Parlay Your Wisdom

What’s your greatest business or blogging realization of 2008? Let’s give a great gift of wisdom to one another.

To realize means coming to understand something clearly and distinctly.

The time to act on a fresh realization is soon after its awakening. There’s an energy there that can be harnessed to drive positive change.  Feel the power in these synonyms for realization: enlivening, recognition, vigilance, alertness, quickening.

Yet when we fail to act, or fail to come to a decision based on the realization, it’s power diminishes.

Once aware, you have the power to act.  A realization is new wisdom, new awareness.  Realizing and not acting is walking away and leaving money on the table.

Even if your realization is personal, it can be parlayed into better business building.

What’s my greatest realization?

Getting a jump on things is essential to my personal productivity, project completions and peace of mind.

What do you need to do differently in order to capitalize on your realization? What do you need to do more of? What do you need to do less of?

My answer:

1). I’m better served to make decisions based on pre-determined, required, criteria, rather than saying yes to unplanned offers, distractions and unexpected opportunities that may not fit my criteria.

2).  I need to decide sooner, act more swiftly, and focus on chosen priorities more often.  This will help me get a jump on things and stay ahead of the game.   I need to determine how I’ll know I’m winning and keep my lead.  I function better with momentum, rather than coming from behind.  I no longer respond well to adrenaline based deadlines.

As solopreneurs, realizations are essential to business success because our personal productivity is the main driver and cause of our business productivity.

What about you? Are you willing to share this gift of wisdom?

What is your greatest business or blogging realization of 2008?

What do you need to do differently in order to capitalize on your realization? What do you need to do more of? What do you need to do less of?

For extra authenticity credit, consider answering one or more of the above questions before reading the other comments.

Five Tools to Sharpen Your Authentic Edge

Your authentic edge is based on who you are, where you are in your business development and what you’ve experienced.  That edge drives your personal power.  It’s your natural positional advantage in the marketplace and you’ll struggle to the degree that you fail to exploit it.

When I first began following  small business owners on Twitter it appeared as though  everyone had a thriving online business.   A client also noticed this and asked, “Where are all the regular people?”

It matters little where anyone else is, even if they are further along in their business development.  Here’s what matters, are you exploiting your authentic edge?

An outside focus will dull your authentic edge by positioning you in the  reactionary hell of deadly comparisons.  Success comes from looking within to determine the purpose of your business and that purpose must have a whole lot of you in it.

Many contend that Walmart hurts small businesses, yet you’ll find thriving exceptions in every town.  News of a so-called global economic crisis permeates the airwaves, yet many one-woman and one-man shops are flourishing, right now.

When your eye is on the competition or the economy, it dumbs you down and dulls your true source of power. Your authentic edge is found within and keeping it sharp is essential to your business success.

Expressed Authenticity > Personal Confidence = Business Success

Greater confidence will help you to complete more often, risk more frequently, bounce back from mistakes more easily and kick more marketplace ass.

Since confidence comes from within how can we keep our edge sharp enough to act boldly?

Here are five tools to keep your edge razor sharp.  Ask yourself these questions, note the answers and feel your confidence build.

1). Passion

What do you really care about?  Are you sure?  Try this one.

If you woke up tomorrow morning and had all the time and money you could ever need, what would you still care enough about, to want to make a difference?

2). Willingness

Early in our business development we have more time to deliver exceptional one-on-one service.  Express your willingness to do so.  Those who are ahead of you in earnings or business development, just don’t have to give as much individual attention anymore.  You both can, but you have the edge because you will.

What’s the greatest value that you can offer right now, that the big guys can’t or won’t?

3). Empathy

When people know that you really get them, that understanding leads to connection.  I hope you’ve selected a business purpose that you’ve personally experienced or are experiencing.  If you’ve felt the same pain as your market then it’s easier to be real.   Molly Gordon writes about empathy as a powerful marketing strategy.

In which area do you really understand the pain of others because you’re there now or recently have been?  What’s working well for you that they may not yet know?

4). Imagination

We all unwittingly set our own limits.  We get to make all the rules in our own mini-empires.  You get to imagine a business that perfectly suits who you are.  When you hold yourself in high regard, you’ll build your business in a way that will ideally serve you.  By honoring who you are, you’ll also be in the best position to generously serve others well.

Specifically where do you need to rewrite the rules to expand opportunities?  In what area of your business objectives are you thinking way too small?

5). Practice

Is it truly authentic to practice so much that repetition creates mastery? Yes!  I like how Steve Pavlina explains Steven Covey’s habit of sharpening the saw.

Somehow we’ve gotten it into our heads that engaged authenticity should come easily.  It does for some and it doesn’t for others.  If you haven’t been blessed with an obvious natural talent, then you have been blessed with the necessity of honing the ones you have.   Steve Chandler thinks practice is the most powerful trick ever.

What strengths have you been afraid to express?  What natural talents scare the hell out of you?  If you practiced the same strength for one hour daily, how might that change your life?

I’m challenging you to sharpen your authentic edge beginning now. The latent advantage of authentic business building is that the owner remains eager to do the work.  When work is not a chore you’ll naturally be more productive and attractive to ideal clients.

Which tool do you need to use the most to sharpen your authentic edge?

I feel a definite bond with those of you who are building your business authentically.  I also admire those of you who want to start a small business built on a foundation of who you are.

Let’s connect on Twitter.

Pump Up Your Personal Power

I was eleven years old, watching The Three Stooges, on a fall afternoon.  I heard a loud insistent knock at the back door and, upon opening it, I saw my neighbor, Little Larry, all out of breath and crying.  A hunter mistakenly shot his dog Lobo.  Lobo was suffering and needed help.

Larry’s family didn’t own a gun and he knew that my Dad did.  But I was the only one home and I had played with Lobo.  I was torn and afraid and I didn’t want to do it. I just wanted to cry like Larry was, or run from the responsibility.  The last thing I wanted to do was to feel my feelings.
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Struggling small business owners often ask, “What’s wrong with me?”  It’s really easy to fall into the trap of self-judgment when things don’t turn out as planned.  It can be especially frustrating when it seems as though many others are succeeding.

But, what if there is nothing inherently wrong with you?  What if you have the capacity to succeed in business but you’re not fully using your personal power?

It’s not a question of your makeup; you have what it takes to succeed. But what if you are not giving it your all?  You might think you are, but if you’re holding back on feeling your feelings fully, then you’re operating at a fraction of your available personal power.  Decide to hold back no more – direct all of your personal power for life and business success.

In my life coaching practice, I’ve coached many men and a few women who did everything they could to avoid feeling negative emotions.  Once we do some digging, the memory of a major childhood trauma often surfaces.  Some clients have avoided feeling feelings for 30 years or more.  Some hurt so badly that they refuse to even discuss it.

Yet they can’t confidently express the personal power necessary to be a successful entrepreneur, while still holding back on their feelings.

My authentic business success did not fully happen, until I changed back into the championship feeler that I once was.  Authenticity can be your edge for business success. But it’s impossible to be fully authentic if you aren’t feeling everything.

Back to Lobo, up until that time, I wore my emotions on my sleeve.  If you hurt, me I cried.  If something scared me, I cried.  If I was embarrassed or ashamed about something, I cried.  Back then, when the emotions arose, I felt them naturally and then felt better.

But growing up in the macho fifties, that presented a big problem.  Every adult male in my life, including my Dad, told me to “quit crying, suck it up and be a man.”

This was in the country, in 1961, and people just didn’t spend money on veterinarians.  Larry knew that the merciful thing to do was to end Lobo’s suffering.  I agreed, but my Dad wasn’t home.  Then something clicked in my eleven-year-old mind.  I saw this as an opportunity to take the advice of my Dad, uncles, and male teachers.  I needed to suck it up and be a man.

Suddenly I knew what I had to do.  I got the shotgun and a shell out of the closet and walked down over the hill with Larry.  It was hard looking at Lobo and knowing that I was ending his life.  We’d played and run together many times.

But I sucked it up and I did it.  And I can remember walking back up the hill to my house as clear as it was yesterday.  A tearful feeling began deep in my chest, and just when it was at throat level and about to explode, I stopped it.

I swallowed my feelings and locked them up in some dark well.  I sucked it up.  I was a man.  I didn’t shed another tear for 38 years and I hated it.  I was stone-faced miserable and more afraid than when I freely cried.

If you’re a guy that’s buying that same bull, or if you know a guy (or gal) who is, please take this message to heart. You won’t really be a strong man or woman until you learn to feel all of your feelings, as they arise.

How?  First understand the benefits of feeling fully.  That understanding will help you to want to feel.  Then you need a process that will work for you.  There is none better than John Gray’s process in his book, How to Get What You Want and Want What You Have .

I’ve recommended it dozens of times in my life coaching practice and it almost always gets my clients feeling once again. It’s effective because it gives us a powerful way to first feel what’s there. Then after feeling it, we can choose something that feels better.

In Chapter 11, Gray shares this list of 12 negative emotional states.
1. “I am angry.”
2. “I am sad.”
3. “I am afraid.”
4.  “I am sorry.”
5. “I am frustrated.”
6. “I am disappointed.”
7. “I am worried.”
8.“I am embarrassed.”
9.“I am jealous.”
10. “I am hurt.”
11. “I am scared.”
12. “I am ashamed.”

These states are expertly listed, in a special order such that even if you don’t immediately, correctly identify which emotion you’re feeling, the process will correct your course in mid-stream.

This process uses journaling, which is a very effective method for feeling and releasing negative emotions.  I’ve personally found it to be highly effective and it’s what got me unstuck from the lingering affects of a major life wound.

Begin at the emotional state where you think you are and really feel it.

In each case, as you go down the list, you will experience a dramatic shift and release by going deeper.  Write a few minutes about any one level, and then shift to the next level down. At the end of the process, it is important to write out the positive feelings that naturally emerge after we release negative emotions. John Gray

Negative feelings begin as naturally occurring vibrations; they don’t become negative until we have attached a thought to them.

Everything in our lives, we create, promote or allow. Author Unknown

Everything! Wow, do you find that quote as inspiring as I do. That means we are at choice about everything in our lives. For everything, we make it up, advance it further or permit its presence.

“Everything” includes even the feelings we feel.  We can choose to allow or release our negative feelings.

We can also choose to pump up our personal power by creating positive feelings after we’ve released the negative.
We are all challenged from time to time, but true champions, learn to fully feel, process the emotions and return to rise again.

Are you operating a full personal power or are you still holding back?

 

Double Your Income Next Year

What do you think about doubling your income next year? Have you considered the possibility? If not, you may have already set in stone, earning limits that you will not exceed. We act on what we think, not on what is. 

I don’t really deserve it bull” gets ingrained in our internal programming. If you want to throw that crap out and double your income next year, believe it. I’m telling you that you can and I’m certain that you deserve it. There are a number of ways in which you can look to double your income. However, whether you choose to start a new business, buy gold as an investment, or simply expand a company which you already own, none of this will happen if you don’t first believe that it can Here’s a great tool to adjust your earnings thermostat upwards.

God wants you to be rich. Economist, Paul Zane Pilzer

Not only that, it’s your duty to earn more because small businesses are in the best position to lead the way out of this global economic mess.

A central part of small business planning addresses how we make money. As self-employed, solopreneurs we get to decide how much money we make. No one else is in charge of this decision but us. Look in the mirror; the buck stops and flows right there.

Let’s pause a moment in gratitude for this incredible opportunity to call our own shots. Regardless of what business you’re in; we’re all in the moneymaking business.

An ideal business has an ideal cash flow and an ideal profit, so quit hiding behind all your money relationship issues. Read what Slade Roberson wrote about your relationship with money.

In order to get our money making shit together we need to get our business building shit together. You might think you only have a blog, but if you’ve even considered the possibility making money, what you really have is a business. You own a business. Businesses are created to serve all stakeholders, especially you.

So how are you going to double your income next year? At a minimum, you’ve got to do these three things.
1). Make a Fresh Start
2). Hit the Ground running
3). Work an Inspired Small Business Strategy

Make A Fresh Start

Delivering on a small business strategy requires fresh thinking so that our mindset increases possibilities and encourages new connections. We want to see things in new ways so that everything from our decisions to our actions is new and different from what produced previous results. Sometimes the best option is to wipe the damn slate clean and begin anew.

You might think I’m all talk about doubling your income. But I can also deliver.

If you’re tired of talking and have the balls to really make a fresh start, then you can enroll and show up this Friday and be challenged in this free phone class I’m facilitating. How to Make a Fresh Start Now

Hit the Ground Running

If you want to double your income next year, then now is the time to quit dreaming – quit planning – quit thinking – quit wondering and get off your butt and do something different today!

Momentum is energy gained by movement and it just doesn’t come from mere analyzing or planning. If you’ve read so far, you’ve got the kernel of a bold new idea forming right now.

You must act and act boldly for new business opportunities to appear. It’s not likely that you’ll double your money by working twice as hard.

You have an optimum path available to you right now and it’s that path that will make you rich. Yet that path is most likely to surface by way of bold action. Get moving now so you can see it, and then seize it boldly and quickly before doubt comes to visit.

Showing up confidently is essential to making more money. I’ve found that working a process of inspired massive action makes me feel the most confident.
If you first need to make a decision that you can stand behind, then consider this free class. How to Get Off the Fence, Drive Through the Fog of Uncertainty and Commit

Work an Inspired Small Business Strategy

You are taking the risk by building your business for you. This process works well if you are willing to work in your own name by virtue of your own uniqueness.

Increased compensation is your just reward. Feel good about that. As an entrepreneur you are creating value from an idea. Entrepreneurship is the most honorable profession because we pay the bills to make everything else possible. Without commerce, the exchange of money for business products and services, we would live in a very disorganized and boring world.

Come on now! You know you’ve been pumped up about your business ideas before. You know what original inspiration feels like. As a self-employed small business owner it’s time to treat your business like a business and bring your ideal business vision to life. Now is your time to connect that inspired energy to deliberately chosen strategic actions.

Decide on your inspired small business strategy by taking your vision and breaking it down into objectives. Then break those objectives down into projects, programs and strategic actions that are each designed to make the objectives manifest.

Now is the time to zoom in on the specifics. Here’s a simple process to work each objective.
1). Specifically what am I looking to accomplish?
2). What are all the actions I could take to accomplish this objective?
3). What measurable outcomes will prove that I’ve accomplished it?
4). Act, observe and adjust.
5). What worked well about taking these actions?
6). What adjustments can I make now to get better results?

Keep focused on your big picture vision, as a small business strategy. By all means, don’t sit on your ass. Read what Kathy Hendershot-Hurdat has to say about following through.

Money doesn’t solve money problems. Egbert Sukop

But it sure does a mighty fine job of lightening the load so we feel at ease.  Is now your time to double your income?

 

Grounding Your Small Business Vision

This post presents an effective and strategic decision-making process that will ground your small business vision in a rock solid foundation.

Work this process and you’ll have a big picture vision to create your ideal business in the coming year. Before taking action, it’s important to zoom out and see the big picture of what you want to build.

Zooming out and deciding on an ideal business vision is an essential step before zooming in to decide on tactics and actions, for two reasons.

1). You’ll be better able to prioritize, focus and act on what you want.

2). You’ll be better equipped to discern which outside offers and influences are aligned with what you want and which are not.

This clarity will reduce overwhelm and allow you to fully commit. Commitment does not follow indecision; and, success is not reached without commitment.

To nail down your business clarity it’s enlightening to first look through these three filters so that your existing beliefs can be supported and/or challenged as needed. We only know what we think we know, so checking in is wise.

1). Decide on your overarching business model.

It’s important to decide on a business model in advance and make decisions congruent to that model. This decision will minimize internal resistance and allow your confidence to build.

In essence, no model is good or bad. However, model congruency is essential for success. It’s ineffective to jump back and forth between models because then there is no solid foundation to build upon.

I use an authentic business-building model that says business success is generated to the degree that the individual engages and expresses her unique capacities. In this model, the authenticity of the business owner equates to greater world service and greater value exchanged.

A slightly different business model is: identify a need and fill it. This model places emphasis on one’s ability to accurately find a target market with a clearly definable need and to develop products and services to fill that need. So the need becomes the primary alignment factor in making strategic decisions and all other considerations are secondary.

A third model is: create a business to sell. This model places an emphasis on creating systems that anyone could direct. The business intention is to create measurable value which builds so the business can be sold at a profit and run successfully by the new owner. Thus clearly defined, detailed procedures and universal systems are the aligning business building criteria. Franchising is an example of this model in action.

It’s important to not be fundamentally rigid in your thinking because value can be gained by adopting principles of each model. Certain situations are best addressed by being flexible and applying the best from many models. This works as long as you first choose one model as your primary decision-making guide.

2). Be aware of semantical judgments.

For example, I’ve always preferred the phrase “true calling” to “life purpose.” For me, “life purpose” seems too permanent or rigid. I prefer “true calling” because it feels right to be called from within to my vocation. However, if I allowed my bias to direct my decision-making, I’d deny myself the available wisdom that’s offered in the language of life purpose. Look for useful wisdom and value regardless of the implied word meanings that it comes packaged within. This is another one of those sticking points that we need to be aware of. We just can’t see what we can’t see so use these filters to check for hidden sludge points.

3). First – be your own counsel.

There is no shortage of business advice available to us; but it’s often not presented in a way that can be easily adapted to our unique needs and abilities. It’s critical to identify the potential personal value of outside influences so we can separate useful tools from wrong path distractions.

Since we are constantly motivated by our unmet needs and by our drive to feel better, we’re frequently tempted to rush to a solution because a well-written offer appears to satisfy an emotional craving.

Essentially, every decision we make is made to relieve tension or to achieve an objective. Unfortunately, when we make a decision for tension relief – the relief is only temporary. That’s why it’s necessary to have a solid grounding in your own proactively determined, strategic decisions.

First, decide exactly what you want – then business building becomes simpler because your choices are less.

Have you stepped back and considered the big picture?

Ideally and specifically, what about your business do you want to experience differently next year? Use this chart to decide.

1). Add additional criteria if it’s lacking for you.
2). Decide if you want more or less of each, next year.
3). Rank the criteria in order of importance with 1 being the most important.
4). Looking at what you want, write out a description that energizes you.
5). Further solidify your vision by frequently feeling its manifestation as if you were already in the midst of living it.

Make your description powerfully attractive so you’ll want to power it up frequently. There are many effective tools available to accomplish this, from vision boards to mind movies. I like to record my own declaration, in present moment language, of the ideal business I’m in the midst of building. I record it with baroque classical music playing in the background and listen to it frequently.

Don’t be too concerned with the “how to” just yet. Options will gradually surface as you ground your vision by clearly deciding and committing to what you want. In my next post, I’ll share some tools to zoom in on actions that you can do now. From the vantage point of a grounded vision, we’ll discuss how to stretch your beliefs beyond what you see as possible.

Let’s talk. Do you have a business vision that pumps you up? What about your ranking surprised you? What business model are you following?