Category Archives: My Experiences

If you think you are right, maybe you are

GW-DalaiLama-purposeI attended a really great workshop recently that helped me to hone my values, purpose, mission and goals a bit more. I don’t feel that these things are a “set it and forget it” type of activity. Just like the airplane that must constantly be reassessing its direction to get from point A to point B, we must also see if we are heading in the direction we want. So many things happen to us each day, we learn new things, we acquire new insights from people we meet and we gain new perspectives from the world around us. So of course its necessary to reassess our direction. What would be the sense of even trying to learn new things if we didn’t want to apply them?

Back to the workshop, I shared my purpose with the group and the facilitator. If you don’t know anything about me let me share this, it can be a bit difficult for me to speak up in a group and become instantly vulnerable. One more thing about me, I am a high C on the DISC Assessment which means I have to be pretty sure of my answer before I send it out there, unlike some other people who can share unfinished thoughts with the world and ask for feedback. One more background note, this is a business goal setting workshop. So the purpose should be aimed at my business.

My purpose was this:

To help women entrepreneurs achieve their dreams while providing a fantastic childhood for my two sons.

He liked the first part, but suggested that maybe the second half was just my job as a parent. I thought this was funny, because he also said, our purpose should be what gets us up in the morning, and something we would defend at all costs.

I politely took his advice, but deep down I was not done with this line of thinking. I know that one of the major reasons I started my own business, which let me tell you isn’t the easiest path, was so I could be here for my children when they needed me, but also when they don’t think they do. I always make my choices based on what is best for my family, not always what will make me the most money. My business has had to live with my family commitments, my family has not had to put up with my business needs.

I was glad that the facilitator challenged me, because it made me commit even further to this value and reassess if I was truly walking the talk. I was proud to say that yes, I am. I have volunteered for every in school event that has come up. My kids know that I think school is important and I am a part of if whenever I can be. I have not sent my kids to school sick so that I could work, and I completely sympathize with the parents who have to do this. Am I the perfect parent? NO WAY!! But I am happy with the parent I am and that I continue to become.

So back to the workshop, in the eyes of men (the facilitator was a man and there were many more men in the group) being a good parent is just part of their job. For a women, that may be a HUGE part of why they do what they do. So, I have not changed my purpose, I feel it is right. Anyone else care to challenge me?

The Top 3%

I had an epiphany this morning. On the back of my business cards I have a message printed that reads “97% of American’s don’t write out their goals… Join the 3% of people who are achieving GREATNESS!” and I include 3 lines for people to write out their goals. Well, yesterday I attended the MA Conference For Women like I do every year.

2014-12-04 08.34.39-2This year I had a booth and it was not in the best place, it was very hidden, but I was a late entry and I accepted that. I was positioned at one of the two entrances of the grand ballroom where breakfast and lunch was served and the keynote speakers presented. Seemed like a great location at first… but I noticed as the sessions let out that no one was interested in the booth right outside the door, they were checking their phones for any missed messages or chatting with their colleagues about the speakers. As they all rushed off to the next session I watched them. 10,000 women from all walks of life. Each with their own priorities, missions and life styles. The majority of them had jobs, many with the huge companies that support the conference through sponsorships. The security of having a job with a large company was enough for most of them. For some it was not, many I talked with felt there was something else for them but they couldn’t put a finger on it.

This morning I was planning my day, something Brian Tracy said I should have done last night, but better late than never. I looked at the list of my fellow exhibitors. There were probably 400 or so, I would say less than half were solopreneurs like myself. There were about 100 speakers.

I went into my kitchen and noticed my 1st grader had left his homework on the table. The homework that was due today and that he had worked hard to complete. I didn’t have a second thought, I put on my coat and drove to the school to drop it off. One of the reasons I wanted to start my own business was for this reason, to put my kids first.

While I was in my car on the way back from school, I started thinking about the 300 women out of 10,000 who were in action yesterday, really putting themselves out there. I was one of them. I was one of the 3%. See what setting goals can do?

Stepping out of the comfort zone, the story of my pressure cooker

learning curve pressure cookerI bought a pressure cooker about 7 years ago, against my mother’s advice. She tried to convince me that I was too busy to can vegetables and didn’t need one. I always maintained that she was worried I would blow up my house. So of course I went ahead and after opening the box and reading the instructions learned I couldn’t use it on my glass top stove. Instead of returning it, I put it back into the box and stored it. When we moved to our current house a couple years ago I took it out of the box and put it in one of my kitchen cabinets, but have yet to find time for a garden, hence no need to can vegetables. Long story, short, today I was compelled to pull out the scary pressure cooker and make a beef stew. I had planned on making a beef stew for dinner, but forgot to put it in the crock pot earlier in the day. When I got home from visiting my mother (hmmmm, seeing the connection?) I did not have the 3 hours I needed to make a proper beef stew on the stove. So, I got up the courage to first find the pressure cooker, then search the web for instructions, which is quicker than trying to locate the instruction manual in my house.

I quickly read the instructions jumping from safety precautions to beef stew recipe and back and forth and jumped in. I cannot remember the last time I was so stressed out! I turned on the stove and stood about 10 feet away from it all tensed up, looking for steam escaping, rereading the instructions and FAQs. I called my mother and father while it was “jiggling” away and my father told me there was no way it would “blow up”. So I relaxed a bit. After 15 minutes I cooled it down, opened it and added the veggies. This time when I turned it back on I was like an old pro. I only stood back 5 feet but actually took my eyes off it after the first minute.

When my stew was done the meat was so tender and the vegetables perfect, the broth was a bit lacking in flavor though. I have found a new way to cook meals faster and more energy efficiently and it only took me 7 years to get up the nerve to try it. I couldn’t help but relate this to learning new things in business or stepping out of my comfort zone to speak with people I don’t know yet. Once I do something for the first time, I wonder why it took me so long to do it. So from now on, let’s stop letting fear keep us from advancing. Let’s take our rightful place among the brave and start stretching our comfort zone!

Multi-tasking Linked to Less Grey Matter; Another Case of the Chicken and the Egg

multi-tasking linked to grey matter densityNot sure if you saw this, but a study was released in September of this year and it reveals that people who multi-task have lower grey-matter density in one particular part of the brain compared to those who do not. In this study they are referring to multi-tasking as using several media devices at the same time. 75 adults answered a questionnaire regarding their use and consumption of media devices, including mobile phones, computers, television and print media. The results of the study could not determine if multi-tasking caused this condition or if people with lower grey-matter density tend to multi-task.

Hmmm, lots of people multi-task but not all of them are good at it. My husband goes from one activity to the next all day long, but does each one of them separately. Personally, I can’t operate without doing more than one thing at a time. I am not saying this is a good thing, but I don’t think any particular thing caused this except perhaps starting an business 3 months after having my second son. I am leaning towards the hypothesis that people with less dense grey matter need to multi-task. Perhaps because they try to take on more than they should. Maybe people with denser grey matter are better with their time.

Not multi-tasking or “living in the present” is a skill. Practicing this skill leads to better performance, deeper appreciation for everything happening in your life and less stress. I have recently come to the realization that if I cannot focus on only one thing at a time, then I NEED to realistically take a look at how much I have taken on and scale back. No one can do their best at anything if they are not fully engaged in that task. They may get more done, but not done exceptionally. I would rather do less and do it well than do a bunch of things half-way.

Here’s to building my grey matter… or being more efficient with what I have.

What do you do when you reach a goal?

IMG_0346I learned an important lesson this week so I thought I would share it. I have a few goals in different areas of my life. One goal I had for last month was to “run” my 1st 5k. I trained for it quite aggressively and was able to run between 10-11 minutes a mile by race day. I set a goal of running the race in 32 minutes. I was thrilled when I came in at 30:11, blowing away my goal! That was Saturday. Today is Friday and I haven’t worked out once this week. I actually ate more than I usually do and I have been feeling pretty down. It hasn’t helped that it has rained all week.

It occurred to me today that my downfall was that I didn’t have another goal ready to go once I completed the race. I think I am also feeling a bit of “goal hangover” if there is such a thing. My mind is telling me that I should just enjoy that I reached my goal. There is some truth to that, but I don’t believe that going backwards will help me in the long run.

So, I have signed up for another 5k and have set a higher goal! As I get closer to race day, I will be careful to have another goal ready to go!