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.

The Value Of Coaching

When I started my company in 2009, one of the first things I did was to understand what I didn’t know how to do. I loved people, I could sell, I wanted to make a difference and always wanted to bring value.  All sounds great so far right? What I didn’t really know how to do was to create a company or a business that would support me in loving people, selling, making a difference and bringing value.

So the first step was knowing what I needed and then realizing I didn’t know what I didn’t know and that is where my business coach came in.  She sat me down and asked me a lot of questions, listened to my goals or dreams and together we worked together to put that in place.  Again, sounds great so far right?  Here’s the REAL truth.  You have to know how to listen to your coach.  They have the experience and expertise. If you had an athletic coach who told you to hit the ball or kick the ball or catch the ball or whatever with the ball and you thought you knew better, where do you think that would end up?  Ok not much different with a business coach.

Everything she told me to do made perfect sense, however, I already knew that, already tried that and was already to dismiss that.  Let me just say that if you asked me what type of person I don’t ever want to coach…it would be the ones that say I’ve done that already, I’ve tried that already and the rest of that nonsense.  During one of my sessions, it was decided that I would write a book.  It wasn’t necessarily my decision as it was never on my radar, but my coach suggested that since I had 30 years of “stuff” in my head, why not organize it and share it with others.  I finally agreed and she told me to have an outline, not the book itself, just an outline completed by a certain date.  I sheepishly agreed and didn’t really give it another thought.  Remember, I knew better…The date came and we were having a session and towards the end she asked me to show her the outline. It was not completed or really, it was not even started.  She was less than happy but very professional.  She didn’t say what she probably wanted to say but she did say this… “Let’s get in the car and drive for a few minutes.  Then let’s open the windows and throw all your money out, roll up the windows and leave.” I thought she had lost her mind and then she finished with “Why are you paying me all this money when you don’t do any of the work? How will your business ever get off the ground? How will people know who you are?  How will you ever make a difference or bring value?”  That was the day I realized how important a coach really is.

The truth is that coaching helps people focus on the things that are contributing to their being stuck, and then move beyond them.  I knew I was stuck in a place that I didn’t recognize and I needed someone who knew better than I did and who was totally objective to move me along. Harvey Mackay said, “Athletes and actors have long hired coaches to help prepare for a specific competition or role. But they aren’t the only ones who can benefit from expert advice. Coaches are available to help people in any field improve their “game.” You see will all need to improve our game…no matter what field that is in.

There are so many reasons to have a coach for your business. Ever think about what qualities you should look for? I put together a Slide Share about this topic.  Here are the highlights and you can go to slideshare.net- 15 Qualities You Should Look For In A Business Coach. You can check it out at https://www.slideshare.net/JHoberman/15-qualities-you-should-look-for-in-a-business-coach.  The highlights are below:

  • FRIENDSHIP Builds a Mutual Relationship based on mutual respect. Look for someone who uses respectful dialogue. This could turn into a life-long friendship. Even though this begins as a business relationship, in order to be truly effective, it generally goes beyond that phase because the coach learns as much from the client as the client learns from the coach.
  • TRUST Not everyone in today’s society has a trusted advisor they can count on. Many people have ulterior motives when they are asked to help someone else. A great coach is someone you can trust and has true interest in your success and reaching your self-declared goals.
  • LISTEN A great coach really understands good listening is often taken for granted. The very best conversations and relationships involve our intentional listening- listening to learn, with a clear and quiet mind, not just waiting for our turn to speak. Listening is a great coach’s gift to their client!
  • INSPIRE A great coach helps create a vision and helps describe it. They will understand your passion and continues to inspire you by reminding you of your original passion and purpose.
  • EXPERIENCE A great coach should have years of experience and speaks your language. Their experience should not only bring an understanding in business, but more importantly, experience with people.
  • GOALS Many times goals are set too low requiring minimal effort to reach them, or too high where it becomes unrealistic to reach them. A great coach helps you set realistic goals that are achievable but requires effort to reach them.
  • MOTIVATION What drives you? What are you looking to achieve? It’s easy to be derailed when your goals aren’t reached quickly enough. A great coach defines your goals and breaks them down into small steps so that you can see successes along the way.
  • ORGANIZED A great coach provides organization & simplification. They help order thoughts and gives a formula for success and help develop a process to achieve whatever you want to accomplish. A great coach customizes the process to align with your needs.
  • CHALLENGE A great coach identifies challenges. Including ones that you may not even see which can prepare you for a smoother outcome. Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know!
  • PATH A great coach develops solutions. They help develop a path out of the challenges at hand. A road map that runs interference and provides a clear path to achieve your vision.
  • EXPECTATIONS A great coach is someone who helps guide expectations. They help you to understand your own expectations which tend to be influenced many times with over optimism. Reasonable expectations with early successes, victories and important milestones reached will take away the discouragement many find while navigating a difficult path.
  • GROWTH A great coach ensures your growth by challenging you. They move you out of your comfort zone with necessary steps and actions to achieve your goals and create scenarios and opportunities for you to be well rounded.
  • MEASURE A great coach evaluates your performance. They develop a process that measures your performance. Constantly evaluating your performance with real time feedback gives you the opportunity to learn and trains you to solve your own challenges with a set of effective tools.
  • ACCOUNTABLE A great coach is an accountability partner. For your self-declared goals, a coach will provide constructive feedback so that you can achieve what you set out to do. You are less likely to hold yourself fully accountable if you don’t share your goals with someone that is a trusted and objective partner.
  • SUPPORT A great coach is supportive. They are always there for support even when there may not be anyone else that can see, believes in, or supports your vision.

Remember, Coaching is the universal language of change and learning.

Business Or Expensive Hobby

 

Here’s the scenario…you decide you have something that will solve a solution for others.  You’ve researched the market through surveys, focus groups and lots of connections. This is what you’ve been put here to do and so now you do as Nike as reminded you for decades and you “Just Do It” and voila you have a business…or do you?  So-Is it a business or a hobby?

Let’s think about this…like almost anything else, the beginning of something can dictate how it will be in the future.  If you’re in a relationship and the beginning is not good, you might be given a bird’s eye view of what it will be going forward.  If you have a client that is less than desirable, you will probably see what that relationship will be for you.  The truth is that this phase of your business SHOULD be the most exciting on one hand because rest assured, on the other hand it can also be the one that will try your patience at every turn. There will be people, even those closest to you, that will tell you that you are crazy for doing this while others have no idea how you can be so courageous. You’ll have times that you look at something that you’ve created or written and smile and know that is exactly what you were aiming for and then…you have to scrap it because it really isn’t solving a problem…only one that you are creating. And then there are those times when you are ready to just throw your hands up because this is NOT what you bargained for. So using my first thought, if the beginning isn’t good, should you just move along? To this I say No!

We’ve heard that if you have passion and heart that you can start your own business and be successful; you know “Do what you love and the money will follow”…unfortunately business doesn’t really follow that.  What you want to determine is if you have a business or really only have an expensive hobby. You’re an incredible baker, but is that passion and skill enough for the million-dollar business you have in your head? Right look at Debbie Fields…the truth is she had a lot more than just a great cookie.

Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before you jump into the world of entrepreneurship that might give you a chance to succeed instead of hitting head first into a wall…and by the way, these were the questions that I asked myself:

  • What do I do?
  • How do I do it?
  • What will bring in revenue?
  • How do I decide what I want to be when I grow up?

My self-doubt was at an all-time high. In my case, I found a business coach who helped lead me on the right and best path. I made so many mistakes that most of us make and made so many that I even wrote a book about it “Famous Isn’t Enough: Earning Your Fortune As An Entrepreneur” I believed if I could save another excited entrepreneur some time and money, that would be perfect.  Of course some of you will make the same mistakes or detours that I’ve made and that’s ok because sometimes you have to experience something yourself to truly understand.  Just make sure you learn the lesson so you can share your wisdom with other budding entrepreneurs down the road.

The sad reality is that nine out of ten startups will fail. While this sounds like the end is near, if you work hard, stay focused and listen to those that have been there done that, your chances of success are greater

For those of you that would like some steps to take to be in the 10% success group rather than the 90% that aren’t, here you go:

  1. Do Your Research-While your mom and BFF will be true supporters of your newest venture, it’s probably better to do some of your own research. You can do this in person, via surveys or on social media. Make sure you do a wide enough circle of people so that you get true readings.
  2. Build Your Audience First-Ok you’re off…but there is no one there to receive what you are offering. If you are doing a launch and only 3 people show up, you will be frustrated but you will also realize how important it is to build your audience first. Start sharing content that is directly related to what you will be offering and make sure it is valuable and exciting. Don’t believe what some say that you should hold your best information and content for paying clients. How and why would people want to work with you if the only thing you are sharing is fluff? When you share and give right from the beginning you are letting others know that is your M.O. and to stay tuned for more of where that came from.
  3. Never Stop Learning-We all want to be known as the thought leaders in our circles. However, even if you own that title, you should always continue in the learning process.  Reach out to those that are in your space or way beyond your space and ask…If you never ask the answer is always no. Also always remember not to hoard your experience and expertise.  Remember those budding entrepreneurs that are ready to learn? Share with them. You too should be one of those because if you are the smartest in the room, you are in the wrong room.
  4. Don’t Be Afraid Of Technology-there are so many tools out there that can shorten your learning curve or enhance your offerings. If you are not tech-savvy, find someone who is. Maybe there is something you can barter that they need until you can both share financially.  But, if that isn’t the case, technology challenges can cause you to be behind the 8-ball so find a way to stay as current as possible. There are so many tools that are free to use…and I bet that YouTube has a tutorial on that. When you are ready to add to your team, someone with strengths in technology would be one of the first to add.
  5. Think About Revenue From The Beginning-Some entrepreneurs are lucky enough to have investors that will help finance their businesses. Most of us are not that fortunate. Either way, have to think about “Show Me The Money” from the beginning. What is your cash flow? How will you pay your bills without dipping into your personal funds? You want your business to grow and like it or not, money is part of that.  Be part of the 10% not the 90% of businesses that succeed.

Michael Dell said, “Ideas are a commodity. Execution of them is not.”

What If You Had A Secret?

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I would bet that at some point in your life, someone told you a secret and told you not to tell anyone. Would you tell? Even your best friend? Or your spouse? Or perhaps a total stranger just to say it out loud? Maybe your pet, or stuffed animal or even your pillow…. Really, would you?

So I know something that I’ve known for a few weeks and I can’t tell anyone….really no one and all I want to do is tell someone…anyone! It’s going to be great and it will happen in a few weeks but I promised to keep it confidential until it was time to tell. A study was done that showed women can keep a secret for 32 minutes.

In that same study, it stated that men talk more than women. And I should let you know that in a study done just a few years prior, that time was 47 hours…that’s quite a slide in a few years! Check out the study! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/14/women-keep-secrets-32-minutes_n_1092512.html Well I’m way beyond 32 minutes….So what would you do?

How To Get Your Groove Back!

Have you even been faced with a situation that has just zapped all your energy?  Could be personal, could be professional.  What do you do?  You can’t stay under your blankies for too long.  After all, how do you explain that to your mortgage company or utilities?

I had been going along excited and happy and ready to take on the world.  It always makes me smile when someone is so excited to meet me or asks me to sign a copy of my book or thanks me for sharing my information.  So I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.  Even with the ups and downs of building a business, I’m still so much happier than I’ve been in a long time.  I have new products coming out, an incredible Dream Team around me and even taking some time for me.  Unfortunately I was hit with a situation that, in my mind, can derail what I’m trying to accomplish and I am trying to stay professional, not get my NYer attitude up and remain focused and productive.

Ha!  Easier said than done!  So I did what any normal, mature woman would do….I burst into tears and started second guessing everything I am doing.  It’s not good enough, it’s not valuable enough, I don’t understand the terminology….you name it I said it!  How productive!  If not for the next steps I took, I would be in my sweats, under my blankies, watching mindless TV.

  1. Find someone to talk to-I have the most incredible people around me-friends, family, my mastermind group who first listened and then offered advice
  2. Listen to the advice given-While some of the advice I received was not easy to swallow, I did listen and put together a plan.
  3. Commit to letting others help-One of the most difficult things for most women to do is to ask for help.  This blubbering fool didn’t need to say too much.  It was clear I needed help
  4. Do what you are good at-There is nothing more rewarding than feeling good about yourself by doing what you love.  Positive reinforcement can help change your mood
  5. Take some time for yourself to rebound-Give yourself permission to veg out for the day.  Mindless TV and sweats goes a long way.

So have I bounced back totally? Not yet, but I’m on the right path and I know it will all work out the way it’s supposed to…

Have a similar story to share?  I would love to hear how you navigated out of the rough waters. Leave a comment below and lets start a discussion.

Are You In Transition?

According to dictionary.com, transition is “movement, passage, or change from one position, state,stage, subject, concept, etc., to another; change: the transition from adolescence to adulthood.”

It seems there is an awful lot of people in transition these days. The most common form seem to be those in a career transition. Either they have been promoted right out of their position or down-sized due to company budget-cuts. This affects not only those without a job but their family and friends as well. Whatʼs the best thing to do for those in this transition??  This is the time to network and let those around you know that you need their help.

There are also those graduating from College and are leaving the safety of their University family and transitioning into the cold world. This form of transition is just as difficult because the graduate really has no experience and their network is almost non-existent. Thatʼs where those of us that have a network can offer to make the path that much smoother.

Finally, there is the transition when you as the parent now become the child. Your children are grown and may not need you as much any longer. They have their own lives, friends, and families. To me this is the hardest one of all. You always imagined that you would be the center of your childrenʼs lives. When did it change? How do we make this a smoother transition? One quote that has helped me with this transition is “There are only 2 lasting things we can give our children….one is roots, the other wings.”

Recently I have been approached by people in transition to introduce them to people with whom they can network, to help them find a job or the courage to do their own thing, or even to give them a hug when their family dynamics have changed. Being in transition is a scary enough place. Being in transition alone is overwhelming. Be the person that others contact. It sure feels good giving back.

Have you recently helped someone through a transition? Or maybe even gone through one of your own? Please leave a comment below with your story. I’m sure there are others out there who could benefit from your perspective.

Easing Transition- The F7Group Mantra

It doesn’t seem as if transition is a difficult concept, yet millions of people are struggling with it.  Quite simply transition is defined as movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another.  It could be from one part of the country to another, from one position in a company to another or even from one school to another. But, there is another group of people that are experiencing transition in its most uncomfortable way…our veterans (and most notably female veterans.)

According to an article in USA Today, the unemployment rate for female veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was 13.5 percent in January, which was 5 percent higher than the average non-veteran adult women and that was 3 percent higher than the previous year.

In addition, in a recent survey by Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, it was determined that it takes a female veteran an average of eight months to find a civilian job and most disturbing is data from the government that indicates that female veterans are twice as likely to become homeless as women who never served in the military.

How is this possible?  The top three reasons given are:

  1. Certification issues
  2. Translating skills to civilian context
  3. Lack of support

You can read the full article here.

So what can we do?  I am honored and privileged to be a part of a team of women with a goal of being a resource to female veterans to do exactly what they need…guide them through the transition from the military to the civilian world. Our group is called F7-Operation Engaging Vision.  There are 7 of us that have pooled our skill sets to provide female veterans the tools they need to go from that black and white regimented and regulated world into the grey area we call life.

Please visit us at www.f7group.com and support, honor and thank our veterans.  Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do all the things we love to do.

Vulnerability

The definition of being vulnerable is:

Susceptible to physical or emotional injury; Susceptible to attack; Open to censure or criticism.  These are certainly not positive thoughts that you want to have to start your day.  However, I was just sent a video by one of my closest girlfriends that put a new spin on a not so pleasant word.  One of the messages that struck me is that when you are numb to the negative emotions of being vulnerable, you are also numb to the wonderful and positive side of this powerful word.

Why not take the 20 minutes to watch this video and let me know what you think?? Instead of rushing around, sit still, watch, listen and think.  Enjoy.

The Top 10 Networking Tips for Women-The Other Side Of The Coin

“They” say that everyday you should learn something. Who are “They” anyway?? In any case, I do agree and I do try and follow that rule in my life whether personally or professionally. Do you know how many people come into your life? How many of them have made an impact on your life? Everyone of them in some way. I truly believe that everyone comes into your life for a reason. Some are there for a brief moment and some are keepers but ALL have made an impact.

With that said, here is what I have learned Not to do with networking:

1-Don’t make networking your full-time job-it has a way of doing that and you can be busy attending networking events every day and you cannot build a business if your attention is not on doing just that

2-Sort out the groups you have visited and decide which groups you can benefit from going forward and join. You have to put some skin in the game and people need to know you are serious. You can go broke if you join every group so don’t over commit yourself

3-Remove the thought of “What’s In It For Me” attitude from your brain. This is all about building relationships and that thought process will certainly make you stand out in the crowd…but for the wrong reason

4-Talking about standing out in the crowd-dress professionally so you are taken seriously. This is not a day at the beach or a night out at the club

5-DON’T surround yourself with those that you already know…that is called “hanging out” not networking

6-DON’T get caught up with everyone’s opinion. You will know when you are networking too much because opinions will start be contradictory and it can bring you to tears. That’s when I knew I had to be more selective in my process. I was hearing so many opinions that I started second guessing myself

7-Don’t second guess yourself. Yes I mentioned that already but it bears repeating. No one knows your business the way you do. Everyone has an opinion and that is what works for them. Some are very successful and some are faking it until they make it. If you believe it what you are doing, stick with it

8-Don’t schedule 1:1 meetings with everyone. Yes you can feel so popular when you look at your schedule and every breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and hour is filled. Schedule with a purpose that is beneficial to both parties

9-Don’t take it personally. The group may not be right for you but there is a chance that you are not right for the group. Some groups will invite you as a guest and then may or may not extend an invitation to join. Things happen the way they are supposed to

10-Don’t make everyone your friend rather than a business connection. Remember women develop and cultivate relationships. Be careful you don’t cross the line and make everyone your new best friend. The point of networking is to build you business and help others do the same.

I believe networking is the way to go whether you are just starting out or have been in your business for years. You never know who you will meet or who will stumble across through others. Just be smart about what you are trying to do and always remember it is just one spoke in your wheel to grow a business. If you haven’t tried networking, choose a smaller group and get your feet wet. If you are a pro and do it all the time, take someone under your wing and help them ease into it. I have been fortunate enough to have met the most interesting, intelligent and amazing people through networking and will continue so that I am able to be that to someone else.

Top 10 Networking Tips for Women-Zero to Sixty

Recently I was told that I have done more networking in the past 60 days than others have done in 6 months. How else do you get yourself out there? Yes it is based on who you know not what you know…isn’t everything? But, you have to get some skin in the game and that means stepping waaaay out of your comfort zone and doing what comes naturally…or in this case JUST DO IT!

So here are some Do’s about networking that I have come up with:

1-Explore many different groups and events so that you can see the dynamics of the groups

2-Dress professionally-Wear something so you are taken seriously

3-Be prepared with your 30 second explanation of what product or service you provide

4-Shake hands with everyone you meet. Sometimes a firm handshake breaks the ice

5-Bring business cards with you (as basic as this sounds, many people don’t)

6-When sharing what your product/service with others, ask what they provide

7-Sincerely listen to what others are saying to you

8-When appropriate, introduce others in your Circle of Influence to those you have met where there would could a mutually beneficial relationship

9-Follow up on all referrals you are given-these are a gift to you. Make sure you treat those the way you would want to be treated

10-Women build relationships in everything we do. Women are really good listeners, and, even at a networking event, we listen to what the other person needs so that we can help to make things happen

I cannot begin to tell you about the amazing people I have met. Some will be able to help my business grow, some will not but all are now in my Circle of Influence. Many times it is not the person you are talking to that may be instrumental in making things happen, it’s one of the ten people that they know. I want to be that person for others. Guess what?? I have already done that for some and to me that is what networking is all about.

Stay tuned for what NOT to do….