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Accentuating the Positive By Monique Dav August 10, 2011

Filed under: Personal Development — anewgroup @ 12:05 PM

Accentuating the Positive

By Monique Davis
They say that “into every life a little rain must fall.” Does it feel like the rainy season where you are? Sometimes it seems that we get an unfair share of bad stuff happening to us at work, at home, and just in general. For example, in the couple of weeks, the following things have happened to me:
1. I went to the dentist twice and had to pay almost $2,000 to get 6 crowns done. Needless to say, my whole face still hurts.
2. Some jerk backed into my car in a parking lot and did not leave a note taking responsibility. It’s going to cost me my huge stupid deductible on my car insurance first to fix it before my insurance will pay a cent, and the body shop has to have my car for a week to fix it and do all the painting. Nice.
3. My laboratory director quit unexpectedly, giving me virtually no notice to replace her. This will stop 4 ongoing funded projects in their tracks. Great.
4. As part of my current job, I deal with the “bad actors” in my organization, and this week has been full of yelling, emails in capital red letters, and tooth-gritting on my part. Sigh.
At times like this, it’s easy to have a pity party and feel pretty down. Admittedly, I’ve had a rotten week. However, as in the past when I’ve had a crappy day, week, month, or year, for that matter, I’ve made the choice to focus on creating positivity and letting the bad stuff go. I know this sounds trite, but it works. If I concentrated on how much my jaws hurt or what a schmuck the person who hit me is or how unappreciated I feel at work, I’d curl up in a little ball in the corner and just cry; I’d be beaten, and that is not something that is part of my self-concept. So, trite or not, here’s how I’m regrouping and getting ready for whatever, good, bad, and ugly, next week and the weeks after that may bring:
1. Take control over what you can: So I could not control that my car got hit, or how others at my job behave, but I can control how I respond to such things. The power of being a smart, independent, strong person is that we have choices. I made the choice to let my anger go about the car, and to accept that job right now is not what I’d hoped it would be, but that I can still do a good job and support my boss, because that *is* my job.
2. Make the changes, and make them stick: So I’m sick of being the whipping boy (girl?) for all the disgruntled staff in my organization, but part of my job is to help resolve such issues. I’ve chosen, however, to actively and completely ignore any emotional aspect of people’s phone calls, emails, or letters, and work to extract the issue or problem at hand. Then, when I respond, I only address the problem, not their feelings or mine. Don’t get me wrong- it still amazes me how people in the workplace can act out and how they are encouraged to do so by people in higher positions than mine by being rewarded for tantrums, but my job is to help problem-solve, not be a therapist or a punching bag. This is a change that protects me and also, frankly, helps me be more effective in solving the real problems that come my way.
3. Create good: After a crummy week, my husband and I were able to leave the kids with my parents for a night and come up to our family’s cabin. It’s not a fancy place, but it’s away from the week, and it is wonderful to physically leave the city behind, if only for a day. I’ve also prioritized my own self-care, and have made sure I take time to exercise, even if it’s just a nice long walk, everyday. I also spent some extra time this week working with a non-profit I’m part of, Smart-Girl, Inc., which was a great way to connect with a group of colleagues who do appreciate what I bring to the table and are partners in a cause we all care about.

I guess the take-home message is that when things are not going as you hope they will, that the best strategy is to step back and see what you can change. Of course you cannot walk away from your job or tell people where…

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The Importance of Honoring Your Feelings August 3, 2011

Filed under: Personal Development — anewgroup @ 11:05 AM

The Importance of Honoring Your Feelings- Even the “Bad” Ones…. By: Monique Davis
So I was driving to work this week and I stopped at a light. As I looked around me I noticed a man in the car next to me crying. He was alone in his car, clearly talking to himself about something that was really upsetting. As I watched, he seemed to give himself a pep talk, dry his tears, pull himself together and look ahead at the road as the light changed to green. Although my watching him was a little voyeuristic, it did not seem so bad because I know others have watched me do the same thing from time to time. Maybe you’ve done it yourself- the car is a protected space in many ways, frequently the only bit of time we have alone all day. It can be a great decompression zone after work, after stress, when you’re sad, or when you’re thinking through a tough problem. For me and my companion at the light, drive time is a safe space for dealing with feelings without impacting others with our expressions of emotion. The important point here is not that it’s a great idea to cry in the car, but that it is important to create opportunities for yourself to process and deal with emotions when they come up. This not only helps you be emotionally healthier and to relieve stress, but it can help you manage conflict as well.
This may seem contrary, as we are often taught not to cry or show emotion and to just “gut it out”, but in reality, we all have feelings, and if we do not find a way to process them, they can get internalized and come back to bit us. What do I mean by that? Well, first, research shows that people who tend to suppress feelings and not show emotion may be more prone to stress-related illnesses. Also, I suspect most of us have had the experience that if you’re upset with someone and you try not to bring it up because you know it will produce conflict, that sooner or later, maybe even months or years later, that frustration and upset, all that emotion, will explode into a bigger conflagration that totally could have been avoided if the emotion, the feeling of being upset, had just been dealt with at the time it happened.
What happens in the case above is that an initial substantive disagreement grows into an emotional mess by being allowed to fester for a long time, and by the time it comes up, the original point is virtually obscured by the pent up emotion. By allowing yourself to process feelings when they come up, to see need to deal with. For example, if I have an argument with my spouse before work and I find myself really angry and upset, the best thing to do for me is to remove myself from the situation, process my anger (usually with a good cry), calm down, and think through whether or not there was really anything in the argument that we need to resolve of if we were just being cranky (yes, it even happens to life coaches). What I’ve found is that once I let my immediate emotional response dissipate after a cry or a little private “scream therapy” or a good round of kickboxing, I can see more clearly if there is a real conflict we need to resolve through “not a fight”, and then we can work on that rationally.
The key is to allow yourself to process the feelings and emotions freely so you can understand what your emotions are, process them, and then look at what’s left. It’s funny- there are folks who are “criers” for whom emotions are processed by having a good cry , often pretty short but intense, and then most emotions can be moved through (that’s me- a cry is my favorite way of dealing with being frustrated, mad, scared, etc.). For others, it’s going for a run, taking a hot bath, going for a long walk with the dogs, or taking a drive, provided you’re not too upset to do that. Whatever works for you, take the time to process your feelings- the thing about feelings is that they change, and as bad as they can be, over time, sometimes a long time in the case of grief and loss, they do dissipate and the view becomes clearer…

 

Sometimes It Pays to Just “Go Away” I’v July 26, 2011

Filed under: Personal Development — anewgroup @ 10:00 PM

Sometimes It Pays to Just “Go Away”

I’ve been traveling a lot more than usual this year — to conferences, business related trips, scouting locations for my next workshop, a whole myriad of things.
And just last week I was in Virginia for a leadership workshop when I realized that I hadn’t finished a project that’s been on my list for longer than necessary. I came home, ready to get the project done. I’d set aside the time, got fresh flowers for my desk and went through my routine to get “in the zone”.
5 minutes, 10, 30, and hour…zone never achieved.
So rather than work on other projects when I really wanted to get this one done, I called a girlfriend, booked a flight and will flying to visit a friend of mine in Baltimore, MD — knowing the above project will be done and I will have plenty of time catching up with her.
As much as I adore my home and my office, sometimes it pays to just “go away”.
Take a few minutes to recognize what might be holding you back and whether a brief change of scenery may be just the thing you need.

 

Keeping Clients in a Down Economy: Is Gi July 20, 2011

Filed under: Personal Development — anewgroup @ 6:00 AM

Keeping Clients in a Down Economy: Is Giving or Taking Better for Your Bottom Line?

Times are tough. There’s no doubt about it.
Quite simply, in an economy where most business owners are scaling back and taking things away from their programs, and therefore their clients, we are adding goodies and little perks.
Rather than spend more time, energy and money to recruit new clients, we are showing current clients how much we value them by going above and beyond, thus creating raving fans who are telling others and then those others are coming to me.
Is every person we speak with hiring us?
Of course not, when it’s a good fit and a win/win for us both, we get together. When not, we had a great conversation and now know more about each other (a new connection is always a good thing!).
Here are a few examples of what we do which may inspire you with your clients and leads:
• Send a welcome gift to new clients
• Send a different welcome gift to new private clients
• Send a handwritten card to new clients and those I have a strategy session with
• Send items via snail mail and yes, incur the ongoing fulfillment cost, if we think it adds to the program and increases the client’s experience
• Send flowers or other appropriate gifts to clients who have a breakthrough or realize a great success
You see, it isn’t about how much revenue you can bring in — it IS about how the client feels when doing business with you.
Our Request To You:
Walk away from your desk, think of a client and ask yourself the following questions.
• Does she feel valued?
• Does she feel your work together far outweighs the investment?
• And, even when it’s time to move on from the relationship, does she know that she’s welcome back and valued for your time together?
Do this for several clients.
If you’re unsure in any way about how your clients would answer the above 3 questions, it’s time to either ask or amp up the quality of your client experience.
After all, without clients you don’t have a business. . .and attracting clients is only the first step.

 

Marketing Your Business — The Line Betwe July 13, 2011

Filed under: Personal Development — anewgroup @ 12:10 PM

Marketing Your Business — The Line Between Effective and Annoying

In marketing your business, there’s a line *out there* between what’s effective for your ideal clients and what’s just plain annoying.
That line is different for every one of your ideal clients and for every business owner (even in the same industry).
We recently heard a very successful business owner say “These days you have to market your heart out and I’m going to hammer my list with. . .” and the name of the latest program.
While we agree that you do need to market your business, and do so effectively, we completely disagree with “hammering” people, even knowing the business owner above meant it in the sense of sending tons of promotional emails.
There is a point where your marketing becomes annoying and not worth the benefit your readers otherwise receive.
So how do you know when you’re getting close?
• Are you seeing more “unsubscribes” than usual?
• Are clients leaving your membership programs — while this absolutely relates to the quality of the program and your relationship with members, it also relates to your client’s overall perception of how you do business. I’ve left good programs simply because I didn’t like the way someone marketed their business.
• Are you out of integrity somewhere with what you say versus what you do — are you walking your talk?
These are all signs that you’re getting close to “that” line.
Keep in mind however, that as long as you’re providing valuable content in your communications with your readers — ezine articles, blog posts, tips and strategies or resources they can use in their business, etc. — the “price” of all that f.r.e.e. information is that you will also share info about your programs, products and services.
It essentially comes down to two things:
• you CONSISTENTLY providing ENOUGH valuable content so that even if your latest product or service isn’t right for your reader, they stay on because another product or service may be just what they’re looking for and
• you remember the adage “Do unto others. . .” when it comes to how much promotion you’re sending out.
Make It Real: Our Request to You
We mention above that there’s a point where promotion exceeds other benefits to your readers — it’s important to remember that this point is:
• defined by your readers, not you and
• different for everyone
Your responsibility is to decide what’s appropriate for you, in your business and then “live up” to that responsibility.
One way to promote your products, programs and services without overwhelming your readers is to mix up the media. Include some:
• email promotions
• blog posts
• video and audio snippets
• direct mail
• fax and voice broadcasts (be sure you’re in compliance with the law)
By mixing up the media, you have a great chance of getting through all the *noise* out there without overwhelming or annoying your ideal clients.
And the best part?
Once you create a plan, dare we say it. . .a SYSTEM, for the above, you simply have to follow the steps for each promotion.
Remember, this is about making and keeping it simple. . .

 

Boundaries, Convenience & Perception in July 6, 2011

Filed under: Personal Development — anewgroup @ 8:10 AM

Boundaries, Convenience & Perception in Your Business

So many coaches talk about “boundaries” and “holding your boundaries” with clients, team members, etc. in order to create the business/life of your dreams.
In fact, I remember a former business advisor who often said I needed stronger boundaries or else my clients wouldn’t value me and what I had to offer.
Boundaries, to that advisor, existed, in part, to create a certain perception of when and how much one works in their business.
So what exactly are boundaries?
We view boundaries as doing business on my terms:
• The hours we work — after all, not being an employee means you don’t have to be in the office from 9am – 5pm and gives you the flexibility to schedule clients around times which work for you both.
• The clients we work with — accepting the fact that not everyone is a good match for your business is one of the most freeing things you can do for yourself and your business.
• Protecting ourselves from all the hype and BS which permeates online businesses and ticks me off whenever we see it — you know it when you see it and my best advice is to unsubscribe and move on.
• And, speaking/living our truth which includes providing extreme client care in everything we do — no matter what, be true to who you are. . .those who resonate will join you.
If it’s convenient for us to check emails or respond to calls at 11pm on a Saturday night, that’s when we’ll do it — we don’t post-date my emails so the client won’t see them until 9am Monday morning, thus creating an illusion of when we work.
It’s about convenience and providing excellent client care rather than perception.
Our Request To You:
We’re all busy. . .in our businesses and in our lives. Create boundaries which support your desired business and lifestyle. What are your “non-negotiables” or boundaries for your business?
Remember that strong boundaries — as defined by you — create a strong business.

 

Does your subconscious know something yo June 29, 2011

Filed under: Personal Development — anewgroup @ 8:00 AM

Does your subconscious know something you don’t?

Consistency matters.
If you’ve been reading my stuff for any length of time, you know we often say:
“Ordinary things, done consistently, create extraordinary AND consistent, results.”
And I’m often referring to consistent action with your marketing, finances and business building activities. But there are other types of consistency, ones not related to specific actions:
* Are your ideal lifestyle goals and ideal business goals consistent? Or do you want to travel a lot, work 10-hour weeks and have 10 private clients, a group coaching program and a continuity program as you regularly create passive revenue products?
* Are you consistent in the language/style you use with your ideal clients? Or are you fun and playful in one email and super serious in another? If your article was published alongside 2 others (without author names), would your ideal clients know which was yours?
* Are your programs, products and services consistent with your brand? Or are you offering “anything and everything” you think they may invest in?
* Are you consistent in your business goals and offers? Or do you plan for high end programs and continuously offer “under $200″ packages?
* Are you consistent, and specific, with your ideal client definition? Or does it change with the wind?
Our subconscious mind KNOWS when we’re being inconsistent, even if we don’t fully see it. And that inconsistency is reflected in our business and revenue.
Our Request To You. . .
• Look at your business, really look, and ask “Where am I/is the business inconsistent?”
• Take action on what you discover.
Thoughts you’d like to share? Comments? We would love to hear from you below.