential participant base.

• The expert gets to share their information with a new audience.

• The expert might have some great ideas and guidance for the overall program.

• I might be able to contribute to something they are building.

    After I sat down and thought about I couldn’t come up with a single reason not to ask the expert if they would like to contribute to my Entrepreneurs program.

    Let’s face it; all they can say is ‘No’. Most people are eager to work with you, especially if they aren’t responsible for all of the logistics involved in a program or conference.

    I believe sometimes we forget we can learn from competitors. We occasionally slide into that barren space where we believe another businessperson, speaker or coach is only out there to take away our business. The reality is I have never met someone who only wants to take business away from me.

    Simply asking a person to contribute as an expert can change the way they perceive you. No longer are you that ‘other’ entrepreneur trying to take their business away. Now you are a peer asking them to share their expertise.

    It’s a great feeling when someone asks you to step up as an expert, particularly if it is a peer.  We all benefit when we work together- our clients in particular benefit from others experience.

    Find ways to collaborate with your competitor, build a bridge that leads to creating a village, together.

    Walking my Talk

    January 31, 2010 at 1:39 PM | Posted in change, gratitude, leadership | Leave a comment
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    It has been one of those weeks! A week that makes me wonder why I EVER thought being in business for myself was a good idea. And yet, I have NO desire to go to work for someone else.

    This week has made me live all of the rules I preach to my clients. Monday and Tuesday my email was down.  Wednesday I spent 3 hours at the doctor’s office while my partner got stitches. Thursday I spent all afternoon visiting and counseling a good friend who found herself suddenly in the hospital. Friday I tried, somewhat successfully, to get caught up. And here I am on Sunday still catching up from the week.

    I have really had to walk my talk this week! Every day I had to find ways to be in gratitude. Some way to appreciate good things going on in my life when it felt like there was so much chaos. I focused on my healthy family, pets and the work I did manage to get done every day.

    Sitting in the doctor’s office and visiting the hospital led to a whole new level of gratitude and appreciation. How lucky I am to have a family that is generally healthy and happy!?

    Because I am a solo-preneur I can arrange my day to help out my partner or a friend.  The ability to manage my day is a blessing. It’s one of the greatest gifts of being your own boss.

    You need to maintain your focus when you are working on your business. Being an entrepreneur requires a certain level of focus and dedication. Managing your time and arranging your day to work for you is tremendously important. I found a few hours each day that allowed me to work without being disturbed.  I maintained focus on items that had a due date, so I didn’t miss my timelines, and on items that are driving revenue for me.

    I’m using social media to build relationships and it does help to drive revenue but I chose to focus on other revenue venues. That’s something you need to be able to determine. Of all of the priorities you are focusing on, which are really driving revenue and which can you let drop for a few days without losing momentum.

    If you aren’t sure which areas are which take the time to do the analysis. If you are unsure which items create the most business for you contact me.

    Luckily my partner and friend are both getting better every day and I am getting caught up. I’m still thrilled I’m a solo-preneur; wouldn’t change that for the world!

    Your Red Cardinal Rising

    January 21, 2010 at 9:01 AM | Posted in goals, leadership, opportunities | Leave a comment
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    I was walking downstairs when a loud crash startled me. I looked out the window to see a beautiful red Cardinal lying on its side on the porch. Apparently, he had flown into the window and knocked himself senseless. I sat beside the window trying to decide if I needed to hold a Cardinal funeral or if he would come around and fly away.

    Mr. Cardinal tried to push himself on to his feet, he flopped around for a bit, laid still, tried again. He finally got back onto his feet. Then he stood there not moving except to blink. He was so close I could see the individual feathers, how the colors melted in to one another, and the fold in his eyelid when he blinked. He stood there for 15- 20 minutes, sometimes closing his eyes for 4 – 5 minutes at a time.

    I started to wonder what he was thinking about. From a physical perspective he certainly could have been stunned, cartoon stars running a circle around his head, he might have had a concussion. And he had the fight to get back on his feet.

    I’ve been there before. Thinking something was going to happen, flying blissfully along only to have it ripped away completely. It feels like you’ve run into a window. You can be stunned. Standing their blinking, trying to figure out what just happened. Just getting back on you feet is a bit of an issue.

    I think most of us have had this happen at some point in our business. It’s easy to feel stunned when something doesn’t go exactly as you had planned. Like the Cardinal you need to get back on your feet. Take a few minutes to regroup, shake the stars out of your head.

    Those who have taken some kind of hit, gotten back on their feet, found another way and triumphed exemplify true character and courage. Leaders do this every day. You can do this.

    For every one of us that seemingly disastrous moment will look different. What is a disaster to you is a bump in the road to me and vice versa. You don’t have to do it alone. Friends and peers can provide support and encouragement.

    Get back on your feet and take one step at a time. After a bit that ‘disaster’ won’t look so awful, it may actually feel like a gift. A gift that has allowed you to use courage, cunning, leadership and character to reach your goal! Think about all that you have learned from that moment.

    I sat watching Mr. Cardinal. Slowly he started to turn his head from side to side. He moved around to face the front yard. With a loud chirp he flew off!

    Do you make lemonade?

    January 16, 2010 at 2:20 PM | Posted in change, goals, opportunities | Leave a comment
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    Some of you know I was going to run a training session today.  Fri. morning the class was cancelled. Not because of participants, there were plenty of those. But because of some last minute scheduling issues. The scheduler and the location had a miscommunication, at the last minute the class had to be cancelled.

    I had my Saturday planned around the class and was looking forward to meeting a group of local solo-preneurs. The training was going to address many of the topics I address with my clients on a daily basis.

    The great news is that time opened up for other things on Fri. and Saturday. Yet, I felt badly for the folks that had signed up for the class. It had been on their calendars for quite a while and now at the last minute it was cancelled.

    I decided to make lemonade out of lemons- is that the right saying?? The point is I wanted to figure out another way to share this information with group. I put together a conference call for a few days later, sent an email to the group and folks are already responding to come to the conference call.

    What originally felt like a bad thing has now turned around to something great. The conference call is open to the entire group- not just the folks that originally signed up, I still get to meet some wonderful people and share information I know they can use.

    That’s the beauty and the challenge of being a solo-preneur- you can either accept a situation that doesn’t feel good or you can find a way to turn it into something great. Either way it is up to YOU.

    This goes directly to your attitude. Think opportunity; believe there is opportunity regardless of the situation. All you have to do is identify the opportunity and a way to make it happen.

    Your attitude makes all the difference. If you are thinking about opportunities, not in an obsessive-compulsive way, but in a way that leaves you open to change, they will certainly show up. When the training class was cancelled I immediately started to think about how I could get information to the attendees and still have a bit of interaction with them. WALA! The conference call was born!

    I’m looking forward to the conference call; to meeting the solo-preneurs and sharing information that will help grow their business. I made lemonade! Join me at the lemonade stand?

    There was a little growling, and a lot of wary circling…

    December 23, 2009 at 9:21 PM | Posted in change | Leave a comment
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    [tweetmeme source=”jen_conaway”]

    I’ve been watching my dogs try to adjust to the visiting puppy creating mayhem in the house. There is a little bit of growling, a lot of wary circling, no sleeping (because you have to watch every move the new puppy makes), little trust in her antics and a whole lot of basic upset.

    This got me thinking about how I adapt to change. IF I adapt to change. I’d like to think I adapt well to change. I will warily circle around it until I figure out what it might mean and how the change will affect my business or personal life. Sometimes I don’t trust what’s happening until I do some investigating and, on occasion, there has been some pretty big upset.

    My upset is usually short lived. It only lasts as long as it takes me to figure out WHY I am upset. After all, we are all wary of losing control and, many times, change represents some lose of control. The question you need to ask is- How do I regain control?

    Not control in the – I MUST maintain control over every aspect of every piece of my life!!! sense. But the kind of control that allows you to make educated decisions, to focus on things you can influence and to make the best of what might feel like a tricky situation. Sometimes that is all you can ask for.

    Adaptability and releasing control are things I have learned. They are wonderful skills and are easier for some to learn than others. I call them skills because you can learn them. These two skills have made a tremendous difference in situations that I would, at one time, have found intolerable. Now, I simply roll with the flow, find ways to do with what I have. I always presume something positive will develop.

    I try to instill that same mindset with my clients.

    1. You can become more adaptable and release control
    2. You do need to work at it
    3. Staying adaptable and flexible will always take awareness if it’s not part of your natural personality
    4. It WILL get easier
    5. It is SO VERY worth it!

    Everything becomes just a bit easier when you allow the Universe to take some of the responsibility for running things smoothly.

    Do you just give up and stop trying? Of course not. Take directed action, dot all of the I’s and cross all of the T’s, allow that it might not go exactly to plan and that is ok. There are far worse things that could happen than your plan going askew.

    Realizing that an unscheduled change in my plans was not a disaster, rather simply a speed bump to be adapted to, allowed me a tremendous sense of freedom. Suddenly I didn’t have to worry about the tiniest detail, if there is only 1 color of Sharpie available for my speech I will certainly find a way to adapt.

    If just the thought of relinquishing control and happily adapting to a change makes you shudder with dismay I encourage you to take another look. Maybe you could benefit from releasing a bit of control? I know I did.

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