Are You Following the Winds of Fortune?

MoneyWindMillLast Sunday I stood on a bluff in Santa Monica overlooking the ocean.  A dozen sailboats spread across the horizon, enjoying a beautiful Southern California day.

Although it’s been years since I sailed, it’s something you don’t forget.  Each sailing trip is unique.  One time I floated along, almost dozing, as the boat lapped through the water.  Another trip, I negotiated 20 foot waves for hours to keep the boat upright.  Even when you check the weather in advance there are no guarantees for smooth sailing.

Life is like that too.  Unpredictable.   Buffeted by the changing winds of circumstance, we are all captains of our own ship.  I offer a few things I have learned from sailing as ways to cross your own outrageous sea.

You set the course, no matter which way the wind blows.  Sailing is an art – feeling the pulse of the wind, setting the sails to capture the gusts and move the boat forward.  It is your determination and direction that takes you forward.  The very force of the wind against you drives you to your goal.  Navigating  your business plan may be no less challenging.  Successful people feel the pull of their heart and the whispers of intuition.

You set your own course.

It’s rare that you move in a straight line.  Be willing to change course frequently.  Life is just like that – port and then starboard, and back again.   Keep a taut sail, but be willing to change direction.  Be aware of the horizon and your goals at all times.  Otherwise the changing winds and tides can confuse you.

Expect change and adjust.

Be careful of the lull.  As you tack from one side to another there is a momentary place where the sails flap, noisy and seemingly out of control.  It can be a frightening moment of indecision and doubt.  In that moment you decide the next turn.  It may be the moment you decide whether to leave a marriage, or start a new business, or move to a new community. There is no right answer.

The only danger is stopping in the middle.  You must move forward and fill your sails.  The lull of self-doubt is natural.  Welcome it as a sign that you are changing.  Welcome it as the progress that it truly demonstrates.  And move on.

Self-doubt happens when you are changing, keep moving.

If you persist you’ll get there.  The timing isn’t up to you.  Winds and waves have their own rhythm.  You can steer and set the sails.  Then be patient and enjoy the ride.   Keep your eye on the compass and move toward your goal.

You will reach your goals, at exactly the right time for you.

When the wind is pushing you forward, enjoy.  Then, to sail beyond your wildest imagination – make the extra effort to put up your spinnaker.

When you have been grinding hard to move upwind, it is natural to take it easy and relax when the wind is behind you.  It takes a little extra effort to pull out the spinnaker.  Yet it you have ever seen a boat being pulled along by the half balloon at its bow, you can understand the sheer exuberance of a winner.  Take the extra step.

Celebrate at the top of your game, rejoice and dance through the waves, spinnaker flying.

Step back from the daily grind and feel the wind in your face.  Look up and keep your goals in sight.  You are the captain of your ship.  Glad to come aboard and share the journey!

Simple Communication Tips That Build Business

work-from-home

Whether you are in an office wearing a suit or at home in jeans and a sweatshirt, your communication needs to be polished to consistently close business.  Here are some successful business communication basics.

 

Studies show that words only convey 7% of meaning. Tonality provides 38% of our understanding and body language. 55%. Keep this in mind when writing e-mail.

  • Be short and factual in your communication. People are busy and long e-mails are less likely to be read.
  • Ask clearly for what you want. If you want an e-mail response or a phone call, be sure that you have stated that directly.
  • It is good to speak in conversational language, which is friendly and inviting. Yet, sarcasm or humor can be misunderstood without tonality. Reread your e-mail, out loud without expression, to ensure that it says what you meant.
  • If you use Outlook, you can request a return receipt, which will advise you when your e-mail has been opened. This can be helpful for important notifications and avoids the need to ask for an acknowledgment.

Gold Calling

 

There is money in your telephone. You have the opportunity to make new relationships every time you pick up the phone. While e-mails are fine for communicating facts, they can never substitute or one to one communication.

Prepare Your Self

 

Prepare yourself before you make phone calls. Your mood and attitude will be communicated in your voice. Imagine you are going to a party with your best friends. You walk in with a big smile, feeling great, and expecting a good time. When you make calls with this attitude, people will be more receptive.

When you are not the right mood, do something to lighten up. Put on music and dance. Read or listen to an inspirational message. Place pictures of your dream home or travel or loved ones in your workspace. Be willing to be silly. Could you smile, if you wore a red clown’s nose while making calls? Working at home means you have more options than in an office.

Phone Finesse

 

Develop the fine art of phone courtesy and listening.

  • Ask whether your client has enough time for your call. If they say no, reschedule and call another time.
  • Listen for cues in their voice. If they speak fast match their speed. If they speak slowly then slow down to their pace. Increase or reduce your volume to match theirs.
  • Notice whether they like to be social, or simply want to get the task done.

· If they are fast-paced and task oriented. They will appreciate your getting right to the point. Don’t waste their time. Tell them what you need and ask for a decision. They will appreciate your no-nonsense approach.

· If they are fast-paced and social, be prepared to name drop. They will want to know who else uses your product. They will be interested in meetings were lots of other people are present.

· If they are slower paced and very friendly. They may want to take their time in making a decision. You can help them make a decision more quickly if you tell them all the ways that you minimize their risk. They will want to know about guarantees and proven results.

· Someone who is slower paced and is detail oriented, may want lots of facts. They may want ingredients and proof of results as well as certifications, comparisons, and documentation. They are likely to ask questions for which you not have the answer. Be honest at all times. If a question doesn’t make sense, feel free to ask, “ Why is that important to you?”

Every phone conversation is an opportunity to improve your skills. Some people you call will be a delight, others may be downright rude. Keep it light! If you look at it as a game, it can be far more enjoyable.

Face-To-Face Meetings

 

If you are new to working at home. It is easy to fall into the “Howard Hughes Syndrome”. Suddenly you find that because you CAN work in your pajamas, you haven’t been out of them for two weeks.

The strongest relationships are made in face to face meetings. It is very acceptable to meet people in coffee shops and over meals. Find time to meet with people in some of the following ways:

  • Networking Meetings.
  • Chamber Of Commerce meetings.
  • Special interest events. (Check out meetup.com for a list of special events near you).
  • Closing contracts.
  • Delivering products.
  • Training.

Celebrate the opportunity to work from home. You have the flexibility to control your destiny.

Are You Too Smart For Your Business Success?

businessWoman-main_FullIs business success a learnable skill?  Do you know how to grow you small business into a more profitable larger business?  How do you know?  Have you done it before?

The truth is that YOU can follow the lead of others and create a very successful business.  It is also true that YOU are the biggest obstacle to your business success.  How is that possible?

If you want to cease being a roadblock and begin being a bridge on the road to success, you need to be open to possibilities that you have not considered before.  Even if you have read success stories, created your plans and built a business, you will never grow beyond the limits of your own expectations.  Whatever you currently believe defines our limits.

I have several mentors who declare that the most dangerous words in the English language are, “I know that!” The reason these words are so dangerous is simple. Success principles are not new. Success follows repeatable patterns, and you can learn from others. This means that those who act upon proven principles can also be successful.

However, there are many more people who HEARD the principles or READ the principles and yet they are not successful. Why? Success requires action and correction. Hearing or reading principles is not the same as LIVING them. Successful people do what it takes, accept the resulting feedback, correct their course and act again.

You do not KNOW a success principle unless are living it daily. If you do not have the business success you want, then it is obvious that you do not KNOW the principles you need.

The good news is that with an open mind and heart, and a willing mentor, you CAN LEARN to do what it takes to achieve your personal goals.  Start by eliminating the words, “I know that!” from your vocabulary.  My friend, Alex Mandossian says it best, “It’s what you learn AFTER you know it all that counts most!”

Find the Gold in Gab – Business Communications that Count

Friendly ConsultationPeople do business with people they like.  Yet business is more than a popularity contest.  It is an opportunity to create human connection that generates creativity and growth.  Here are some simple basics!

1. Listen to other people. The most successful people let others talk more than they do.

– Use questions to expand the conversation beyond small talk.

– Ask probing questions to elicit a person’s dreams and passions.

– Uncover ways that you can contribute to others and take action immediately.

2. Compliment others often. Everyone likes to know they’re doing a good job. Be sure to be specific when offering words of encouragement.

– People like to be acknowledged in different ways. Pay attention to each person’s personality style and preferences

o Fast-paced and directed individuals like to be complimented for “taking control” and “achieving results”

o Chatty and personable people enjoy compliments about the “fun and enthusiasm” which they contribute.

o Individuals who look for group consensus and include everyone like to be told that they “create stability” and “help keep everyone on track”

o People that often check details and rules will beam when you tell them that they “maintain high quality standards” and that you appreciate their “attention to detail”.

3. Make a personal connection. Try to stray from using e-mail as a primary form of communication. It will give you a chance to stretch your legs and make a personal impact.

– Your talents, enthusiasm and passion are best communicated in person. Words are only 7% of communication. Communicate facts on paper and in email. To influence and persuade others, meet them in person.

– Personal connections provide feedback for your own growth. Notice when others take your leadership and when they resist. Observe your comfort level.

– Ask others for direct feedback when appropriate so that you can improve your communication!

Communication is more art than skill. To be great at it you have to pay attention and practice. The good news is that every conversation is a source of feedback. We are all human. Forgiving mistakes and showing gratitude and appreciation flow smoothly.

The Truth About Your To-Do List

overwhelmedDo you feel guilty as you drown in the daily details? Too much to do. Too many people wanting your time and energy. Being pulled in multiple directions. And wondering if there will ever be time to do what you want. Time management? It seems an impossible goal.

You try to set priorities, but they never seem to stick. Your to-do list grows by the day, but so few things ever get crossed off. Books go unread. Movies remain unwatched. Your computer’s in box overflows with unread email. And those friends you keep wanting to reconnect with? Forget about it.

You feel overwhelmed. You want to change. But where do you start?

I have news for you. No matter what you do, you will always have more choices about where to put your time and focus than you have time available. You will NEVER complete your to-do list.

Think about that. You will never be DONE! Now ask yourself one simple question – and realize that the answer to this question will make all the difference in your life.

How does it make you feel to know you will never finish all the things on your list?

You could feel a variety of ways: Confused, depressed, and hopeless… or free, elated and renewed. If you don’t like how you feel, are you willing to explore further?

When I realized that I would NEVER complete my to-do list, I felt confused. I have been on this earth for quite a few years. I have definitely been here long enough to work out the issue of TIME – how to manage it, prioritize it, make it work for me. How is it possible that I can’t manage to complete my tasks and make my life simple?

Then I had a blinding flash of the obvious. Who put the items on the list? I did. Who made them important? I did. Are there other things NOT on my list? Of course. So why do I put more things on the list than I can do?

As I sat with that question, an image came to my mind: a beautiful “All You Can Eat” banquet filled with sumptuous treats. Crisp and creative salads, roast beef, salmon, sushi, lamb kabobs, asparagus, French green beans, sweet potatoes, chocolate mousse, berry tarts, lemon meringue pie, butterscotch pudding. And of course, champagne and fine wines. Most anything I can think of is on the buffet, just waiting for me to choose.

Clearly, I cannot eat it all. Even an attempt to taste everything would leave me feeling bloated and not enjoying the experience. Just finding a place to start would overwhelm me. I have a choice. Do I walk outside and look for a hot dog stand instead? Do I insist that someone remove all but a few choices in the banquet?

My deepest desire is to taste and enjoy it all, yet I will be miserable if I try this route. Then the answer became clear. I could feel it in my very soul and celebrate.

Your life is about enjoying the banquet. The abundance of spirit brings you more variety than you can ever taste so you can experience free will. Even bitter choices bring you new experiences. And you may then long for the one thing not on the table: simplicity.

It’s all up to you, babe! You get to find the simplicity within yourself. The world is abundant and full of choice. Will you stop for one moment to enjoy the vast abundance that creates your busy-ness? If you can stop now, you may find yourself smiling and giggling as I did. You are getting it! Be grateful. Simplicity isn’t out there, isn’t it?