Posts tagged authenticity

Golden Nuggets From My Travels This Month

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I’ve been happily traveling for the last few weeks.  I actually like airports -weird as that might sound!  I spent a day in New Jersey with Mike Michalowicz, one of my coaches, and author of the infamous  Toilet Paper Entrepreneur – he shared ideas about effectively using email marketing -a golden nugget from him – make the  emails you send to your prospect list text only and write as if you’re writing to a good friend.  I see a lot of successful women entrepreneurs who use fancy email templates with several sections in their email newsletters -but the guys I watch tend to use just text.  What do you think?  I’ve been doing the fancy route and am now testing out the plain text -I’ll let you know how it goes. 

After the NJ adventure with Mike, I spent several days in Providence, RI visiting family and gathering info for my Providence Lover website.  

And then, I spent five amazing days with Barbara Sher and nine other powerful and provacative people at the cozy yet sprawling 17 bedroom Saluda Inn in North Carolina.  Most of us were interested in learning how to write a nonfiction book and how to get well paid speaking gigs…but the real meat of the retreat (retreat my a**, I worked my butt off!) was getting very clear about what we love and how we can spread our message.  A nugget from Barbara “You can’t think of anything you can’t have -if you get to the heart of it -you can have it.”

You KNOW that this is my mission -to get you to acknowledge what you love and to do whatever that is – and yes, if you’re hanging out with me, I’m sure there are many things you love and YES you can do them all!  So do something today that makes you happy -even a tiny step is good.  Would love to see you comment about what you plan to do or tell me your opinion about that email thing – fancy vs text.

Reconciliation

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What does reconciliation have to do with your business?

No, I don’t mean your bank reconciliation.  I mean a reconciliation of the heart.  Some of the definitions of reconcile are: to compose or settle (a quarrel, dispute, etc.) and to bring into agreement or harmony.

There is a tradition in Iceland at Christmas.  Every thing must be clean.  Every nook and cranny of the house must be immaculate.  Anything that needs to be repaired, no matter how small, must be put in order.

This is symbolic.  The real meaning is a reconciliation of the heart.

If you have anything that is “out of order” in your relationships with others or yourself.  If you have any thing that needs to be said or completed in order to feel at peace…now is the perfect time to do it!

People’s hearts are more open and tender at this time of year…take the opportunity to connect, reconnect, forgive or ask for forgiveness.

And what does this have to do with your business….everything!  When you are living in integrity, with a peaceful heart, you are freeing up a tremendous amount of emotional and mental energy…freeing you to be creative in your ideas.  And it is from your ideas that your business is built, grows and prospers.

Wishing you all the very best of all good things this holiday season and in 2010.

How Entrepreneurs Can Build Self Confidence

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It’s not my imagination. And it’s not just anecdotal evidence from my own coaching business. I’ve recently read several research articles that find women exhibit a lack of self-confidence in their own abilities as entrepreneurs compared to men; many women do not feel comfortable calling themselves entrepreneurs; and, fear of failure is higher for women compared to their male counterparts. Now the good news is that for some women in the research studies, entrepreneurial self-confidence grew over time in business.

It breaks my heart when I work with women who hold back and don’t fully share their gifts with the world –even when I can see that they are shining stars. And I can relate! I’ve been there. I had very little self confidence in my younger days (middle age has its blessings). Here are five tips to build your entrepreneurial confidence.

1. Act now. Procrastination feeds fear. With each success you have, you lay another brick in your confidence foundation. Choose an action that you feel you can accomplish -even if it’s a little scary –and get it done.

2. Keep an accomplishment log. Women often discount what they’ve accomplished, attributing their success to luck or other people. Keep a log of your accomplishments –read them when you start to feel self doubt. This is also a great tool to keep your resume or portfolio updated.

3. Save testimonials. I have a “testimonial” folder in my outlook email box. When someone sends me a thank you or a compliment of any kind, I save it in that folder. This serves two purposes: one, testimonials are a powerful marketing tool –people love to buy from someone who shows them testimonials that talk about specific outcomes, and two, reading them reminds me of why I get out of bed every day and do what I do.

4. Faith it till you make it. I know…you’ve heard “fake it till you make it”…since this is Authentic Life Institute … we say “faith.” I have said “yes” to requests that are in alignment with my business and values even though, at the time, I wasn’t confident I could meet the request. I knew I’d figure out the “how” if I made a commitment. An example was the first time I was asked to give a radio interview…my first internal reaction was a big gulp and a “I’ve never done that and don’t have a clue what to expect” fear.
My external reaction was a confident “yes, thank you for the opportunity and what date are you looking at.” In this case, the interviewer was experienced and sent me questions ahead of time…yes, I was nervous and no, I don’t think listeners knew it. With experience, I’ve learned to have a few “talking points” I want to be sure to work into the interview, regardless of what questions the interviewer asks…I didn’t do this the very first time and it was just fine.

5. Don’t Dwell on Mistakes. Do you ruminate over your mistakes…playing the scenario out in your mind over and over again? That’s a habit to drop. Instead, learn to become a gentle, reflective, observer of yourself. For example, after I give a workshop or presentation, I reflect on the experience. I consider what I might do differently next time and then I spend more time reflecting on all the things that went well. Most of all, I congratulate myself, for “getting out of the way” and remembering that the purpose of the presentation was to inspire others. Yes, learn from your experiences, but keep the big picture perspective.

Walk tall today. Know you have unique gifts to share with the world. Confidence is attractive…let yours shine!

Be Yourself: Imitation is Suicide

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It’s one thing to seek out people who are ahead of you in achieving something you want.  For example, if you want to reach a six figure income, working from home, it makes sense to find someone who has done that and to learn from them the systems they used.  That’s smart. But what I see so many of my clients do is compare themselves to others and declare that they come up short. 

I love Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writings. He lived in the 1800’s and was a philosopher and essayist from Boston.  In his essay, “Self-Reliance”, he says “there is a time in every (wo)man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.”  I believe he was not speaking literally here about farming…but rather telling us to “till” the life and gifts given us in order to tap into that endless good.

He also says “trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.  Accept the place the divine providence has found for you” and… “nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind.”

A coach once gave me some great advice that I embraced.  She said “flaunt your quirks.”  The quirkier the better.  What this means is that all the qualities and characteristics that make you unique are part of your essential, true self.  And when you are being true to yourself you are attractive to others.  You will attract just the right people into your personal and business world.  Think of someone who you consider successful.  Can you name some of their “quirks?”  Chances are you can.

Being authentic doesn’t happen in one fell swoop.  It happens daily in the choices you make – if a decision is based on what you imagine society thinks you “should do” or when you make a choice based on what you think will impress someone else…that’s probably not authentic.

When you have defined what’s important to you –where it is important to expend your time and energy on this planet –and you make your choices guided by that…you’re being authentic.

Learn from others.  Sure.  Take what you like from them and integrate it into who you are.  Don’t imitate…that makes your soul wither…let your unique spirit shine in the world!

Top Ten Ways to Live Authentically

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Top Ten Ways to Live Authentically

1. Know your purpose
Are you wandering through life with little direction – hoping that you’ll find happiness, health and prosperity? Identify your life purpose or mission statement and you will have your own unique compass that will lead you to your truth north every time.

2. Know your values
What do you value most? Make a list of your top 5 values. Some examples are security, freedom, family, spiritual development, learning. As you set your goals – – check your goals against your values. If the goal doesn’t align with any of your top five values – you may want to reconsider it or revise it.

3. Know your needs
Unmet needs can keep you from living authentically. Take care of yourself. Do you have a need to be acknowledged, to be right, to be in control, to be loved? List your top four needs and get them met!

4. Know your passions
Honor those things that make your heart sing. Whatever it is, do more of it!

5. Live from the inside out
Increase your awareness of your inner wisdom by regularly reflecting in silence. Commune with nature. Breathe deeply to quiet your distracted mind.

6. Honor your strengths
What are your positive traits? What special talents do you have? List three – if you get stuck, ask those closest to you to help identify these. Are you imaginative, witty, good with your hands? Find ways to express your authentic self through your strengths.

7. Take time to play
Give yourself time to recharge doing things you love to do or by just doing nothing.

8. Be aware of your self-talk
Are you blocking your potential? Check out your first thoughts when you wake tomorrow. Are they supportive, encouraging or positive? Choose the kind of chatter that’s goes on in your mind. Become aware of the negative messages you give yourself. Gently catch them and turn them into positive affirmations.

9. Surround yourself with inspiration
Keep a success journal. Write down your four or five greatest strengths and post them where you can see them. On the last Friday of each month, write down all your accomplishments both big and small.

10. Serve others
When you live authentically, you may find that you develop an interconnected sense of being. When you are true to who you are, living your purpose and giving of your talents to the world around you, you give back in service what you came to share with others -your spirit – your essence.

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