The Keys To Confidence?

Recently I have been speaking to companies, corporations, Associations and individuals about a topic that had not been one that we would publicly speak about. No it’s not sex, drugs, religion or any of the taboo topics.  It’s one that until now, many of us hid…and did it quite well.  The topic is CONFIDENCE and it’s something that many of us struggle with… and many more of us deny we have trouble with.

This morning I was glancing through a magazine that caught my eye.  In the middle of the cover was an article called “The Keys To Confidence”…you can bet I started to thumb through it and hopefully find even more data for this new awareness of this old struggle.  I was completely disappointed as the entire magazine was about losing weight, plastic surgery, dental procedures, eye lifting, butt enhancing and the list goes on. Where will I kind the Keys to Confidence in any of these featured stories and ads? Perhaps it should be called “Where Did I Lose My Keys To Confidence” instead.

What are we doing to ourselves, our daughters, our granddaughters? What about our husbands and sons and grandsons? This issue of the magazine was about gifts to give for the holidays. If your husband came home with a gift certificate for weight loss, I would bet you could release 180 pounds or so by tossing him out the door?  All kidding aside, we are not creating happiness or joy or gratitude or confidence or loving ourselves when we read these magazines. As we get older should we hide the fact that we have lived decades and have the amazing life changes in our faces and bodies to prove it? The children you brought in to the world, the bonus children you inherited by choice, the places you’ve visited, the lives you’ve changed…certainly that accounts for something…doesn’t it?

Today I am without internet service. Who knows why and who knows when it will return. Instead of pouting and doing nothing, I decided to pick up some of the magazines I had put in a pile to read and pull out articles that I could use about programs I want to write and add to.  I guess this magazine was not the right one to start with except it gave me a reason to write a blog post.

It’s time to be kind again. Kind to each other, kind to strangers, kind to those that need our help, kind to our friends, kind to our family but most of all…kind to ourselves. Confidence doesn’t mean photo shopping ourselves to look like a model. It doesn’t mean we look beautiful only after we have plastic surgery or lose weight. It means we look in the mirror and love who is looking back.  Susan Sarandon said it best, “I look forward to being older, when what you look like becomes less and less and issue and what you are is the point.”

Go ahead, take a good long look. I don’t know about you but the person you are seeing has the “Keys To Confidence” that you are looking for.

How High Are Your Standards?

I always have interesting conversations and incredible people watching episodes when I’m at the airport.  I listen and observe, I engage and I observe some more.  At one airport, I was waiting for a flight and we were delayed so many times that it was almost a game to see when the app and the actual board in front of us would match as to the newest departure time.  There was a woman standing next to me. She was well-dressed and was friendly enough.  We were sharing some travel stories and then we got to “what do you do?” I told her I was an Executive Coach, a speaker, trainer, radio show host and author. She asked who I worked with and I gave her that information. I of course turned the conversation to her and asked what she did. She worked for a large organization and had been there for many years… “After all, why should I leave? I get paid, don’t have to do too much and I get to do some traveling.” The conversation went on for a bit and she mentioned that she had never had a coach but her boss swears by them.  Of course I needed to probe a little more and she told me, without any hesitation, she had never and would NEVER hire a coach because she would be expected to work more and harder and that is not what she wants to do. It started me thinking about standards and how as entrepreneurs we need to set the bar higher than we can even imagine. People will choose to work with you if what you are offering them is the best quality or service to solve their problem.

The truth is most people don’t like high standards because they create a lot of work – especially the kind of work that nobody likes in the first place. In the real world, getting from good to great requires extraordinary efforts and high standards. It demands more time than you want, more energy than you have, and more cooperation than any normal person can be expected to contribute.

That’s IF you want high standards. If you are willing to settle for “good,” things can be much easier – and you can be much nicer. How about if we talk about standards…for instance what are they anyway?

Your standards define how you act, which, in turn, builds trust in your brand. They can be guidelines that describe your quality, your performance, your style or your systems. Standards must align with your mission, business objectives, and leadership, and be implemented consistently.

What about our own personal standards? Are they written on a wall for all to see? Not necessarily, but think about this; personal standards are what separates the highest achievers from everyone else. Personal standards are nothing more than a set of behaviors. These behaviors are built upon expectations you have of yourself in a variety of situations. Your personal standards are reflected in how you treat yourself, and also in how you treat other people. They are also reflected in how you expect to be treated by other people. When you have high standards you expect to be treated with the highest of regard. However, when your standards are low it suggests that you are lacking in the self-esteem department. Remember though, no matter who your customer is, you shouldn’t change your standards to meet theirs.

Your personal standards are also reflected in the promises you keep, the way you show up, and are reflected in the quality of your work, values and communication. In fact, everything you do and say gives others an indication of the personal standards you live by. As women, we might have to work a little harder and set the bar a little higher to be treated on an equal playing field, and that’s ok.  It’s just a little extra stretch…and we’re used to that.

Luckily, if you turn to entrepreneurship as a way to fulfil your potentials and meet your standards as well, there are so many valuable resources to learn from. No longer do we need to learn everything through trial and error! And that feeling that you’re not alone in your striving, that helps. Just recently I’ve interviewed Stefan Pretty, an interesting Scottish entrepreneur who created Subbly, a management software for subscription businesses. But what really inspired me is the way he shows a step-by-step approach (that’s what I love about it…plus it’s easy to follow) on how to start a subscription box, making that start line (which is often the most difficult one) as straightforward as possible. And once you actually start something, it becomes easier to continue evolving and also, raise the standards when you realize that goals were more achievable then you thought!

Speaking of which…Do you have goals that you would like to achieve? Have you ever considered that in order to achieve these goals that you must first raise your personal standards in certain aspects of your life? Setting low standards will only take you so far along your journey towards your goal. With low standards you will simply not put enough work, time, energy or resources into this goal. You will not be able to give this goal what it requires, and therefore you will end up not getting the results you truly want.

When you set high standards you immediately raise your expectations of what’s possible. You suddenly expect more from yourself, more from your actions, and more from others. And with a higher set of expectations you are willing to do more to get the results you’re after, and your performance level shoots straight up.

As Tony Robbins said, “Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards.”

Don’t be like my airport buddy thinking that having a coach means others will expect more from you and that is a negative thing…after all, what is wrong with that?

 

Ten Useful Tips For The First-Time Business Owner

Owning A Business Is Extremely Exciting; It Is Also Hard Work And It Is Easy To Make Mistakes!

successful-business-ideasYou will not avoid every mistake of a first-time business owner, but with the right guidance you can make good decisions and avoid the problems that may cause some business owners to give up.  Hang in there; it does get better!

Here are ten useful tips for first-time business owners to help you stay on track:

  1. Focus. It is easy to get sidetracked, so stay on task.  It may help to have weekly or even daily meetings with others to bring you back to center.
  2. Do What You Know and Know What You Do. You got into business because you enjoy doing something, most likely.  If this is the case, stick with what you know and like.  Just because someone comes up with a “great idea” for a business does not mean it is right for you.
  3. Say It Fast or Don’t Say It At All. There is an old adage that says that if you cannot say something in under one minute it will take you ten.  Be prepared to pitch your business in under a minute at any time.  You never know when opportunity may arise!
  4. Know What You Know, What You Don’t Know and Where to Find The Answers. You do not have the answer to every problem.  Be sure to surround yourself with those who have these answers and lean on them when necessary.
  5. You Are a Start-up, So Act Like It! It is easy to get carried away with spending, but it is important that you do not. Be sure to act as if you are a “starving artist” when you start a business.
  6. Learn From Your Mistakes. You are going to make mistakes, so treat them as learning opportunities.
  7. No One Will Give You Money. Grooming investors comes later.  Right now, you need to prove that your business is viable.
  8. Take Care of Yourself. Eat, sleep and exercise.  You cannot function if you are not healthy.
  9. Actions Speak Louder Than Words. Demonstrate by your actions that you are a person of integrity.
  10. Know When To Quit. Stop before you are forced to quit.  If your idea does not work, try something different!

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Are You Ready To Really Get SMART?

We are in our second week of January.  How many of you still are following the guidelines you set for you New Year’s Resolutions?  Everyone sets their resolutions…code name goals…with the greatest of intentions. Isn’t wanting a change enough to make it happen?  If you’re not 100 percent committed to your goal, the odds of staying motivated are not in your favor. Unfortunately the statistics don’t reflect that. Studies show that 53% of people making New Year’s resolutions were confident they would make them happen yet only 12% really did. Thirty-five percent of us who make New Year’s resolutions break them by the end of January. And only 23 percent of everyone who makes a resolution will see it through to completion.

Resolutions or goals or whatever you want to call them are something we are all familiar with and SMART goals even more so.  Even knowing what SMART goals are and also knowing that you have to WRITE THEM DOWN, so many of us do not stick to them.  Let me give you a brief overview of how they work:

Specific-State exactly what you want to achieve and break it down into bite sized pieces. A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal.  A goal should address the What, Why and How: What are you going to do? Why are you doing it? How will you do it?

Measurable– Establish clear definitions to help you measure if you are reaching your goal. To know if you have met your goal, you must be able to measure it with a number or milestone. It is important that you continually monitor your results to make sure you are moving toward your goal, and to readjust if you start drifting off course.

Achievable- A goal needs to stretch you so you feel you can do it by committing to it.  A goal which is set too far out of your reach will not be one you keep.  Your goal should challenge you without defeating you. Once you stretch a bit and reach your new goal, you can always re-adjust to a bigger one and build on your success.

Realistic- Give yourself the opportunity to succeed by setting goals you’ll actually be able to accomplish…anticipate any hiccups that might appear along the way. Set a goal that can realistically be achieved by you in your situation today.

Time Bound- You need a specific timeline to accomplish your goals. You must place a deadline on your goal. This creates a sense of urgency and requires that you become focused on the goal.

What are your SMART goals for this year?  One other secret to keeping your goals…share them with someone else.  Let them be the accountability partner that you need to stay on track.

Sharing is good.  I would love to help you stay focused and on target.

Happy Selling!

write-it-down-and-carry-on

 

So What’s Next?

As we get into the craziness of the holidays, we seem to let things go and blame it on the craziness of the holidays…there is a pattern here. For me, I have been lax on my blog posts because after all, isn’t everyone too busy to read what I have to say?

I decided this morning to put down some thoughts as we turn the page from 2011 to 2012. We generally reflect and promise ourselves to commit to our resolutions, even if it’s for a month or so.  I have a few thoughts that I want you to consider as we get to the end of the calendar year. You can keep your thoughts to yourself, share them with your loved ones or perhaps put them in a blog post that you will allow me to share with my community of amazing people. Remember , if you share it, it becomes a reality.

In any event, here is what I want you to consider:

  1. if you could do anything you wanted and time, age and money were not obstacles AND you could not fail, what would you be doing? This is where our dreams begin. You have to start at the end and work your way backwards. Be daring and stretch yourself.
  2. Where do you see yourself in 24 months? We all know how quickly time flies and 24 months will be here before you know it. What is your picture? Where are you? What is your passion? Have you fulfilled your dream? Write it as if you are living it now…if you can’t see it, how can it happen?
  3. What are you going to next? Is it scary to think about your dreams? Then you are on to something big! If you are doing what you love to do right now and that is your calling, what can you add to your life to make it extraordinary? It’s easier to accomplish the impossible than the ordinary!

Here’s to some amazing new ideas for 2012 and even more amazing people to accomplish them!