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Monday, June 25, 2012

If you like the 70's

This morning the Toledo Eleven news tweeted, "If you liked the 70's, they are back. Not bell bottoms and disco, but milder temps."

What a welcome relief! Not because I dislike bell bottoms or disco (loved them back in the day!) but because I so enjoy the cooler, milder temperatures.

In milder temperatures I am less distracted, more focused, and of a calmer temperament. Creativity is more fluid in mild temperatures. Or at least it seems that way to me. On the DISC profile, I am an S. Of all the 4 communication styles an S represents the steady, peaceful temperament.

Knowing what works for us is important. Knowing how to respond when things don't work for us is just as important.

These past few weeks the needle has hovered in the 90's. That doesn't work for me. Yet because my partner and I live beside a quarry, we take regular swims at night. We stay in the water just long enough to drop our body temperature so at night we can sleep better. Of course, the added benefits of relief from the high temperatures, fun in the water and calm through the lake aren't bad either.

Fortunately we have learned how to respond when the temperature is excessive.

Today I am in my zone with what I like. I have a cat back on my lap as I write, I will be enjoying milder temperatures, I get to meet with a master mind group and also one of my long-standing and fun clients. And we're back in the 70's. These things work for me.

What works for you?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Get Regular Vision Checkups

Yesterday I took advantage of VSP's free eye exam and one pair of glasses. Without vision insurance, I pay for glasses when I can - which means I haven't gone back for a check up or new frames since 2005.

Getting this opportunity for complimentary treatment and frames meant a great deal.

It took time. Free comes at a cost. But since I have had some vision problems lately - computer strain and age take their toll - I knew it was to my advantage to set aside the 90 minutes needed.

But the immediate ROI was when each eye was corrected with the right lens. I had forgotten how good it feels to have strong lens in front of me. My eyes relaxed and my body did, in turn.

Corrective lens give us a state of completion.

Once the doctor determined my prescription on the machine in front of me, he flipped gadgets to reveal my old prescription and then to offer the new. Wow. Until we compare the old with the new, we loss sight of our limitations.

So is the case in our profession. We need regular vision checkups. We need insight and outside perspective from those around us. Just as I sat with the eyewear expert, deferring to her opinion on what frames fit me best, we professionals need defer to others for their unattached perspective.

Asking for others' views comes at a cost, as well. It takes vulnerability - willingness to trust others' judgement and willingness to ask for help. Once we do we get immediate relief.

How regularly do you get professional "vision" checkups? Do you seek feedback of your ideas? Do you brainstorm for the solutions of others? Do you verify the reality of your goals?

Is your check-up system based on what you're comfortable with, like it has been for me with my no-insurance system? If so, you may have lost sight of your limitations.

If so, I challenge you to do what it takes. It is worth the cost. Your vision limitations will be corrected. You will feel complete.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's All in Your Head

Think you're going to screw up in front of your next audience? If you do, it's because it's all in your head.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Power of Referral

Most small business owners and business developers understand the power of getting referrals of business. On the flip side, there is even more power in referring business to others.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Distractions I Can't Do Without

As her golden hairs all over my t-shirt will attest, my little Amber is quite the lapcat. It doesn't take her long to spot the laptop in my lap before she hovers on the back of my chair. Stealthily, she saunters into my lap, staying low in case I see her and tell her "no".

But in the morning I usually don't. I like the cuddle time with her even if I'm focused on getting online and into my blogging page. That purring bundle is a good little charge for me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Getting in the Flow #2

A few things are going really well right now. One is the environment I live and work in supports my creative and reflective abilities - Getting in the Flow #1 Another has to do with how I have been expressing my purpose and value.

That expression has altered both my professional attitude and results.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Getting in the Flow #1

This isn't going to be a "how to" post on what it takes to find that sweet spot we're after. Instead, I feel the need to reflect on the space I'm in. Especially as it applies to several things I have neglected until recently.

Today's post is addressing what has changed since my recent move. Tomorrow's post will address another neglected and now enjoyed piece of my life.

Those of you who know me well have heard me share my love of living downtown. The bustling activity, city that never sleeps (yea, not only New York can claim this!) and feeling of being in the middle of the action has a real pull.

And then a month ago we moved away from downtown to be on the water in a private quarry/lake community full of mature trees and out-of-the way bird and geese activity.

Wow! The activity of nature is amazing. From cardinals to herons to a vulture we spotted over the weekend, camped out about 300 yards from the view of our balcony before it flew away with something in its talons.

Not only our cats are enjoying this activity. Each morning the chorus of bird song pulls me awake and alert to what it's really like to be in the flow. An introvert, I appreciate connecting with nature and letting my mind find fluidity. When living downtown, I didn't have this ability. Now that I do, I see the difference in my state of mind.

Yesterday after a very productive day of presenting and networking, I took time to float in the quarry. I have an upcoming Effective Communication series the local bar association is sponsoring and need to flesh out the perameters of each CLE session. The predominant thought in my head was to ruminate over each while in the water.

I donned my swimsuit, grabbed my water noodle, and swam out into the central area of the quarry to let my thoughts go wild. It works! My thoughts shaped the design of each session, offered co-presenter possibilities, and then when I went to last night's networking event, I began sharing these thoughts and found even more ideas flowing from others.

Now I see that my mental focus and clarity is tied to my natural surroundings. I feel so in the flow! Can you relate?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Separate Rote Learning from Meaningful Delivery

Yesterday's post, Meaningful vs. Rote Delivery, opened the idea that speakers often act unenthused.

Where does this come from?

One of the places it comes from is our habits with memorization. Many speakers practice for familiarity/memorization of their message and fall into rote memorization and delivery patterns.

In school we were taught mathematics patterns through flashcards, scientific theories through rote memorization and delivery. Spelling bees were another case for quick responses, minus the emotional delivery.

We were rewarded when we got it right, encouraged to speed up with the next response.

Each of these cases encouraged us to memorize answers. Although through repetition and song we created long-term learning (our ABC's, for example) for most of us, the rote memorization was to help us past short term learning exercises.

Yet when it comes to influencing people, rote memorization falls short. Quick, unenthusiastic delivery creates little engagement from the jury and the court, or from those listening to a sales pitch or sitting in  a classroom.

If your expertise is invested in subjects that required rote memorization, adjust your patterns when you need to influence. Learn through quick repetitive measures, yet when speaking about the information, slow down and attach meaning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Meaningful vs. Rote Delivery

It's graduation season.

Recall the graduation ceremonies you have been to when you listened  to boring speakers. Because each ceremony easily has a dozen or more speakers at the podium, we really only have to consider the last ceremony we have attended that bored us.

It's because most speakers read their delivery AND/OR don't really care about what they are saying. Then someone stands up who cares, gives a meaningful delivery and that's when we pay attention.

Rote delivery is the speaking or memorizing of information when we care less about what we are saying. Either we aren't attached to the information, we are in a hurry or simply distracted. Rote delivery puts people to sleep, or at least sends listeners on a quick vacation.

Not so with meaningful delivery. When a speaker presents this way, they are enthused about what they have to say and who they are with.  They care.

Want people on a mental vacation when you are speaking? No? Then give them meaningful delivery. Audience members will nod, smile, get curious and really appreciate that you gave energy and enthusiasm to your message!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pull it Forward

On Fridays I enjoy having no appointments, especially as it helps me recall the mission of my work. See post titled Remember the Why. It's important for us entrepreneurs and introverts to recall our mission regularly and then pull it forward into our week.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Where Do You Draw the Lines?

My typical mode of operation includes no appointments on Friday. This allows me to stay diligent with administrative tasks of planning, preparation, scheduling and follow up with proposals, presentations or programs. So when it comes to scheduling meetings on Fridays, especially in the late afternoon, I draw the line.

Yet there are times I will bend it.

  • a client/prospect has an already scheduled group meeting that day they invite me to attend to seek counsel
  • my monthly business accountability meeting with my master mind group
  • an out of town appointment that can be tied to an out of town engagement with my band
We each need to know where we draw our lines because when we forget - or when we don't draw them - we get frustrated with ourselves. And this leads to losing the path.

Where do you draw the lines?

Define your boundaries and you define your operational values. Also define how/when you will bend them so you establish your flexibility muscle.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Can't speak up in time? Try this.

Consider the last time you were attending a meeting.

One of the agenda topics gets a few comments from other attendees, then a conclusion is reached and the facilitator moves on to the next topic. More comments are shared. Now you reach a point in your head that you wish you had expressed on the earlier topic. What do you do? For fear of looking like you waited too long to speak up, you say nothing.

If you are an introvert, like I am, this happens to you a lot. We introverts routinely think things through longer before we share our thoughts.

In meeting environments there isn't time for us introverts to think. Comments must be shared now so we can move on to the next point.

Save yourself the frustration with this one simple tip:

Get the meeting agenda ahead of time.

With the agenda in advance you can review the items to be discussed, give quality time to your experiences and/or understanding of them, consider the questions you have and the ideas you wish to share.

Meetings are times to demonstrate what we think. Don't give up this chance.

We introverts don't demonstrate much if we don't speak up. But if we have taken the time to think about the topics prior, we can get to the sharing point before the facilitator has moved on.

Want to speak up? Help yourself by giving yourself necessary time to think things through.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Remember the WHY

It's Friday, the most common day of the week to forget why we are in the business we are in. On a day like today it's often easier to remember what we are doing outside of the work day - through the weekend.

Yet for many of us, the anxiety of not following through with tasks outside our comfort zone that are crucial in our career leads us to search for distraction.

It is for this reason we must remember why we made the commitment to our profession in the first place. This gives us something to celebrate through the weekend and motivate our Monday energy.

Answer this question. What made you chose your profession?

Sure, the logical reason may have more to do with the pay and benefits. But what's the emotional reason? Why law? Why sales? Why research? Why serve the people?

The question is really asking - what's your story? Get to the heart of it. Then enjoy your weekend.