Archive for the Musings Category

A Year of Pause

Posted in Business, Musings on January 10, 2013 by wolfwomyn

Too often we are caught up in the hustle and bustle of trying to keep it going, personally and professionally.  It has been scientifically proven that even a few moments of pause during the day increases productivity, decreases stress, and leads to healthier and happier bosses and employees.  This is a wonderful article.  Here is to “A Year Of Pause.”  Enjoy the article.

*************************************************************

Earlier this year, a friend of mine went to France to hike in a region of the lower Alps little known by Americans. Each day she and a handful of strangers walked up and down mountains, through valleys beside fossil-encrusted rock and riverbeds filled with stones, rarely seeing another person, and amazed that where they walked was once an ocean. Stopping for leisurely picnic lunches, they replenished and walked until reaching the evening’s lodgings. Sitting around the table each night, they ate hearty meals and talked before falling into restorative sleep. My friend shared, “We became aware of how natural and important it is to be able to take refuge.”

One day when the terrain was steep and rough, my friend struggled to keep up. Her guide hung back and gently advised, “Let the pace of your feet match your heartbeat, not the other way around.” Smiling, she urged her to follow as she set a slower, more sustainable pace. For my friend, something shifted; she realized the simple yet transformative power of paying attention to her heartbeat and choosing her pace in life.

In stark contrast, for many people, most days are a grueling race to keep up with ever-increasing demands, personal and professional, that often leave us depleted and unfulfilled. We even hasten the frantic pace as needed, and frankly, we rationalize that it comes with the territory. We have developed a collective hurry sickness — going everywhere but being nowhere — and learned to ignore our own heartbeats. Our 24/7 connected, globally-caffeinated culture conspires to diminish rather than strengthen our potential for meaningful contribution. Unconscious, we have let this become the new normal.

The holidays are an exception. We slow things down for caring and kindness, comfort foods, gift exchanges, gatherings around the table. We pause to savor the sweet season, transitioning from one year to the next, nourishing our lives with what feels natural and life-affirming. We even top it off with the socially-encouraged tradition of making resolutions, taking time to reflect on hope and change for the coming year.

But then the sabbatical ends. We barrel head first into the year, resuming the grueling pace that has come to define our lives. Commitments, although made with best intentions, slip away. Permission to slow down pales compared to the stigma of not meeting expectations. We dismiss pause as weakness and reestablish perpetual busyness as strength — a measure of success. But are speed and action really virtues? Or, are they distractions from what is missing and meaningful?

We have a choice. The urgency, drive and energy we capitalize on for success must be tempered with pause — a process of intentionally interrupting the hyper-active speed of life to gain the space we need to discern what is important, create our best work, and be our best selves. More pause — not speed — is the only sustainable way to cope with today’s demands and to take back our lives.

Research shows that slowing down on a regular basis is the better choice for us physically, emotionally, and mentally, and that when we do not, we suffer the consequences. The famous Framingham Heart Study found that women who took the fewest vacations were nearly eight times more likely to develop heart disease or suffer a heart attack than those who took regular time off. In a study that monitored the brain activity of those trying to solve problems, psychologist Mark Jung-Beeman and cognitive neuroscientist John Kounios discovered that in the minutes before they experienced “Aha!” flashes of creative insight, study participants were more likely to be focusing their attention inwardly and silencing irrelevant thoughts. And scientists have found that multitasking — the holy grail solution to getting more done in our hyper-active workplace culture — drains our productivity. According to research from Joshua Rubinstein, Ph.D., of the Federal Aviation Administration, and David Meyer, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Evans, Ph.D., both at the University of Michigan, people not only lose time when trying to complete two or more tasks at once, but it increases the likelihood of error as well.

While evidence validates pause, it’s challenging to embrace it when our culture scoffs at it, judging time invested in pause as counterculture and threatening our competitive edge. Imagine what might be possible if we extended our pause practice beyond the holiday threshold and carried it with us throughout the year. What ills might we cure in addition to hurry sickness? Anxiety? Depression?

Making pause part of your reality is not so difficult. What if you scheduled a time into your day to slow down — 10 minutes, 20 — to close your eyes and breathe deeply or take a walk, leaving your phone behind? What if you created sacred time without electronic devices at dinners with family and friends? What if we had real weekends? Real, unplugged vacations? Or, what if you took a few moments to read inspiring words or to share what is on your mind and in your heart rather than pushing it aside?

What if we made it commonplace to have a moment or longer of silence before meetings or classes to feel centered and grounded instead of rushing headlong into hyper-speed and hyper-activity? What if we had the courage to connect within ourselves and to others and to shift our attention from the clock and “to do” list to what is most important? Instead of picking up your mobile device to plow through a stream of mindless, soul-less transactions, what if you paused to ask yourself, “What could I do that would feed my soul and be more enduring?” What if you took time to reflect on your gifts, passions and dreams? What if you stopped to think: What can I begin today to create what I want in my life? What if you took a break from tension and anxiety and asked, “Where is the pressure coming from? Is it within me, or is it coming from somewhere else?” What might we accomplish if we focused on one thing at a time? How might our world be better if we all paused? What would be different?

In essence, everything. As the countermovement to our culture’s reverence for speed, action and reaction, pause is transformative. Pause values significance over speed, so when you choose it, you open yourself up to rediscovering what is important. There are specific moments in life that prompt us to pause — new beginnings and personal crises, but also horrific tragedies that shatter our world and knock us all, as a culture, off center. In these moments, we reach an incredible state of clarity — the things that once seemed urgent and stressful are now superficial distractions. We are crystal clear what is truly important, and that clarity can stay with us for some time. But, when the deluge of distractions comes flooding in, often we lose not necessarily the awareness, but the commitment attached to it. With pause, we can stay clear and committed. It’s not about stopping, giving up, and doing nothing. It is about doing things differently. When you pause, you reclaim your inherent right to make a choice about when it is appropriate to move quickly, and when it is in your best interest to slow down, take a breath, and reapproach. And in today’s world, where we are constantly moving, doing, acting, and reacting, simply because technology makes it possible, pause is more critical than ever. If we do not teach ourselves to slow down to renew, to be mindful and determine what is important, we will continue to suffer from illness, burnout, and loss of purpose in our work and lives. As noted scientist and mindfulness researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn put it, “The internet is on 24/7; it doesn’t mean we have to be.”

Despite what is going on around us, we have the power to pause — we must simply choose to do so. As we pause during this unique time of transition — the end of the old year with all that has passed, and on the cusp of what is to come — why not resolve to taking back our lives through intentional choices? In 2013, let’s choose to pause deeply, treat ourselves kindly, and include pause as a best practice for creating more connection, meaning, and fulfillment. This year, let’s match our pace with our heartbeats. Let’s choose a new normal.

 

by Kevin Cashman
Best-Selling Author, World-Class Speaker, Global CEO

Advertisements

Don’t Forget the Little People

Posted in Business, Musings on May 31, 2012 by wolfwomyn

I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately watching the news, listening to people.   It seems that in today’s economy there is a major focus on the big corporations and the people with a lot of funds, what is being termed at the 1%.  But in all the hullabaloo, the little people, the middle and lower class, are being completely forgotten and swept under the rug.  So I thought today I’d write a little bit on my own, rather than putting forward yet another article, and speak up for the people where most of the income actually comes from.

Realistically, most of the spending in this country come from the middle to lower income groups.  The rich seem to be keeping it tied up and stashed away.  So rather than focusing the attention on getting the attention of the 1%, time and energy should be focused on where the business actually is and keeping prices withing a range where we can actually connect ~ especially for the small business folks.  Keeping prices to a reasonable level, rather it be for services or merchandise, will keep the flow of the energy of money running.  If we out price these groups we are, as the old saying goes, cutting of our nose despite our face.   So it means cutting the profit margin, that margin won’t be there if we are not getting business.

What does this mean?  Being realistic, and not running scared, about where the economy is and what people can afford.   We are in a major recession.  People don’t have the expendable income that used to be there.  And they are really tired of promises that are not kept, and companies that used to be there and care are no longer, and things that used to be reasonable priced doubled and tripled so that basics cannot even be reached.  Being realistic about our pricing for services and merchandise is mandatory these days.

Another way to keep the general population involved and coming into your business is customer service.   I recently went to Hawaii and experienced their ‘Aloha Spirit’, and it was obvious everywhere I went.   When I walked into a store, no matter what size, the workers actually looked up, caught your eye, and with a smile and warm heart greeted you with a very happy Aloha.  You actually knew that they knew you were there and they actually wanted you there.   To very basic human interaction, while driving I noticed that people actually stopped to let another person turn across the road, and people actually stopped for pedestrians waiting to cross the street, and everywhere there was a feeling of care and concern for others.    And this from a people who are fighting for their country.  I know most of you probably are not even aware that the US in a military coo, started by the missionaries children, took over their country and arrested and imprisoned their queen in her own palace.   And yet, the still smile, greet the outsiders with Aloha, and for the most part treat us well.   In this harsh economy that we are in everyone needs some Aloha.

So what is the moral of the story.  Remember the little people, and remember we all want to be acknowledged and treated with respect.  Even if you don’t feel it, pretend and it will come.  Treating people with respect, caring about where people are, and being conscious of this and setting our pricing within that range will keep people coming back for more of whatever you are offering.

Communicating Your Needs to Your Web Designer

Posted in Business, Musings on December 14, 2010 by wolfwomyn

Communicating with a web designer can be the most difficult part of the hiring process because you and the web designer don’t speak the same language when talking about the details of a website. This article explains how to get your ideas across to the web designer you want to hire.

Ok, so you’ve decided to hire a professional web designer to build your website. You spent some time looking for the right person. Eventually you found the right web designer that you believe will design the most “remarkable”, “extraordinary” website the internet community has yet seen.

So now what? Explaining to the web designer the layout design you have in your mind can be a very frustrating process. You will find that putting the “picture” in your mind into words can be a difficult task. Actually in most cases this is the biggest hurdle between you and the final outcome. No matter how talented the web designer is, if you can not communicate with him properly, in his own professional language, he will not be able to use his talent to achieve your design.

There are two possible situations you may face:

  • You know what content you want on the website but have no clue how to present it to the user.
  • You know what content you want on the website, and you have the layout in your mind, but you don’t know how to implement it.

In both cases you will need to explain your thoughts to the web designer. Although most people who read those lines are probably thinking that being in the second situation is better then being in the first situation. However, real life experience shows the opposite to be true. Giving a web designer the complete freedom of action regarding the web design based solely on the website content is usually a smart thing to do. You will find that explaining to the web designer what the nature of your website is, whether it’s a product that you want to sell or a hobby item, is much easier then trying to explain to him the temperate of the color schema or an undefined shape that you would like to have in the website header.

Actually for both of the situations, I would suggest you use the same approach, but with a minor modification to each situation. If you know of a website that has all the features you want or need and/or a site that looks the way you want your site to look, be sure to give the site’s url to the web designer. Doing so will give him some idea of want you want. You will both be looking at the same thing but will actually look at it from a different angle. Therefore, it may be better to give him more than one website as an example. The more websites you find that can express your feelings and/or needs, the easier it will be for web designers to understand your intention without you having to use a single “technical” term. Chances are that you won’t find a single website that has all of the feature you want. After all, if such a website already exists there would be no place for your new web site to be born. Use several websites to express the different features you want. Spend as much time as necessary until you find just the right websites to provide examples of your needs. Doing research at this stage will definitely save you a lot of time later trying to point the web designer in the right direction.

Although you are the one who needs to express your self to the web designer, you must learn to listen to him as well. When he uses technical terms, ask for their meaning. Do not finish any part of the conversation unless you are absolutely sure that both sides are on the same page. Remember that when a web designer speaks about the temperature of a color, he is not talking about the next day’s forecast.

Remember, you hired a professional web designer because you want a professional looking website and you couldn’t do it yourself. So, trust the web designer’s judgment when they tell you something you want won’t work or isn’t the best way to accomplish your goals. After all, you are paying them for their expertise. Don’t try to tell them how to do their job.

It is OK to require that a web designer gets your approval each step of the way so you can tell them if one of your goals isn’t being met. Also, if you really don’t like how something looks and want it changed, tell them immediately. Don’t wait until everything is done and then decide you don’t like it.

A final word about cost

You have agreed on what needs to be done and the web designer has given you a price quote. Simple modifications and bug fixes are usually included in the price. However, other major changes or outright revisions may or may not be included. Make sure the agreement states what is included, what constitutes a revision rather than a fix, and how many changes you can make after delivery without incurring additional costs.

Author: Warren Baker
http://articles.webdesigners123.com/communicating_needs_web_designer.php

How To Build Your Credibility As An Expert While Blogging

Posted in Business, Musings on December 9, 2010 by wolfwomyn

This is a guest post by Eduard Ezeanu. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
I don’t run ads on my blog; I don’t do a lot of affiliate marketing. The primary way of monetizing my blog is selling my own products and coaching services in the area of communication skills.

I’ve learned that when your strategy for making money with your blog is to sell something you have created or something you do, then your credibility as an expert is crucial.

People have to trust that you are a professional and that you can provide them something of real value before they decide to buy from you. The amount of traffic you get is not highly relevant if your readers don’t believe you are an expert in your field.

The good news is that there are specific ways of using your blog which reinforce your credibility as an expert. Being passionate about communication, I was eager to explore this topic and test various methods of building credibility as an expert through blogging.

Here are the methods that have worked best for me and I believe will visibly benefit any blogger:

1. Develop Your Expertise, Not Only Your Blog

I think many bloggers skip a step in their search for a source of income. They start blogging and growing their blogs, but they do little to actually be experts in the area they blog about. They revamp ideas they read in books or on other blogs, and then they wonder why readers won’t buy their products.

Up to a certain point, blogging in itself is a way to develop expertise, but I find it to be insufficient. If you want to become an expert, you need to also address this subject separately and use other ways to train yourself.
I worked with my first coaching clients for free and I also had another coach supervising me, before I started calling myself a coach and asking money for my services. Also, I only started blogging and promoting my services on my blog after I’ve already had significant experience as a coach. Putting expertise first did wonders for me and the quality of my blogging.

2. Go Against the Mainstream

In any area, there are ideas that are very popular yet any real expert knows to be wrong. This is why instead of reinforcing the same old ideas, many experts will oppose popular ideas in their blog posts and they’ll debunk them.

Do the same and you’ll develop credibility as an expert. Of course, in order for this strategy to be successful, you need to know what you’re talking about, to pick the right ideas to oppose and to back your claims with hard and smart evidence. Otherwise, you position yourself as a rebellious novice rather than a connoisseur.

3. Write with Depth

Almost anybody can write a blog and offer some general advice, much of which may be impractical or mundane. A real expert stands out because they can talk or write about a certain subject with a lot more depth and go into the fine details that make a piece of advice exceptionally valuable.

In my field, many bloggers write advice such as: “Just be confident”. This kind of advice is too superficial to actually help anyone. I write posts in which I decode the psychological process of acquiring confidence and describe it much more precisely. This is what makes me more believable.

4. Quote Scientific Research

Anybody can make claims on their blog. What separates experts from the rest is the fact they crave solid evidence and they put in the effort to keep in touch with the current scientific research in their area of expertise.
As a result, they often quote research to support their ideas or simply to discuss it, and they do so in a skillful way. One of the most important recommendations I can make is to practice reading and quoting scientific research, at least in some of your blog posts. The more you practice, the more apt you’ll become at using research.

5. Associate with Other Experts

Professionals in a certain field often tend to know each other and collaborate. Prove to your readers that you interact positively with recognized experts in your filed, that they appreciate you, and some of their authority will transmit to you.

There are many ways to do this: you can interact with experts using social media, you can guest post on their blogs, you can interview them for your own blog etc. While doing any of these, keep in mind that the main focus is on truly building trust-based relationships with experts, not on simulating them.

At the end of the day, the most important thing I’ve learning about building credibility as an expert is that it only works if it’s authentic. Expertise cannot be communicated with high impact by faking it. You can only do so if it is something you really have and you know how to tastefully reflect through your blogging.

source: Eduard Ezeanu blog

Got A Waffling Customer? Push Her Over The Edge!

Posted in Business, Musings on December 7, 2010 by wolfwomyn

“If you want to avoid being stuck with inventory or downtime during a recession,” advises Seth Godin in a post at his eponymous blog, “you might profit from realizing that people [now] tell themselves a different story when they go to buy something.” Two years ago, your customers might have said: “My time is really valuable, [so] it’s okay if this is a little more expensive than the store down the street.”

These days, however, they willing to wait until the story they tell is, “I got a steal!” It would be a mistake, argues Godin, to respond by cutting prices across the board. Customers will likely interpret this not as a good deal, but as a sign that your company is in trouble; further, it reduces revenue from clients who didn’t expect—or even want—a discount in the first place. Instead, Godin proposes giving every member of your staff the authority to knock 10 percent off the price of a product if a customer asks for a break or hesitates to close the sale.

“For retailers or personal selling situations,” he says, “you can give your staff a pile of ‘manager’s coupons’ that they can just whip out … peel one off and quietly hand it to the waffling customer.”

Godin concedes that no one wants to employ a strategy like this. “But it might be something you have to do,” he says. The alternative is “shoppers who walk out of the store and leave you with nothing.”

Source: Seth Godin’s Blog.

Happy Holidays/Happy customers

Posted in Business, Musings on November 18, 2010 by wolfwomyn

Another year has flown by so fast that I don’t know that I’ve seen it all happen.  With the economy the way it is businesses, mine included, are challenged to meet all of expenses.  But things have started looking better, slowly.  One thing to remember, attitude is everything.

Although we are all stretched, it is important to remember to have a positive attitude when dealing with our clients.  They are, after all, what we are here for.   I read an article the other day about smiling when you are talking on the phone.  Even though the person can’t see you, when you smile it does change the energetics of your speech.  It is hard to be a grumpy talker when smiling.

I’ve been trying it out and it really works.   To the point that I am actually having a much better time, especially on those calls when you are dealing with someone that is stressed, and at times we even have fun.   So give it a try.  Smile when talking to your clients/customers.  A little bit goes a long way.

Cold Calls

Posted in Musings on July 17, 2009 by wolfwomyn

The past couple of weeks I’ve been making cold calls from a list of businesses in my area.  I’ve been finding it challenging.

It’s interesting when you start actually working your own business.  There is a very big difference between working for yourself and working for someone else.  When you are working for others there is a sense that they are responsible, you are simply a representative of their company.  Rather, when you are working for yourself you are putting yourself out, there isn’t anyone else behind you.

It can be very empowering, and yet intimidating at the same time.  Belief in self is an important part of working your own business.  If you are serious about having your own business, the self-doubt needs to be put aside.  Reality is we wouldn’t be out here doing this if somewhere inside we knew that we could.  So . . . . stand up, be tall, speak confidently, and believe that you can.  Because you Can!!