November, 18 2007
Do you realize how many people ask for challenges? Folks actually think that they earn points if they overcome obstacles. Now, don't get me wrong -- I've known disappointment, struggle, uninvited consequences, of course. And in this season of gratitude, I am thankful for everything that has brought me to the place that I am now. But while I appreciate all of the lessons I have learned, I love even more every one of those instances, which appeared with ease and grace -- Halleluiah! That's where I want credit -- for visualizing what I want and having it come into my life bigger and better than I ever could have imagined. It's just simply delicious to feel life unfold perfectly. I'm grateful and hope you are too. Happy Thanksgiving. May your holiday be as good as they get.
November, 06 2007
Be Tech Savvy
Last night, I had the opportunity and privilege of hearing Lee Ramie, the director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project. His Center examines how people's internet use affects their families, communities, etc. Their reports are fascinating and his speech was eye-opening. Check them out at www.pewinternet.org. I was intrigued by what Ramie had to say, but most surprised by a question from an audience member, who called himself an old "fart." Well, he was probably not much older than me and his question was essentially -- who needs this stuff? And the stuff meant cell phones, internet, web, etc. It's safe to say that he has never text messaged anyone. He probably hasn't ever found something he needed to know on the web, and it's definite that he hasn't e-mailed family and friends -- preferring, in his words, postcards and telephoning. This guy and I aren't even close to being on the same page. But either is the woman, who is 15 - 20 years younger, whose computer was stolen and she had no back-ups...What????? Or the very young caterer, who prepared lunch for a board meeting I attended last week, who doesn't have a website. Come on, people! Get with it! In order to be competitive, you must understand what technology can do for your business. We live in a day and age when it is cheap, cheap, cheap to partake. About ten years ago, I purchased a server and connected all of my employees in the office -- it cost a lot of money. Five years ago, I bought a router for my home so my daughter, granddaughter and I could all be on the internet at the same time and use one printer and it didn't cost me more than $50. You can see where I'm going with this. We are BLESSED with having access to information and each other at a reasonable cost, and relative ease. I'm grateful to Lee Rainie and his staff for letting me know the reach and impact of the technology and I know for sure that I appreciateevery day the ability that I have to learn, communicate, keep records, and even blog. Hooray!
October, 20 2007
Lights, Camera, Action!
This is supposedly what happens as a movie is being made. I've been thinking a lot about the execution of ideas lately and that phrase kept coming into my mind. You can have the inspiration (light) and you have can have the vision (camera) but until you take some action, nothing happens. I don't mean you have to struggle or work extra hard to fulfill your ideas but I know, for sure, that action -- some activity -- moves us forward in some way and that that is important. I believe (and you can dispute this but I have found it to be true) that movement of any kind helps us to achieve our goals. I also know that many times we spend a lot of time and energy pondering our next move rather than just MAKING A MOVE. I urge my clients and my friends to stop analyzing and DO SOMETHING! Take action. If it helps you, go ahead and pretend that you are making a movie -- become your own director -- and shout...Lights, Camera, ACTION!
September, 30 2007
What is this "differentiation" thing?
A colleague and I were lamenting the fact that many new businesses, which come to us for guidance, have not done much market research. When asked about competition, they may say that they don't have any, which, of course, is not true. I also find folks, who are at the other end of the spectrum -- they know all too well who is doing what that is similar to them and they are totally "beaten" down by that. Knowing who you are and what you have to offer is vitally important to business. (It's also important when you are seeking a job, asking for a promotion, or looking for a realtionship.) It is central to most situations. I have struggled with how to present this topic in workshops over the years because so much that has been written about this subject is "cliche." It is difficult to do an overview without succumbing to phrases like: uniqueness, brilliance, strengths, etc. And yet I know for sure that differentiating yourself is more than that and that it is a key to attracting the business you want. We can look at stand-outs in their field after the fact and understand how they have marketed their "specialness." I love Dolly Parton and use her as an example in one of my workshops. She is a terrific singer, songwriter, entertainer AND she is different from every other. It's not just her physical "difference" that keeps you remembering her though you're not likely to forget that, it's her sound and her style and her smartness and more. Bill Gates created an empire, but I respectfully submit that it was his vision of a world totally connected by the use of his technology that set him apart from all of those who were beginning to do the same thing back in the day. I will admit that I can earn a dollar or two helping people find their differentiation and I am happy to do that and the results have been positive and outside help can be useful. The truth is, however, that your confidence, your personal understanding of what you wish to achieve, and your language to describe it all will be the most successful in propelling you toward your goals. It's important to know, understand, and be an expert in your field (that's the market research part) and it's equally important to access your inner Bill Gates and let that propell you forward. You can honestly think big even while you constantly "google" to see who's doing what. You can think big while you are handling details. You can be ready to do big by seeing the lessons in the details. And some day you can BE Big as long as it or some part of "it" was once imagined.