Posts tagged career

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!

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%.

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.

Do you need more info to reach your goal?

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I want to give you a tip that will make it much easier to reach your goals.

At some point, in going after your goal, you are going to be stopped by a lack of information.

Now I honestly don’t like doing a lot of research.  But here are some of the techniques I enjoy using to get information when I’m stuck:

1. Tell people what your wish is and the obstacle you face.  You won’t believe how quickly people (even strangers!) will jump right into problem-solving mode and you’ll be given information or contacts who can give you the solution…try it…really…you’ll be amazed!

2. Go to the library (online).

I love libraries. When I was six years old, a friend took me on my first trip to a library. I was astounded and absolutely delighted to learn that I could take 5 books home and it was free!

Today, I can access mountains of popular magazines, scholarly journals, and databases on everything from history to science to health right from my computer.  All you need is a library card number.  Go to your local public libraries website and find their online databases. You will find information here that will get you unstuck. The only downside (if you want to call it that!) to this method is that you can spend hours happily sifting for gold in this treasure trove!

3. Got to conferences, association meetings and trade shows.

There’s nothing like hanging out with a bunch of people who share your interest.  The Encyclopedia of Associations lists every group and association that meets regularly in the U.S. and even worldwide. 

So, what’s a goal you’d love to achieve? Are you stopped by lack of information?  Try one of my favorite techniques this week and find out how great it is to get just the information you need to keep moving forward.

Drop a line on my blog and let me know how it goes!

Stinking Thinking

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Do you find yourself caught up in a lot of “stinking thinking?”  When you wishfully think of something, do you immediately stop yourself with a “I can’t have, do or be that!”

How about when someone presents an idea to you – a dream they have -and it totally seems off the wall.  Do you say, “well, it won’t be easy.”  Or, “you’ve got a long road ahead.”   Instead, why not say “great!  what would have to happen to make that come true?”

See the difference.  Once you start thinking about what the outcome would be, your brain will start getting creative and will begin to draft out steps you’ll take.  You probably won’t know every step needed to reach your dream.  But if you start in the direction your wise inner self guides you to, you’ll be led to the next step, the next person.

This is the power of planning.  To me making plans is like playing.  And to be honest, many of my plans go out the window.  The secret is, that while you’re following your initial plan, all kinds of unexpected and wonderful things occur. 

You meet just the right person who can help you with the next step towards your dream.  You stumble upon a book that has just the key you need to unlock some blocked area you had.  You stop into the “wrong” office and run into an old friend who can help you.

Planning in this way, loosely attached to the exact outcome, is the only way your dreams become real.  Action rocks.  You don’t have to create your entire dream alone…matter of fact, you can’t.  When you get in the game, and take action in the world, the world will meet you and give you more than you can imagine.

Would love to see your comments here.  Post a dream you have!  You never know who might have a missing link you need.

Facebook: How to Set Up A Fan Page

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Yes,  Facebook is a fun way to keep in touch with your buddies and family and to reconnect with people you’ve lost contact with.  AND, it’s also a powerful marketing tool if you use it right.

Some people choose to set up a private page for just family and friends while creating a separate page for business.  I’ve chosen to blend the two on my “wall” so that potential clients/customers can get a feel for who I authentically am.

I’m in the process of creating a “fan page” specifically for my business (watch for a contest announcement in March!).  I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned with you.

1.  Some facts about Facebook. Think that your ideal client is not on Facebook?  Think again.  In 2009, Facebook had 350 million users and it keeps growing.  Facebook reaches 56% of people using the internet in the U.S. and many more in other countries.  Just over 70% of Facebook users come from outside the U.S.

11% of users are ages 13-17, 29% are 18-25, 23% are 26-34, 18% are 35-44, 12% are 45-54, 7% are 55-65.  Facebook is the #3 site visited by users 65 and older!

2.  Why Are You Doing This Anyway? Before you dive in take some time to set your goals and expectations of your Facebook Fan Page.  You may want to sell a certain number of books, you may want to get booked for a certain amount of speaking gigs each month, you may want to establish yourself as an expert, or you may want to fill up your coaching group.

3.  How to Create a Fan Page. Go to www.facebook.com.  Scroll way to the bottom to the fine print and click on “advertising”.  On the left hand side of the page, click on pages.  Then click on “create page”. Now you’re ready to create your fan page (it’s free!).

4.  Start a discussion. One of the great things about a Facebook Fan Page is that you can interact with your tribe.  You’ll see a “discussion” folder tab at the top of the page.  Post a question you’d like to get opinions or ideas about.

5.  Post some photos and videos. Everyone enjoys seeing you in “real life” situations.  It’s also great to post photos of you with experts or local celebrities.

6.  Invite people to join your fan page. Send an email to your list inviting them to become a fan.  Run a contest like I’m doing to encourage participation.  If you already have a Facebook profile page (this is different from the Fan Page) you can invite your “friends” to become fans.  On the Facebook Fan Page, scroll all the way down to the bottom left.  You’ll see a “share” button. Click on it and you’ll see your Fan Page Profile and your list of current Facebook Friends.  You can select who to send an invitation to or click “all”.

You can post an invitation on your blog, you can twitter about it, if you have a profile on Linked In you can post an update about your new Facebook fan page.

Want a powerful, no cost way to build your list of raving fans? Get going on building your Facebook Fan Page!  When you get your Fan Page up, post a note and link to your Facebook fan page on my blog and I’ll become a fan of yours AND my blog readers just might also!  http://authenticlifeinstitute.com/blog/

How To Solve Problems

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What do you do when you hit a problem in your business? Maybe it’s how to generate more income, how to build a client list or how to create an information product. Too often you might find yourself getting stopped by a problem and just giving up. Here’s what you can do to get past those problems and on to doing what you love to do.

Jim Rohn, the wonderful motivational speaker, said to go inside first and see if you can come up a solution. If that doesn’t work, go to a book or internet sources to see if you can find an answer. If that doesn’t work, ask someone else who is where you want to be. This is good advice. Let’s explore further.

1.  Go inside. You have an extraordinary amount of wisdom right inside yourself –from your past experiences and from your natural preferences. One great way to get your answers from within is to take some time to get quiet. Make a list of teachers you’ve had that made a positive impact on you. Some may have been conventional teachers; others may be people you met who were not in a classroom. You can even consider famous people, people who have died or you haven’t met in person but you learned something valuable from them. Now choose one that jumps out at you right now.

Now write out a dialogue between you and this person. Ask him/her for advice. I can bet you will find some powerful insights into how to solve your problem

2.  Get some more information. When someone tells me they’re stuck on a problem, I quickly assess whether it is a lack of information that is the real problem. It often is. I’m amazed at how many people don’t take the time to seek information through books and the internet. Often there is someone out there who has solved a problem similar to yours and you can quickly get ideas about how to solve your problem.

3.  Ask someone else. If you still can’t figure out how to get past your problem after going inside and doing some research…now is the time to ask someone else. Most people are willing to share information and help you IF you show them that you have done some research prior to asking them. It’s startling how many people ask me for advice and information and when I ask them what they’ve done so far to solve their problem…they say “nothing”.

I’ll give you a concrete example. You want to run a tour business. You don’t know where to start and feel overwhelmed every time you think about this idea…but it just won’t go away.

First, you take time and journal with your teacher within. You have a dialogue and get encouragement from the teacher that you are on the right track. You even get some ideas about where you would like to lead tours and get a strong sense of the feelings of satisfaction and joy you’ll get when you achieve this goal.

Now you think, “I don’t know how to start. What insurance do I need? How do I hire a bus? What kind of outdoor microphone will I need so that people can hear me? How will I find people to enroll for my tours?”

So you go to Google and type in “how to lead tours”. You get nothing useful. So you try, “how to be a tour guide”. Bingo. You get a great article with lots of information and a link to an online course on the topic. You subscribe for the course. You then do an Amazon search and find a book that looks great on this topic so you order it.

After you’ve taken the course and read the book, you are about 100% confident that you’d like to achieve the goal of becoming a tour guide but you’d like to talk to some people who are actually doing it to get the real scoop on what it’s like and maybe ideas on how to break into the field.

Now, if you don’t already know someone in the field, it’s time to look up a few people in the field, approach them by email to request a 20 minute informational interview by phone. Send an email that says that you are interested in entering the field, you’ve taken a course and read about the field and now want to get some real world information.

Tell them that you’ll have 5-10 questions prepared before the call and that you’d be happy to email the questions to them prior to the call. You might want to ask what the best part of their work is and what the worst part of their work is. Don’t ask specific salaries, though you may ask what would be an expected range of pay for a beginner and for someone advanced in the field.

People are generally very happy to help out, happy to share information about work they love AND they will be impressed that you did your research prior to seeking them out.

So go ahead. What’s a problem you have? Try the 3 steps above and get unstuck now!

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