July, 13 2010
I have recently noticed that most of us want to control what we can't and we don't control what we can.
Electronics! The gadgets are taking over and that is not necessarily a bad thing but many people seem to be unable to stay in control of their texting, e-mails, gaming, etc. The iPhone, Blackberry, etc. are eating away at lives and relationships because many of us relinquish control of their usage. You may be frustrated that you cannot control the amount of work you have or the activities of another person but are you taking control of your mobile device? That you can do.
Television. Do you control what you will watch and when? Some people are very successful at this -- others (and I'm one) wander through the channels. We seem to have allotted time but I found that I wasn't very discriminating about the amount of TV that I watched and therefore I was going with the flow and this flow is decidely not helpful. I have given up TV for the week and I must say that withdrawal isn't so much fun.
How does the weather affect what you do? How often do you wake up without even a fragment of a plan? I am suggesting that we start balancing our lives by looking at what is distracting us. Move forward by taking back your life from those things that may be usurping your time and attention...It may not be so easy but -- Yes You Can!
June, 08 2010
At some point when I wasn't looking, something must have happened when the world decided it was o.k. to be ultra-judgmental toward everyone and everything. Have you noticed how commentators and others in the media think it's just fine to tear someone to shreds because they don't share the same beliefs? I am a speaker who frequently gives workshops and talks and a couple of weeks ago in the midst of my presentation I just couldn't think of the right word or explain the concept that I was presenting very well. That night I saw someone on television complaing about a politician's delivery and I thought how unfair that was -- we are NOT perfect human beings. We make mistakes -- we are SUPPOSED to make mistakes -- that's how we learn. But because of TV and the immediacy of factual delivery, people seem to feel that any error is cause for a field day of criticism. At the same time that we permit our kids to forget basic grammar, we feel that we can raise the bar on those in the public eye and let them have it if they don't measure up. This is having serious ramifications: 1.) people want to be less transparent; 2.) Half of the time in a workday is covering you-know-what JUST in case a statement is misunderstood and 3.) people in the limelight are becoming more and more bland. We can never turn back the clock on anything so it is incumbent upon us to figure out a way to remedy this dilemma. To begin with, we can each stop judging so much. We can each provide some benefit of the doubt. We can each practice acceptance. Stuff happens.
May, 17 2010
That Elevator Speech
I am one of probably few advisors who does not recommend to my clients that they use an elevator speech. This may stem from the fact that I have heard many elevator speeches, which tell me little about the person and they create a very distasteful effect -- for ME! I quite honestly find it insulting when I meet someone who has packaged a presentation to sell himself. It says to me that the person has come to the meeting with an agenda and she/he is only interested in impressing someone who will either buy something or hire him/her. Phooey.
I love to meet people and I am curious about who they are, what they do and what makes their hearts sing. I want them to be authentic and I want to get to know them. It is true that I have found work and clients at networking meetings but I would like to think it is because I am laying the groundwork for a relationship and that my genuine interest in the other person led us down a path to working together.
I do believe in having focus and if you need to fine-tune a presentation about yourself that is direct and to the point -- then do that. However, I discourage people I know from writing and memorizing some little token that they have at the ready for when someone asks, "What do you do?" There are a myriad of ways to answer that question and one of them is to be brief and then ask about the other person.
Let's engage in conversation. Let's find out how we can help each other. Let's be warm and kind. Let's have fun with all this.
April, 23 2010
Let’s think bigger…
The headline on my www.beth-cole.com website is: Think Big, Do Big, Be Big. I voiced that phrase often when I was president/CEO of the Washington D.C. Women’s Business Center where we trained small business owners to start and grow their own enterprises. I used to think that thinking big was pretty easy and I’m here to now amend that -- Thinking Big can be plenty scary.
We want to think big – we may even think we are thinking big – and we don’t so much.
Often just as we begin to think big, one of our little gremlins appears and convinces us that the mere idea that we are about to contemplate is frightening – Just the IDEA. And what do we do? We adjust our thinking to fit a current reality. We begin thinking smaller.
When times are good and a new opportunity seems to be at every corner, our imaginations seem to soar. It’s as if our thoughts meet a hidden demand. We haven’t had a robust economy or great expectations for a few years now and I have noticed that many of us seem reluctant to have large dreams and mammoth ambitions. Let us consider that this is the time!
I offer the following simple practice, which a friend reminded me about just this week.
1. Sit in stillness -- Quiet your mind for a few seconds
2. Then go on a journey…visit new places in your mind. Conjure up wonderful vistas, strange communities even, large and expansive horizons – real or unreal
3. Meet people or other beings along the way
4. Have imaginary conversations if it feels good
5. Let go as much as possible and enjoy a few minutes of totally harmless and often inspiring visions.
As you do this practice, you can nudge yourself on if nothing is coming to you – for instance: What if I talked to a purple penguin? What is the terrain he is living in? Who is he talking to? What does he do with his day? What other species share his habitat?
I needed this – I was feeling stale until I realized that my mind has the ability to transport me to new and wonderful vistas and that when I come back to the present, I am refreshed and hopeful.
Circumstances may be enticing us to think small but we always have the ability to Think Big! That will always be where our payoff is.