Why It’s Important To Give Thanks

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It’s that time of year – the end of 2018 is nigh, and 2019 will be here before you know it! In the whirlwind of getting things done before the new year, we often don’t make time to give gratitude. So right now, let’s stop the pace, breathe for a moment, and give thanks.

Consider your customers. We often take for granted the ones who make it easy to work with them. They have a great attitude, understand the business, and relate to your style of work. Not everyone is a super customer! Remember the one who caused trouble, the one you had to let go, or the one who you swore ‘Never again!’ because you barely made it work? It’s time to stop, breathe, and be thankful for the clients whom you enjoy working with – they are a rare commodity and good to appreciate.

Next, think about your vendors. You’re working with them for a reason. Breathe for a minute to clear your mind. Ponder the reasons why you chose that vendor. Of all the others who could do the job, why this one? What made them special enough to deserve your business? Reflect on unique qualities that you value and feel a sense of appreciation for them.

Also on the list of those to consider, it’s important to acknowledge the random interactions with strangers, those who may have lifted your load somehow or provided inspiration. Sometimes, in many occasions, human connection comes when we are in dire need. Feeling stress or worrying about the business opens you to these connections. You’re more vulnerable, and it allows others to help. Did anyone unwittingly come to your rescue or offer a few words that made things seem a little brighter? I hope so; I bet so. 

And, it’s not possible to go back and thank these individuals who appeared and just as suddenly departed from your life. They are brief blips, but they offer you a chance to do something special in return: Pay It Forward. When you can’t tell someone how much their actions meant to you because it was a random stranger you’ll never see again, then become the random stranger for someone else and do some good for them. 

This time of year, it may do wonders to offer a word of praise to a store clerk, smile at the cashier, or hold the door for the person behind you even if you must wait a bit. These and a million other ways are small moments that make a difference by bringing a few seconds of human connection to those who just may need it.

See, the whole purpose of Gratitude, being thankful, is not just to say “thanks!” and make someone else feel better, though that is a huge reason. Another reason to give thanks is for yourself. When you recognize and appreciate others, then you open yourself to the workings of Gratitude. 

Too often, we narrow our focus and see too much negativity. When you practice Gratitude, then you widen your point of view to a broader scope, recognizing the good and bad circumstances through which we navigate and including yourself within a network instead of a silo. It’s better for business, but more importantly, it’s better for you.

Thank you for spending your time with me this year, reading the blog, listening to the podcast and using the information to think about your business. Let’s all look forward to a great 2019. Reach out if you need assistance kicking off your new year.

Commit Actions of Gratitude For December

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There is more to gratitude than opening yourself to the feelings of thankfulness; there are actions, too. Actions of gratitude vary in scope, but not all of them are large gestures. Often, the smaller ones are more meaningful. The smallest action that expresses your gratitude and makes a big impact is the unsolicited and simple “thank you.”

It doesn’t take much to express your thanks, however, too often, we don’t stop to extend our gratitude or tell others when they are meaningful in our lives. What would it be like to do this?

While it would be nice to make a habit out of this in daily life (and while I urge you to consider and apply this), I certainly want to emphasize the benefits and importance of establishing this as a good business practice: take time to thank others for their impact on your business.

As a business owner, there are some key folks who should be recognized. It goes without saying that should you have employees, they are first on the list! But there are others who may not be so obvious that deserve recognition.

  • Thanking Supporters - Inquiries About Your Business

Giving thanks to those who support you may also seem obvious, but not all forms of support happen overtly. Is there someone who wanted to know more about your work, or who acknowledged your enterprise? That is someone who supports you! Their recognition is legitimacy of your business. All it takes is a moment to say, “Thanks for talking with me about my work!” Remember, gratitude doesn’t have to be grand or showy to be meaningful.

  •  Thanking Kindness – Beyond Business-as-Usual

In the world of business, we often have to sacrifice our emotions when making business decisions—but we’re also not automatons!  Sometimes, genuine emotions crop up in the business world, particularly in the creative industry where so much is subjective and caters to preferences. Honor those who speak kindness or who may have made you feel a little more connected than just “doing business.” It’s okay to thank them with a heart-felt comment like, “I appreciate our ability to work so well together” to honor the connection.

  •  Thanking Generosity – Going Above and Beyond

When we hear the word, “generosity,” monetary value is usually the first association we make—someone was generously giving money. Truly, generosity encompasses much more; we are generous with our time, energy, efforts, etc. If you received a referral, then that person took time to think about you and make the effort to share your contact information; if someone anticipated your needs and operates in an organized manner, then that is someone who is generous with their efforts; and finally, if someone is always on time, that is someone who respects your time. For one or all these types of people, a small “I appreciate your efforts and enjoy working with you” gives some generosity back.

And now, a moment I have been looking forward to since I’ve been thinking about it,

~ Thank you for spending your time with me here! ~

If you would like some dedicated time with me in 2019, please send me an email with your needs and let’s see how I can assist.

A Holiday Tour Of Gratitude

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With the end of November in sight, the New Year is almost upon us. However, let’s not be done with Thanksgiving too quickly! Before we say good-bye to the holiday about thankfulness, let’s participate in an exercise of Gratitude. Looking back, in what ways can our celebrations of the holidays help us appreciate our business?

Ringing In The New Year

Remember back to the last day of good ol’ 2017. Did you make resolutions for the new year? Most celebrations of New Years are not complete without the famous (or infamous) list of Resolutions. We come up with one or two or a handful of ideas that we will resolve to accomplish in the new year.

It’s a powerful concept—the idea of a resolve means setting a standard and applying your force of will to meet it. When you do follow your resolve, then you stand proud in your ability to have created the result, to have had the will to do so, and to have followed through. While these are good things, it also means that, conversely, not sticking to your resolution brings feelings of failure and self-doubt, shame that you don’t have the will to accomplish the resolution. However, the only way to truly succeed with a resolution is to have commitment to it in the first place. Anything else is just a wish.

Do you truly want to achieve that goal? In business, in life, you must acknowledge the difference between your wish and your resolve. In what do you really believe and in what way will you accomplish it?  Before you set a resolution or a goal, decide if you’re committed.

Looking back, what were your resolutions and what were your wishes?

What will it take to turn a wish into a resolve?

Three Cheers For The Red White And Blue

Fast forward to the summer, six months later, and it’s the Celebration of Independence, the July 4th holiday. We commemorate the independence of our nation with a flurry of proud moments, from a parade to picnic to fireworks display. At each event, we decorate with the colors of our nation, Red, White, and Blue. At each event, we re-enact the emotions that came from winning a battle for independence: exhilaration, joy, excitement, and wonder.

The beauty of this holiday is the ability to celebrate the meaning of winning independence. There was a battle, hard-fought and dearly won. We know that the years before were arduous, but we focus on the celebration. We don’t ignore the hard times leading up to the moments of independence, but we embrace the victory.

It’s a much smaller scale, but you have also battled for independence as an entrepreneur. Are you recognizing the battles in your business? Are you focusing on the wins or bothered by the scars? You’re a creative talent that fought to become more than just a craft or hobby; you’re an enterprise.

Are you celebrating exhilaration, joy, excitement, and wonder??

Please Pass The Turkey

Now we arrive to November, a month in which we honor the past with Gratitude. We are grateful to the pioneers who ventured here, to those who helped them along the way, and to the heroes who made it all possible.

Before November ends, give yourself some Gratitude. You’re a pioneer, you ventured into uncharted territory, you’ve reached out to others for help along the way, and you have witnessed heroism. Before we say “good-bye” to November, let’s look in the mirror and give thanks.

What will you say to yourself?

Need help with affirmations and gratitude? Reach out.

Is Your Business Ready For This Time Of Year?

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One of the reasons we look forward to November is, of course, Thanksgiving. This holiday centers on food and sharing an abundance with others, reminding us to be thankful. Originally a celebration of Harvest, the holiday is also a bookmark in the farmer’s almanac, reminding us that we’re standing on the threshold of winter and to prepare for the darker, starker Winter days ahead.

So, November has arrived, and we’re only two months away from year-end. It may not be your fiscal year end, but it certainly marks the passage of another year in which you’re in business. We’re standing on the threshold of a new year’s arrival, and it’s time to take stock.

·         What do you have in abundance?

·         What have you shared with others?

·         What will you do to prepare for darker, starker days ahead?

Let’s take a look at some good measures that will help you make the most of this time period to gain perspective and set some goals.

Gather At The Meeting Table

This November hold a meeting in which you gather and acknowledge your bounty.

1.       What are the good things that occurred in your business in the last eleven months?

2.       What goals have you accomplished?

3.       Of what do you have an abundance – effective skills, knowledge, clients, projects, patience, understanding, profit, etc.?

Take stock of all the great and good things you have done in your business or accomplished for your business.

Also, the Thanksgiving holiday promotes thankfulness and including others, so bring others into the fold and share with those who have affected your work:  any vendors, employees, family, friends, supporters, etc., who have joined you on the path to today’s success. Take any opportunity whether you see them in person or send them thank you cards to tell them reasons for your appreciation.

Celebrate the Harvest of Your Efforts

You’ve been working hard these past 11 months, and it’s time to acknowledge your efforts. Hopefully, you’ve started and will continue to celebrate your efforts moving forward but take time to reflect and celebrate the work thus far.

1.       Compare Year-To-Date Data to create a before-and-after picture of your efforts

2.       Find one success from each month, write these on Post-Its, and put them around your workspace

3.       Give yourself a reward that’s tangible (new gadget) or experiential (yoga retreat) so that you take time to receive it

However you feel comfortable celebrating, devote time to acknowledging and rewarding your efforts.

Preparing For Winter

When Thanksgiving originated, Winter meant uncertain days with no guarantee of survival. No one knew if the snow would strand them indoors for a day, weeks, or months, so many people stock-piled their resources and kept them near.

While your business may not be facing a blizzard, there are always tough times and uncertainty to survive.

·         How will you prepare?

·         What can you do to prepare?

·         Do you have resources enough to stockpile? Which ones?

This is a good time to also take stock of any weaknesses in your business and shore them up. What areas need more attention, or do you need help to get them stronger? Don’t wait until the winds are blowing through the cracks and the snow blocks your door, barring an exit – get your strategy in place today to survive any difficult times that might be ahead.

If you need help celebrating or preparing, please reach out to me. You can also download this Financial Health Checkup to assist you in knowing where to start.

How To Accomplish Change In Your Business

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It’s come to this:  You learned new ideas, set some great goals, and waited for results to roll in. Now, it’s time to evaluate the results. Are they indeed rolling in? Often, there’s a gap between the desire for making changes and actually creating the change. In large-scale business, there is a whole process for implementing new practices that often gets overlooked in small business. So, now’s the time to take stock:  When it comes to implementing your new ideas into current business, have you established a change management strategy?

Mind the Gap: Big Business As Roadmap

Big business understands that the gears of change move slowly, and that across the organization, it can be a mammoth effort to get everyone on board, accept and apply the new ideas, and then follow through to enforce the new practices. On a larger scale, executives release changes in phases, leaders disperse instructions to managers, and employees receive multiple exposure to the plan to ensure their buy-in throughout the implementation.

In small business, you’re the change agent as well as recipient. How do you manage change throughout your organization?

Managing Change In Small Business

I’d say the first step is already in place: recognizing the need for change and understanding the type of change you’d like to see. There are many ideas rolling around your mind, from pumping up the power of your voice to understanding your financials better to improving profit. You’ve probably made some lists of goals, created a running to-do list, and worked with your profit coach to identify the change you’d like to make. That’s a great start!

So, let’s get to the next step, breaking the goals down into manageable actions. As a change agent for yourself, you need to link those goals to actionable steps with deadlines. When will you complete each? Map your strategy for change to a timeline so that you can see the big picture of growth.

Then, decide on mile markers, points in time that evaluate your process and demonstrate growth. When will you check on the process and review your progress? What will you use to measure rate of growth?

Finally, continue to create buy-in with yourself; stay motivated. What will remind you that these changes are important? How will you keep your “eye on the prize”? Motivational strategies abound, from daily affirmations to coaching to calendar reminders, to stay focused on the big picture that makes this all worth it.

Are We Done Yet?

Wait—not quite done…in what ways will you enforce the change? You’ll need to make sure things stick. What can you do to be accountable for the changes? One way is to make a commitment to a third party, someone outside of your organization who will expect to see your changes. For example, make an announcement and build an expectation in clients that you’ll work to achieve. For example, “Coming soon! . . .” or “Next month, watch for …”

Change Takes Time

No matter the size of the business, any business will need to manage change with structure and strategy. If we go back to the beginning, let’s revise that initial concept to look like this:  You learned new ideas, set some great goals, established a strategy to implement the goals, and plotted a timeline for results.

Now, you’re ready; it’s time for a change. Don’t stop - keep going - you have help when you need it - reach out.