career

Goal Setting: The Quickest Way to Confidence

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Do you find yourself struggling between setting goals and just living in the present moment?  There’s a tricky line to walk between the two.  If you’re constantly focused on the future and your goals, you may be missing out on wonderful moments in the here and now.   You may also have blinders on and not see unexpected opportunities right before you -something that might even be better than the goal you’re working on because you’ve got your eyes on that future prize that beckons.

I’ve found a balance that works pretty well for me between goal setting and enjoying the present -it might work for you too.  First thing each day I spend some quiet time.  Many successful people advocate this habit.  William Penn said, “True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”  So I sit.  And watch my thoughts come and go.  And after a few minutes I feel myself settling down.  And many times, that still, small voice within gives me ideas that move my goal forward.  This simple practice keeps me centered and able to be mindful during the day, enjoying the moments for what they are and it also keeps me focused when I am working on something related to my goal so I can get it done more quickly and efficiently.

Another thing that works is to consider what you will feel when you achieve your goal.  For me the answer, regardless of the goal, is often that I feel confident, generous and free.  When I’ve achieved something I experience confidence, I feel authentic and strong.   I am able to be fully generous with others -with money and kind words and actions. And, I feel free…free to live my life the way I want to. A big key to all this is to pay attention to your current experiences that allow you to feel the way you believe your goal will allow you to feel.  Chances are, you already have some of what you are seeking in your life right now.  Do more of those things.  The more you feel your desired feelings right now, the easier you’ll find it to get to your goal.

Lastly, always tell at least one person of your goal and get their support. Of course, be sure to tell someone who wants to support you in living life your way.  If you don’t get this support, it’s much more difficult to stick with it -it’s so easy to live each day being pulled in the directions that other people want you to go.

So go ahead and do some goal setting.  Know what you want to feel.  Enjoy those feelings now, in the present.  And live life YOUR way.

Top 10 Entrepreneur Trends for 2011

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1. Small is better. There’s been a fundamental cultural change toward small business. Many of those who became unemployed have taken control of their own destiny by creating their own work and boosting local economies. Being small allows for customized, quality customer service which everyone appreciates (see trend #10).

2. Niche it even more tightly. Entrepreneurs have to be known. To get known you have to show that you, your service or product can solve a specific problem. Be the “go to” person in your field. You can market narrowly and deliver broadly -so don’t worry about not having enough business. Those who specialize make the most money hands down.

3. Multiple profit centers are mighty. I just discovered a fine example of this at the Hacienda de las Rosas wine tasting room in Old Town San Diego. The proprietors, a husband/wife team, raise Peruvian Paso Horses and make wines from local grapes, a dream come true for both of them: fine horses + fine wines = fine profits. Having multiple profit centers can buffer an entrepreneur in any economy.

4. Home is where the money is. The number of self-employed who work exclusively from home increased from 3.47 million in 1999 to 4.34 million in 2005 and has continued to increase since then (2005 Census report). And don’t think people aren’t making money at home: home based businesses had a median family income of $63,648 in 2005 compared to the national median of $46,242 that year.

5. Collaboration is Queen. Women entrepreneurs are leading the way by aligning with others who deliver similar and even the same services leading to expanded business for all. When it’s time to take a vacation (and yes that word is in the entrepreneur’s vocabulary) they may even ask a competitor to provide service to their clients -the client is appreciative and the “competitor” will return the favor.

6. Bootstrapping makes sense. Entrepreneurs work smarter when they don’t have a whole lot of money to throw around. Many businesses can be started without a bank loan. A lot of motivation can be uncovered when you have to generate profits quickly.

7. Social media expanded the entrepreneur’s universe and will continue to do so. Even entrepreneurs with brick and mortar businesses are smart to use Facebook and twitter. Use of these free tools allows businesses to build relationships, establish their brand and have fun too.

8. More discounts. Customers are watching what they spend and expect a bargain. Rewarding frequent customers with discounts is a smart way to keep them coming back for more.

9. Have fun -make money. Customers and clients like to be delighted and everyone loves a laugh. Entrepreneurs are lightening up and enjoying themselves.

10. Personalization leads to profits. Everyone wants to feel special. Customizing emails with customers names, sending birthday cards with discounts, personalizing offers -successful entrepreneurs are jumping on this trend with great results.

Are You In The Game?

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I’m a sports fan. Last night I watched my New England Patriots football team roust their arch rival the New York Jets. Yay! (Sorry to you Jets fans!)

Something I see often in working clients, is that dreams often get stalled and even die because the person just didn’t get in the game.

What do I mean by that?

Here’s an example. I want to explore a new profit center in the field of travel. I’m not sure yet what shape it will take -I have plenty of ideas.

I could create a niche travel copywriting service.

I could become a travel agent and focus on a niche in spiritual travel or “pubs and people” travel or both!

I could become a tour operator and lead tours myself.

Now if I don’t take some kind of action -all those great ideas will be lost and I will be withholding some great services from people who are hungry for them.

So how do I get in the game? Here’s my first four steps.

1. Books on my shelf research.
I have some books on good careers for people over 50 -I checked out the resources they recommended for the travel field.

2. Internet research.
I looked up some of the authors that were recommended. I found some upcoming conferences for travel. I found a potential niche that fits my background beautifully combining academia, nonprofit, writing and travel.

3. Read. I ordered some ebooks from a well known author after reviewing plenty of free content on his website.

4. Social Media. I signed up for some Linked In Groups and twitter feeds. Now I can have conversations with people who are already in the game.

Next steps? Read and complete a workbook on how to be a travel agent. Choose a niche. Participate in conversations. Ask questions. Get a WordPress page up. Create an easy marketing plan. Make money. Have fun.

What game do you want to get in? These first steps are no or low cost so jump in.

What I’ve learned is you can’t see how it’s going to turn out. That amazing, unexpected things happen when you get in the game.

I’d love to read your comments about how you are getting in your game.

I already know you’re a winner!

Potential: Are You Using Yours?

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Astronomers recently discovered that there are three times as many stars in the universe than was previously thought.

Up till now, they have seriously underestimated the number of other suns in other galaxies – and that means there must be many more planets orbiting them where other life forms might exist. Mind blowing!

Which got me thinking…where are you seriously underestimating yourself?

I see it all too often in people -I can see their amazing potential, their strong qualities, their unique way of looking at the world, yet they stay stuck in old, tired habits that aren’t fulfilling them.

Here’s how to see the three times as many stars in your personal universe that you just might be overlooking!

1. Make a decision.
Want to have a six figure income? A lighter body? A meaningful relationship? Decide today that you will have that and that nothing will stop you.

2. Get clear.
80% of your success comes from being absolutely clear about what you want to accomplish.

3. Plan every day in advance.
This simple habit is a practice every successful person uses.

4. Use simple project planning.

What does the end look like? What steps have to be done to get there? Organize the list of steps by priority and sequence. Be accountable to someone else for getting the steps done. Delegate what you can and hold others accountable.

5. Follow the 80/20 rule.
Make your first activities of the day be the 20% vital ones that will contribute 80% of the value to you.

6. Focus and concentrate without distraction on the most important thing you need to accomplish and stay with it till i’s done. If it’s a large task, break it down into doable chunks so that you can complete one piece at each sitting.

When you apply these practices and accomplish major things -you generate amazing feelings of well being. You’ll be happy and energized and motivated to take on the next task. And you will see that there is indeed an amazing bounty of all good in your universe just waiting for you to reach out and take it.

What’s Your Message?

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August is my month for lots of “down time.” And,
by giving myself time to just “be”, I find the
most creative thinking starts bubbling up.

Today I was thinking about how any marketing
or public relations we’re doing for our businesses
begins with the foundation of our “message.”

My message is “you’ve gotta do what you love.”
It breaks my heart to see people trudging
through one boring or stress filled day
after another, filled with longing for
something better.

I’m compelled to say -you can have that
better life! Start now!!

What’s your message? What have you always
known and want to share? What do you wish
someone had told you years ago?

I’d love to see your messages -go ahead
and post them on this blog -share your
message with the world today…we need it!

How are you intelligent?

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Now please notice I didn’t ask, how intelligent are you? That’s an entirely different question. Our culture puts a great deal of weight on assessments given to you when you’re in school…I.Q. tests, S.A.T.s, A.C.T.s…alphabet soup. This is unfortunate. These tests only measure a portion of the different types of intelligences including linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences.

Years ago, I was delighted to find Howard Gardner’s work on multiple intelligences in the K-12 school systems. He identified 8 different types of intelligences. They include linguistic (good with words), logical-mathematical (good with numbers and reasoning), spatial (picture smart), bodily kinesthetic (body smart), musical (music smart), interpersonal (people smart), intrapersonal (self smart) and naturalistic (nature smart).

Another author, Daniel Goleman, says we can also have emotional intelligence and that this kind of intelligence is an even stronger indicator of success than I.Q. Emotional intelligence can be learned, it’s not fixed at birth. The different emotional intelligences include self-awareness, altruism, personal motivation, empathy, and the ability to love and be loved.

Ok. So what does all this have to do with you being happily self employed, working from home doing work you love and making plenty of money? I find that many of my clients doubt that they are “smart” enough to succeed in their own business. They often don’t recognize the gift of their own unique intelligence and how that gift can solve problems for others.

For example, I’ve met many interior designers who downplay their talent and under charge for their services. Now being someone who has had to return just about every piece of furniture I’ve ever bought on my own, I recognize clearly the gift of spatial intelligence in these designers. And that’s one intelligence I sure wasn’t blessed with! I save my self (and the sales clerks) lots of time and frustration by hiring designers.

Another example, I never knew that I had a natural ability for writing until I got to college. I assumed it was not difficult for anyone to write. Wrong! A college professor had us take an exam to determine if we needed to take a basic writing class. Of the 15 people who gave a writing sample that was judged by 3 teachers, mine was the only one that “passed” so I didn’t have to take that writing course. That’s when I had an aha moment of “oh, so this isn’t easy for everyone.” Prior to that, I just had no awareness of this gift. And now I am able to serve others with and charge well for my services.

So how are you intelligent? Don’t downplay your interpersonal and/or intrapersonal skills. Those are often even more important than some of the others. They allow you to build rapport and relationships, to empathize with others and to be a good listener. These are some of the strongest skills you need in business and sales. Would love to hear about how you are intelligent -post a line or two here on my blog: http://authenticlifeinstitute.com/blog/ and how you are starting to honor your unique intelligence. I can just about guarantee that you have far more capacity than you give yourself credit for!

What Problems Do You Solve For Your Clients?

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I see a major mistake in many of my client’s new businesses.  Their website copy and sales materials give a great deal of detail about HOW they deliver their services.

This is not going to bring in the money.  But I know you CAN bring in the money.  Just this week I read in the Small Business Success Index that more than half of home based business owners, from artists to contractors, are 55-plus. AND, roughly 35% bring in more than $125K!  I want you to join me in being one of those 35%. Marketing is the key, this business can help your Philly business to market and get more clients.

Here are 3 of my secrets to making money.  Take some time to really go deep with these -getting clarity here will make the difference between having a financially flourishing business that fills your mission/purpose while beautifully serving others or a business that doesn’t attract enough customers or clients and leaves you drained and discouraged.

1.  Know clearly what problems you solve for others. Think about what happens when you make a purchase.  The very first step is that you realize you want or need something.  Sometimes you don’t even know you need or want it until you read a sales letter or see an item in a catalog.

What problems do you solve for others?  Make a list of at least 5 problems you can help people with this. Examples from my list include -they don’t know what kind of business to start, they are not clear on their vision, mission or values which is creating confusion and wasted money and energy.  They have no niche and it is killing their business.  They have no marketing plan so are wasting time and energy with no integration in their marketing efforts.  Boring copywriting (I’ve been guilty of this one!) is leaving their great products collecting dust on the shelf or their powerful service offerings not reaching anyone.

2.  Write out what happens when you solve those problems for them. Take your five problems and identify the benefits your clients will receive when those problems are nipped in the bud and taken care of.  Brainstorm lots of them.  One example from my list -once they learn some simple copywriting secrets from me, their words are compelling, they bring in sales and their confidence soars.  Once you’ve identified this, you can now write great copy for your website, sales letters or brochures and bring in the money -keep your focus on the benefits!

3.  Ask for their business.
It’s amazing how many people make great presentations or write great web copy but never have a “call to action” included.  You need to make it very easy for people to say yes and buy.  Take a look at your website, sales letters or brochures and see if you are clearly telling readers what you want them to do next.   Offer a bonus or a payment plan or make time bound offers to get them into action.

What will you do differently to get the money coming into your business?  Let us know on my blog.

Goals That Excite The Heck Out Of You

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When you read that word “goal” did you tense up.  Or did you feel discouraged thinking -yeah, yeah, I set goals and never achieve them?  If so, you’re probably not setting goals that are related to what you really want in YOUR life.  Goals worth going for are the ones that make you feel excited with the kind of anticipation you felt as a kid waiting for Christmas.

There are many tasks that we disguise as goals.  Cleaning out the clutter, eliminating debt, losing 10 lbs. Those are all great things to do because they free up energy to go after your real goals…but they are not goals -they are things to do.  One way to figure out whether your goal is a task is to ask yourself how you will feel once it’s done.  I pulled together all the paperwork I needed this week to meet with my accountant to get my taxes done. What did I feel when I had completed this? Relief.  Not excitement.  Certainly not joy!  When you accomplish an authentic goal you will feel joy -and don’t forget to celebrate it thoroughly!  Here are 5 secrets to creating goals that excite the heck out of you.

1.  Make a list. Take about 20 minutes.  Relax for a few minutes getting out of your head and connecting with your body.  Then quickly jot down all the goals you would like to be do or have.  Don’t worry if your lizard brain starts shouting that “you can’t possibly have that.”  Just thank it and say “I’m only making a list for heaven’s sake!”   Now ask yourself the following questions about each of the items on your list.

2.  Is it clear? Saying you want to write a book someday isn’t clear enough.  I will write a book about (put your subject here) and have it completed and to an editor by October 13, 2010 is a clear goal.

3. Does it fit your values? If you highly value flexibility and freedom, a goal that requires you to do all your actions towards it in one location at very specific times just won’t fit.  If you value financial freedom and your goal will get you closer to that -then you’re right on.

4.  Does it fit with what you love? If you love to travel, and your goal allows you to travel to achieve it, hooray!  If you love being outdoors and physically active, and your goal requires long periods of time indoors, well, you might lose steam.

5.  Do you really want it? On a scale of 1-10 with 1 is like being trapped on a plane next to the dullest person on earth who talks non-stop and 10 is absolute bliss -how would you score your goal?  If it’s less than 8, toss it -it’s not worth your precious energy and time.

Pick one or two goals that you would love to accomplish within a year.  Then get support to make it happen!

Want to do something courageous?  Post a goal that you absolutely intend to reach within the next year on my blog.

Mind Junk

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One of my coaches gave the term “mind junk” to that negative, very active voice in your head. It’s chattering away constantly telling you why you can’t reach your goal, live your dreams or even something as simple as writing an article!

I watch people let this mind junk waste tremendous amounts of their energy. Instead, I’d like to invite you to accept that this voice will always be with you AND you can relax and accept it rather than wasting energy trying to change it. You can wallow around in your mind junk or you can shift your attention from it to your goals.

Let’s identify what your mind junk looks like so you can quickly figure out when it’s happening and you can stop paying attention to it. One other interesting thing…the way you handle mind junk in one area of life -say money -you’ll find that the same mind junk runs your relationships, your creativity, your physical vitality, your time and how much you enjoy life. Here are some ways mind junk shows up:

Keeping it vague. I’ll create that blog soon. Right now I don’t have the time. Falling into the either/or trap. Either I can write a book or I can keep making money in my job -I don’t have the energy for both. Comparing yourself to others. Why does it seem that no one struggles with public speaking as much as I do? Making excuses. I was late in meeting my deadline because I had too many interruptions.

Monkey mind has a lot of tenacity. It loves to keep us in the same behaviors even when it’s not working for us. Here’s what you might find yourself saying: It will work if I just try harder, I don’t have time to do it another way. This is just how I am and there’s nothing I can do about it.

So what to do with this craziness? Know that you are not your mind junk. You have amazing ability to observe it. It is only one part of your mind and who you really are is much more magnificent than any curve ball your mind junk throws at you. When you become aware of it and see how it works, you minimize the odds of getting off track as you move towards your goals.

Here’s an action for you. Over the next 2 days, write down at least 3 times your mind junk was shouting load and clear. Did you say it aloud -like “I can’t afford that and never will” or was it an internal dialogue? Note what kind of form it took -was it being vague, comparing yourself to others or some other form?

See if you can catch the mind junk and not get into a full blown attack of it. Observing your mind junk, you may be amazed to discover that 90% or more of the thoughts that your mind junk pops into your head are irrelevant to anything that’s of real value to you!

Would love to hear any tips you have for living in peace with your mind junk. Post yours here.

What Are You Convinced Of?

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What are you convinced of? What do you hold as true for you right now? Are you convinced that work is hard? Are you convinced that you’ll never be able to work from home? Are you convinced that, on some level, it’s wrong to be prosperous? Or are you convinced that you are always at choice and the past has no precedence…you can start right where you are. How unalterably convinced are you? This is your faith. You could be making money from home.

Think about this. When you think about one of your convictions, does it make you smile inside or shrive? Do you feel bolder, stronger, or do feel small, diminished.

I’m living proof that what you are convinced of is often a lie. I was convinced for a long time that work had to be hard -look at my parents’ life! That was powerful proof to me. I was convinced for years that I was “not smart enough” to be successful in creating my own work in the world…I should of looked around a bit -there are plenty of “not so smart” people who make plenty of money in their own business! Here are three ways to alter those big convictions you have that are keeping you from waking up to your unique gifts, to honoring the human treasure that you truly are and to living a prosperous life, in which you are experiencing peace, health and plenty in your world.

1. Ask yourself if your conviction is really true. Is it true for everyone? Do you know someone who doesn’t hold this conviction and is thriving in an area of life that you are not? If one person can do it, you can too! Play with the idea of “what if this weren’t true about me?”

2. Allow yourself to move forward even if you can’t see the entire “how”. Your inner compass lets you know when you’re on the right track. You’re scared AND excited at the same time. You feel good. What you’re working on will be a positive thing for others. Martin Luther King said “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” So do some planning. Planning leads to action. Action gets you “into the game”. And once you’re in the game, all kinds of unexpected things happen that absolutely couldn’t have happened if you hadn’t jumped in! And then, you might find yourself facing…

3. Doing the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “you must do the thing you think you cannot do.” If you’re afraid of a certain action that is moving you towards your dream, do it anyway. This will bust through your limiting convictions, maybe causing your family and friends to think you’re nuts, and you might even be rocked by the fact that you are shaking your very identify (albeit limited!) to the core. That’s ok. Do it anyway!

4. Get unstuck. Katie Byron has a masterful technique for getting past your yeah buts. It feels weird at first, but it’s powerful.

First, say what it is you want to do and your “but”. I want to travel to (put your favorite location here), but I can’t afford to.

Now say it as if you are choosing. “I’m choosing not to take a trip to paradise because of the belief that I have to spend a lot of money on this trip. The trip isn’t the problem, my perception that I can’t afford it is.”

Finally, “my true self can find a way to take the trip without going into debt because it knows that not having a lot of money isn’t the problem -my belief about not having enough money is.”

It’s also powerful to take your desire and your obstacle to some supportive people. Tell them what you’ve done up till now, what you want next and what obstacle is in the way. You’ll be amazed at the creative options you haven’t thought of. But look at your convictions first and get clear that they are alterable, otherwise, you’ll drive your friends crazy with yeah buts at every turn!

Would love to hear about a conviction you have that is not supporting you and you are ready to give up. Post  yours here.  It’s a powerful to put your commitment out to the world.

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