Ten Reasons Tomorrow Is Not Like Today

prepare-for-tomorrow-today

Owning or managing a small business is filled with challenges. There are constant daily issues dealing with employees and customers. Generally, these normal occurrences are short-term in duration and can be handled fairly quickly with some degree of efficiency. On the other hand, there are a number of challenges that are more complex and long-term. Owners must take time to thoroughly and thoughtfully analyze each challenge, so they do not become a detriment to business growth and profitability.

Business is constantly changing requiring owners to understand future situations before they actually occur. Operating a business tomorrow will not be the same as operating a business today.

Positive results require advance thinking and preparation. Review the following 10 business challenges and be prepared for the future.

1. Economy

Although business owners cannot control or change predicted growth or recession, economic factors will affect various business sectors in different ways. A positive cycle change for one sector of the economy might be a negative factor for another sector and vice versa. Be prepared to make critical changes necessitated by the economy.

2. Competition 

Competition can be good or bad for business. When a business offers superior quality, value, and service to its customers, it can outshine and beat the competition. Conversely, businesses that cannot satisfy customers lose out to their competitors. Know your competition and what they offer. Figure out how to beat the competition rather than just meet them in the marketplace.

3. Customers 

Customers change over time as their needs and wants change. Customer bases, also, change. Know your customers and how they are changing or might change in the future. Be the first to adapt to your customer base rather than lag behind the competition.

4. Vendors 

It’s easy for businesses to become complacent with vendors. The Internet now allows a business to research potential vendors, make contacts, and secure competitive quotes with amazing speed. Enhance your bottom line by doing the necessary due diligence in finding the best vendors for your business.

5. Financing 

You can’t wait until additional financing is needed to figure out where it’s going to come from. It will be too late if your business runs out of cash for operations, purchasing new equipment, or expansion. Investigate sources and lay the groundwork for additional financing before it is actually needed. Whether it’s debt financing or equity financing, advance preparation allows for the most beneficial terms.

6. Employees 

To have a highly productive workforce, businesses should estimate their needs for the future and how employees will be hired and trained. Employees make or break a business. Having the best-trained team of employees does not happen by accident or overnight. Don’t let this important decision slip through the cracks.

7. Marketing 

When you combine a changing marketplace, emerging new products and services, social media, and the Internet, marketing tomorrow will not be the same as today. Plan future marketing by reviewing your current strategy, testing what works best, and developing a future approach, so you’re ready to implement when the time is right.

8. Measuring Performance 

Rather than operating your business on a day-to-day basis hoping for the best, measure performance in different areas. This is the only way to really know what produces the best results. This is not strictly measuring revenue and net profit but can be expanded to quality, customer satisfaction, marketing, Internet traffic, phone call inquiries, etc. Large companies use big data constantly. Similar data analysis can be incorporated by small businesses to improve operations and profit.

9. Customer Service 

As competition increases in nearly all business sectors, customers demand more customer service. If one business cannot provide the level of service a customer wants, it is fairly easy to find an alternative source. Customer service will continue to be an important factor in the future for business success. Review the level of customer service your business provides and decide what changes are necessary for future business growth. Implement new policies and train employees to provide an increased level of customer service.

10. Reputation 

A business cannot afford to have a damaged reputation. It is simple to obtain online reviews for practically any business. Once bad reviews appear on the Internet, they don’t go away but customers do. Maintaining an excellent reputation can increase business while the opposite can destroy a business. Decide today how your reputation can be maintained tomorrow, how complaints will be handled, and how customers will be satisfied. Good reviews are a necessity in today’s business climate.

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Seven Common Problem Areas of Small Business (Part 2)

Small Business Problems

In this two-part blog series, we’re looking at the reasons why some small businesses don’t survive long term. The Independent Business Alliance (IBA) cites seven common problem areas that can lead to business failure if not properly addressed:

  1. Lack of Planning
  2. Inadequate Funding
  3. Ineffective Marketing
  4. Ineffective Sales Efforts
  5. Lack of Employee Management
  6. Lack of Business Experience
  7. Lack of Outside Expert Advice

Any business can suffer from one or more of these problem areas, and they’re the root of pain and sleepless nights for many small business owners. In Part 1 of this post, I talked in detail about the first four.  Now, let’s explore the final three problem areas.

Lack of Employee Management

Bringing on employees as a small business owner can be a scary yet exciting milestone. It allows you to be more organized and efficient and expand what you offer. But it also requires that you manage workload and expectations for people besides just yourself.

Employee management includes understanding what your staffing needs are, ensuring you have the right people in the right jobs, developing robust hiring and firing processes, and creating effective job descriptions, processes and employee controls. You must be clear on what your needs are and how that translates into specific job roles. You should develop standard processes for hiring and have written job descriptions. You also need to have controls in place to ensure employee accountability. On top of all this, you also want to create a working environment that employees will appreciate (wages, physical space, benefits, etc.) to avoid high turnover.

If you’re not clear upfront about job roles and processes, it can lead to employee confusion around responsibilities and inconsistencies that can affect product or service quality. Failure to create strong hiring and firing processes can leave you vulnerable to a host of legal issues (discrimination, wrongful termination, etc.). What does all of this require? PLANNING!! As I stated in Part 1, planning is essential to navigating many of these problem areas.

Lack of Business Experience

Most people that start a business don’t have a MBA from Harvard or Wharton Business School, and you don’t need that to succeed. But you do need to be willing to learn what you need to learn to effectively run a business. Ignorance is not bliss in this situation.

Classic signs of business inexperience include poor use of time and resources, inability to delegate, and extreme control tactics—either overly controlling (dictator style) or no control at all. As a business owner, you’ll have to learn how to manage your time and resources wisely. You may be able to do everything on your own in the very beginning, but as you grow, you’ll have to delegate internally and/or outsource to get everything done (or risk completely burning yourself out).

You’re not hindered from starting and growing a successful business just because you didn’t go to B-school or grow up in a family business. The problem arises if you refuse to learn and grow to nurture your business. Just as a first-time parent learns to care for their child, you need to learn to care for your business.

Lack of Outside Expert Advice

You can’t build a business alone. Whether it’s vendors, employees, consultants, advisers, family, or friends, someone besides you is involved. As mentioned above, you don’t have to come in knowing everything but you do need to be willing to learn. That said, there are many people out there that already have the knowledge you seek or who possess skills that your business can use.

Outside expert advice comes in the form of consultants, coaches, and advisers. Many times, small business owners forego these services believing that they can’t afford them. What they fail to realize is that the services from these experts often pay for themselves multiple times over via increased revenue, decreased expenses, or more efficient and effective internal operations (which can impact the bottom line as well as employee morale and retention).

I’ve engaged a business coach in both of my businesses, and it’s always been worth the investment. It’s extremely valuable to have an objective eye reviewing your business and keeping you focused on developing/growing the business. The outside perspective and support is invaluable, and I’ve never regretted making the investment.

As discussed in Part 1, all of these problem areas can be overcome. For these three areas in particular, the common theme is to be open to learning new things and accepting help and support from others. Being closed to learning and growing and trying to do everything alone could be the death sentence for your business.

Have you had problems in these areas? Leave a comment to tell us about it. Community sharing lets us help each other!

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Seven Common Problem Areas of Small Business (Part 1)

Small Business Problems

Small business is a major player in the US economy making up over 99% of US employer firms. Given what a big part of the economy they are, it’s in everyone’s best interest that they do well. According to the Small Business Administration, about half of all new businesses survive at least five years and about a third survive at least 10 years. So what goes wrong for the ones that don’t make it?

I’m a Certified Adviser with the Independent Business Alliance (IBA). The IBA recognizes the importance of the entrepreneur to our economy and works “to provide US entrepreneurs the same quality and depth of advisory resources that are available to larger firms thereby improving the entrepreneur’s competitiveness as well as the longevity and success of their businesses” (IBA mission).

The IBA cites seven common problem areas that can lead to business failure if not properly addressed:

  1. Lack of Planning
  2. Inadequate Funding
  3. Ineffective Marketing
  4. Ineffective Sales Efforts
  5. Lack of Employee Management
  6. Lack of Business Experience
  7. Lack of Outside Expert Advice

Any business can suffer from one or more of these problem areas, and they’re the root of pain and sleepless nights for many small business owners. Let’s explore the first four areas.

Lack of Planning

Planning is an important element to success in any endeavor and small business is no exception. Planning includes developing key documents (e.g., business plan, marketing plan, etc.) as well as concrete strategies and timelines (e.g., daily/weekly planner, communication strategy, etc.).

It’s very common for small business owners to avoid or put off creating a business plan. Many feel that it’s a waste to pour time and energy into what they consider to be a static document, however, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. First, a business plan shouldn’t be a static document — it should be a living document that’s revisited periodically. Second, the process of creating the plan provides a perfect opportunity for you to think about what your business is, how it serves, and what it needs.

In my first business adventure, once my partners and I decided to create a business, one of the first things we did was get together to write a business plan. That process got us clear and on the same page about what our business would be and what we needed to do to move forward. My second business was seeded when I gained my first adviser certification from the Organization for Entrepreneurial Development. As a part of the training and certification process, we’re required to submit a formal business plan.

Planning is also a key ingredient to every other specific business element from sales and marketing to finance to hiring. We’ll see that as we explore the other problem areas.

Inadequate Funding

Inadequate funding comes in many shapes and sizes. Not investing enough at the startup phase, misusing funds, and not collecting on receivables are a few examples.

Businesses need cash to survive. Period. The amount of cash will vary from business to business, but they all require some level of cash. If you don’t bring in money, there is no business. If you don’t bring in more money than you spend, your business is slowly (or maybe even quickly) drowning. The key to profitability and sustainability is for your sales (income) to exceed your costs (expenses).

This doesn’t mean you have to be sitting on a wad of cash in order to start or continue running a business. It simply means you need to be mindful and wise about the need for money. For example, recognizing that obtaining a line of credit while things are good is smart business. If things are going well, you’re better situated to approach a lending institution about a line. But many won’t consider doing this until the business is on the rocks and they desperately need cash to stay afloat. Back to the first problem area…planning.

It’s good to plan for regular expenses and create a budget based on your projected income. I know life happens and unexpected things come up, but there are plenty of business expenses that you know you have to take on. I know I have to pay Maryland personal property taxes for my business every April, so I make sure I’m prepared to pay. Plan for the things you can.

Ineffective Marketing

As with funding, ineffective marketing can also come in many different flavors. Marketing encompasses a number of things including market research, advertising, product pricing, and public relations. As such, there are many ways in which marketing can go wrong. A couple of common mistakes are not knowing who your customer is and ineffective advertising.

If you don’t know who your customer is, how can you effectively market to them? It’s critical to understand exactly who your product or service is for. And no, it’s not for everyone. That’s a classic mistake. You need to get crystal clear on your target audience so you can set up a good marketing strategy.

In today’s technology dense world, there are tons of ways and mediums to advertise. You’ve got Google Ads, various social media platform ads, as well as traditional print/publication ads. If you don’t know who your customer is, how will you know where and how to advertise to entice them? And even if you do know who your customer is, do you know how to get in front of them in the maze of social media advertising options? Or what publications to advertise in to reach them? You can’t just randomly throw a dart at the wall and hope it hits the bullseye.

Effective marketing doesn’t just happen. It takes – you guessed it – PLANNING!

Ineffective Sales Efforts

Okay, let’s start by distinguishing sales and marketing. The marketing process is what you do to reach and persuade your potential customers (raise awareness and trust). The sales process is what you do to close the sales for the prospective customers that marketing brought you. The overarching problem with ineffective sales is not having enough sales to sustain your business, but as with the other areas, ineffective sales efforts have many looks.

One example of ineffective sales is not making an offer. Yes, it happens. You run a wonderful marketing campaign that gets prospective customers aware of your services…but you don’t make an offer. Yes, you’ll occasionally run into a proactive customer who may come to you and ask you outright about your products or services, but this is not the norm. You can’t expect someone to say “yes” if you don’t present an offer. Put yourself out there and make the offer!

Another issue is not having a sales process at all. Many people just market and hope that people will come (once again, no offer). But even if you do make an offer, it shouldn’t be done flying by the seat of your pants. You should have a clear process for when and how you make your offer. It shouldn’t be left to chance. You need a – what – PLAN!

As you can see with the first four problem areas, there are many ways that these problems can manifest, but a common and consistent theme is the need for planning. Have you had problems in these areas? Leave a comment to tell us about it. Community sharing lets us help each other!

In my next post, we’ll look at the remaining three problem areas: lack of employee management, lack of business experience, and lack of outside expert advice.

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The Wonder of Blending Art and Science

Art and Science_Wonder

Art and Science are often viewed as opposite ends of the educational spectrum that have nothing to do with each other. Science is objective, theoretical, and rooted in proof while Art is subjective, conceptual, and doesn’t require proof. Although they are very distinct fields, they can complement each other beautifully. Most of my formal education leaned to the science side, but I’ve grown more and more to appreciate the value of the arts. I’ve regularly ­­­­­­­incorporated artistic skills and techniques into my scientific endeavors to make them better.

Most of my professional life has been a blend of art and science. As an operations research analyst (i.e., applied mathematician), there’s an art to building effective mathematical models. Sometimes you have to come up with creative ways to build and combine equations to accurately reflect real life. As a consultant, people valued my scientific know how coupled with my interpersonal skills. The ability to communicate well (verbally and orally) is seen as a clear asset, particularly for those with scientific backgrounds, and definitely falls more in the realm of art than science.

My approach as a business adviser and coach is no different – I continue to mesh art and science. On the science side, I use a very rigorous business assessment process to help my clients comprehensively evaluate their business in the areas of business planning, finance, sales and marketing, operations, and personnel. The art is being able to hone in on and address my client’s mindset. I have to be able to see when mindset issues are getting in the way of business performance and their general happiness.

I think it’s important to deal with the mindset issues to enhance the business and the journey of entrepreneurship. Bringing in this ‘artistic’ side was a primary motivator for me undertaking life coach training (which I completed under Martha Beck). As a small business owner myself, I know that the personal and business lives of a small business owner are typically very intertwined, and I wanted to be able to deal with that in a real and productive way.

Art and Science may be polar opposites, but they balance each other and blend to create immense value in many different situations. How do you blend Art and Science?

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The Truth about Entrepreneurship

The Truth Just Ahead

Growing up, all I knew to do was to go to school and do well in order to get a good job and live a good life. I “followed the rules” and went straight through my undergraduate and graduate education and proceeded to get a “good job”. I worked as an analyst for several years under a few different employers. I was great at my job, but I often worked on projects that didn’t really interest me. I was making a good living, but I wasn’t passionate or fulfilled by the work I was doing.

I started talking to two colleagues about starting our own consulting business. At the time, I didn’t know much about entrepreneurship, but I was fascinated with the idea of pursuing work that truly interested me rather than just being handed whatever needed to be done in my current organization.

When I started my first business, I initially went in really just creating another job for myself. I hadn’t been exposed to business ownership and didn’t really have a sense of the possibilities. I just knew that having my own shop would allow me the opportunity to seek out and go after project work that interested me rather than being assigned to random projects by my employer. I still planned on being an analyst; I just planned on working on projects that I hand-picked.

As I got more in the business, worked with an advisor, and met more business owners, I realized that it could be so much more than creating my “dream job”. I realized that I could create something bigger and better than I could have imagined and that I had to grow beyond my analyst role into my entrepreneur role in order to do that. Here are a few experiences and observations I had in the process of unfolding and embracing myself as an entrepreneur.

You MAY have to work more, not less (but flexibility can offset). One of the  things I noticed going full-time into my first business was that I regularly found myself putting in more than the 40-hour standard week. BUT, I was working those hours on my own terms which made a huge difference to me. I want to be clear that this is not true for everyone. There are definitely entrepreneurial pursuits that can (ultimately) cut down on the work time you put in.

I found that it can also be a challenge to draw the lines between your business and personal life – you have to create boundaries to ensure you don’t lose yourself in the business, especially if you operate from your home. But in many cases there’s also more flexibility to balance them. For example, if I want to chaperone my son’s field trip I just block that time off and do it fitting my appointments and work in around that.

You may experience financial droughts. Businesses can most definitely have their financial ups and downs. Some ventures take time initially to start generating revenue which may not be an issue for you if you’re working a regular job while you start up. In any case, there can always be peaks and valleys in revenue and cash flow over time. This can be new and very hard to deal with if you’re used to getting a steady paycheck from an employer and you find yourself unable to draw money (i.e., take a salary) from your business for some period of time for whatever reason.

You have to be prepared for slow periods and cash flow issues that may come up and have a plan to push through. There are various ways of dealing with this including having multiple and diverse products/services, a line of credit, money in savings, or factoring your receivables (especially accessible if you have invoices for government agencies or large corporations).

It’s lonely at the top. Entrepreneurship can be very lonely particularly for solopreneurs. In my first business, I had two partners, so we worked together and shared decision making. In my current business, I’m a solopreneur. I have a home office and am solely responsible for all business decisions. If you’re used to working in a corporate office with a team of people, working for yourself from a home office (or alone in a rented space) can be quite a shock.

It can also be lonely and fearful to make all of your corporate decisions alone if you’re the sole decision maker. It can help to periodically work in a local coffee shop or join a small business incubator organization. Networking and building strong relationships with other business owners or even joining a mastermind group can also help ease the decision making isolation. You can use that peer group to bounce and screen ideas before making key decisions.

Where’s the love?! Another interesting experience that you may encounter is not getting the support you might expect. This can be particularly hard when that lack of support comes from those very close to you. You may be really excited about your new venture, but don’t count on everyone around you sharing that excitement. We live in a society where the norm is to get a job with a 401(k), work for many years, then retire and live off of your retirement funds. When you steer off that track to do something else, many people just can’t understand or relate.

For that reason, you have to be very careful who you share your entrepreneurial dreams with and strategically pull together a solid support network. This network could include certain family members and friends, other business owners, a business coach, or even staff at your local Small Business Development Center.

Many people fantasize about being an entrepreneur having visions of being their own boss, following their own schedule, and making lots of money. The truth is that many people don’t have a true picture of daily life as an entrepreneur. Don’t get me wrong…I think becoming an entrepreneur is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I just think that people should be clear on exactly what they’re getting into and what they should be prepared for because that awareness increases the chance of success. It’s not always the glitz and glam that many people think, but the rewards can truly be great.

What do you think are the biggest myths or realities about entrepreneurship that everyone should know? Please share your thoughts below.

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Four Obstacles to Reaching Your Maximum Success

Four Obstacles to Reaching Your Maximum Success

We all have goals and dreams that we’re striving to fulfill. It may be creating and operating a successful business, being the best parent to your children, or climbing Mt. Everest (or all of the above!). Whatever your goals are, there can be numerous obstacles that slow you down, minimize your progress, or even bring you to a grinding halt. Here I discuss four key things that can keep you from reaching your full potential in your life pursuits.

1. Lack of planning. Planning should be an essential part of any major endeavor. Yes, life happens and things come up unexpectedly, but that’s no excuse to start the journey with no plan. Most of us have heard the expression that failing to plan is planning to fail. So often, we don’t take the time to get clear on our intentions and expectations and chart a clear path forward to get us from point A to B. Then when we end up at point J instead of B, we wonder what happened—where did we go wrong?

I encourage all of my business clients to develop and periodically update a business plan. Many business owners (particularly small business owners) don’t think it’s necessary unless they’re required to submit one for a loan or certification application, but the process of documenting what your business does, who it serves and how is invaluable even if it’s just for you. The process of creating the plan forces you to think things through and define the key goals, steps to achieve them, and measures of success. This type of planning is also critical for other major life projects and goals like climbing Mt. Everest (can you imagine trying to take that one on without a plan) or becoming the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

2. Lack of execution. Let’s say you develop a detailed master plan for achieving your dream. What good is that plan if you never actually execute on it? Sometimes we don’t reach our best success because we don’t put in the time and effort to execute. There may be many “valid” things in our way of execution such as lack of time or resources (often money), but sometimes these “valid” obstacles to execution are actually rooted in fear—fear of failure, fear of success, fear of change, etc. These fears often aren’t even conscious to us but rather show up as the story of lack. Don’t let your fears keep you from executing!

3. Limiting beliefs. We are all subject to a variety of limiting beliefs that shape when, where, and how we show up in the world in different aspects of life. For many, these beliefs are so engrained in who we are that we don’t even realize how they play in our life and the degree to which they can cause unnecessary suffering. You may have experienced things in your life that consciously or subconsciously instilled beliefs such as there’s never enough money, I’m not worthy of love, I’m not capable—the list goes on and on. The real problem is when these beliefs rear their ugly heads and hinder you from doing and being your best.

As a coach, I work with my clients to identify these limiting beliefs and disentangle themselves from the beliefs that cause suffering. A key philosophy that I carry as a coach is to live it to give it which means I work on my own “stuff” (including limiting beliefs) in order to show up transparent and authentic for my clients. As such, I recently uncovered that I have a bundle of deeply engrained parenting beliefs, some of which were causing me suffering as I tried to live up to them. Recognizing this has raised my awareness and allows me to confront these beliefs head on and decide which ones work for me and which ones have to go. This process of identifying and dissolving those limiting beliefs that cause suffering can shatter a glass ceiling that you aren’t even aware of that’s limiting your success.

4. Failing to listen to your inner wisdom. We are all equipped with an inner wisdom more powerful than any information we can collect out in the world. This wisdom can be experienced physically and non-physically. Our physical bodies are constantly providing information that can be used to guide our decisions and actions; however, these body signals are often overlooked and ignored by us. Ever wonder why high security agencies and organizations rely on lie detector tests when screening job candidates or criminal suspects? It’s because our bodies are always producing signals and signs in response to our environment and circumstances that are nothing short of truth serum! So that whole concept of ‘listening to your gut’ rings true—just remember that the signal may come from somewhere else in your body!

In addition to physical feelings and sensations, our inner wisdom can manifest in other ways. Ever had a big decision to make and you just knew what to do without elaborate trial and deliberation? Ever ‘coincidentally’ walk straight over to a book in a bookstore that gives you the exact information you need at that moment? Ever feel strangely compelled to take a different route to work only to find our later that your usual route was shut down due to an accident? Your inner wisdom is very powerful and uniquely yours. Focus on consciously and consistently tapping into it to reach your peak success.

Do any of these ring true for you? Do you have other obstacles you’d like to share? Comment below and let me know what’s holding you back.

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What’s in a Name

What is in a Name

Your birth name. It was bestowed upon you, and some people believe that it says a lot about you and who you will become. Others believe it is something completely out of your control and, therefore, cannot define you beyond certain things that people may infer about you (right or wrong) such as gender, race, etc.

My name is unique in the U.S. It originates from Ghana, and my mom found it in a book of African names. In the book she had, Afi meant spiritual and that’s the meaning she intended when naming me. Later in life, I’ve come to learn that it’s a unisex name that means spiritual for a boy and girl born on Friday for a girl (by the way, I was born on a Tuesday). In any case, I have grown to be very spiritual which could be a testament to the intention my mom had behind the name and meaning.

Like my mother, I was very intentional when naming my kids and also my business. I named my boys Kalonji and Amari. Kalonji means he will be victorious and Amari means strength. I hope that both of their name meanings hold true for them in their lives. My company name (AKEA) is the combination of the first initials of me, my husband, and our two sons. I recognize both the sacrifices and rewards my family takes on with my business ownership. In naming my business, I honor my family involvement and desire to leave a legacy.

Outside of the birth name given to us, we also attach other names and identities to ourselves often without even being aware. Every time you use the phrase ‘I am’ you are affirming something about yourself. Unlike our birth names, we are responsible for this — we have a choice. If you say or think ‘I am not good enough’ or ‘I am not worthy,’ you are affirming that in your life. Do you really want to do that? Why not affirm that you are enough and you are worthy! Instead of ‘I am behind’ affirm ‘I am right where I should be.’ Instead of ‘I am weak’ affirm ‘I am strong.’

Don’t affirm something that you don’t want. Take back your ‘I am’ and the power that goes with it. You had no say in your birth name, but you are free to choose the identities you attach to yourself now. Don’t choose broken, scared, and useless…instead choose whole, fearless, and valuable. Affirm the good and be open to receive it.

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Is Your Mindset Derailing Your Dream?

Is your mindset derailing your dream

What is the big dream or vision you have that just won’t let up? That one big goal that you can’t seem to shake no matter what else you do and accomplish. Is it starting a business, taking your business to the next level, running a marathon, or learning to play a musical instrument? Whatever it is, are you actively moving towards it? If not, why?

We may all be aware of the more obvious culprits of our inaction or procrastination – fear, little or no support from family and friends, lack of money or time, etc. But do you realize that you may have negative thoughts and beliefs that may also be limiting you or even keeping you from getting started? In other words, is your mindset derailing your dream?

Mindset is defined as a set of beliefs or a way of thinking that determines one’s behavior, outlook, and mental attitude. Our mindset is shaped by our life experiences which give us many sources to develop limiting beliefs. Your parents’ constant discussions about not having enough money leave you believing there is never enough. Your spouse’s daily criticisms make you feel you’re not good enough. Many of these limiting beliefs are so deeply rooted in our subconscious that we don’t even recognize how much they influence how we live our lives. Exploring them can be the key to truly unlocking yourself to make that big dream a reality!

Opening yourself to explore your mindset, along with the actual steps you need to take to fulfill your dream, can make all the difference. Maybe you want to review and understand your business financial statements, but you’ve never been comfortable with numbers. Will that belief about yourself hold you back from staying on top of how your business is performing? If you want to run a marathon, you may recognize that you need to train daily to prepare. If you feel you only have time to train at 5am and you’re not a morning person, how will that impact you moving forward toward the goal? Is the start point that 5am is the only time option for training rooted in a potential limiting belief that other events and commitments in your daily routine are fixed and can’t be adjusted?

When pursuing a goal or dream, be open to investigating not only the major steps and actions that need to happen but also the limiting beliefs that may sabotage you along the way. That path to your dream may include a minefield of limiting beliefs ready to explode and derail you at every step. But don’t give up…these beliefs can be identified and uprooted safely allowing you to follow your path to success in peace.

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Journey to Unfolding

Journey to Unfolding

Life is a journey. It can have its ups and downs but it’s always unfolding perfectly for you.

We all have a purpose for being here and every relationship, experience, and characteristic of who we are plays into that purpose. If you can relax and be open (not resistant) to the natural flow of your life’s unfolding, you can move through life with uncanny ease and be amazed at what the journey teaches you. I’m not saying everything will be peachy all the time. There will inevitably be rough times and situations but these times play a key role in moving and molding you where you need to be.

My life has and continues to take me to interesting and unexpected places. As a kid that loved puzzles and logic, it wasn’t too surprising that I became a math major, but I never dreamed I’d be an entrepreneur. My evolution from entrepreneur to business advisor was another unexpected surprise. And now I find myself studying life coaching under renowned life coach, Martha Beck (all because I had an itch that I should enhance my coaching skills for my business advisory clients). I had no idea how much this process would allow me to work on myself, broaden my skills, and expand who I can serve and how.

You may experience situations in your life that make you wonder ‘how did I get HERE?’ Whether it’s a failed business or relationship or other setback, things happen in life that wreak havoc on your logical and emotional self. Recognize that all of these things play a part in molding you to be who you were truly created to be. Your journey to unfolding is as unique to you as your fingerprint.

As your life unfolds, stay present to all that is happening. The past is gone and the future is not here (or promised). All you have is right here, right now. Honor who you are in this moment and follow the natural rhythm of your unfolding. You can’t go wrong.

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Taking Care of Self

Taking Care of Self

We all can get caught in the hustle and bustle of life. As we take on more tasks, responsibilities, and obligations, we must remember to take care of ourselves in order to serve our role in the world.

I live a busy life taking care of my family and working. It’s very easy to get caught up in work, school pick-ups, cooking meals, chauffeuring to various sports activities, etc., but at the end of the day, I can’t do anything for anyone else if I don’t take care of myself first. I find that my body will tell me (often through physical ailment) if I’m doing too much and not focusing on self-care. Typical signs for me are experiencing extreme fatigue and suffering from nagging headaches. I’m sure you have your own signs.

It’s important to do what you need to do to take care of yourself. It’s critical to you giving the best of yourself to those around you. You have unique talents, skills, and abilities that only you can share and the world will be a better place for it.

When I work with clients or interact with anyone for that matter, my objective is to do whatever I can to support them and help them be their best self (whatever that may be). I can’t do that if I don’t bring my full self. When I function from a place of authenticity and wholeness, I am best equipped to help others.

Take the time to recognize when you need to stop and focus on yourself. Give yourself the time, space, and tools you need to be your best. Everyone in your life will be the better for it.

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