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What to Look for in A Mentor

Monday, 22nd September 2014

mentorOn the path to success, many people want to go faster, further, and succeed with fewer headaches. One way to reach success quicker in your journey to master a skill or become more efficient, is to get a really good mentor on your team.

What does a good mentor look like?

If you are just starting out, a good mentor looks like someone that can meet you where you are at and stretch you to the next level just enough that you are growing but not so much that you begin to panic. Growth is sometimes a challenge for the individual who is at the beginning level. It takes a lot of patience for even accomplished people when they are being mentored.

The advantage for the mentor to coach someone through these beginning stages is that they get to cover the principles of building a strong foundation over and over, and that information will sink in on an unconscious level. Covering the small infinite details and principles of a craft will only enhance knowledge in certain areas.

Positive Mindsets Exist

A good mentor looks at the student’s work and knows how to point out the positive and what they are doing right just as much as they point out what isn’t working. They balance the positive and the negative so that the student is motivated to keep moving forward and trying.

The interaction of the mentor and the person being coached is critical. Is the mentor positive and inspiring, or does the mentor motivate through fear, put downs, or shame? What style works best for you?

The Blessing of Hard

When some part of a craft is exceptionally difficult, it is that much more of a benefit to have a mentor that will help the student stay on task and keep working on the skill, until eventually the student is able to successfully accomplish what he/she set out to do. Some of the hidden benefits of sticking to it are that the student can penetrate the depth of the practice. If something comes too easy, it is common to overlook some principle that could be learned when a deep concentration is put in place.

Having a mentor to build your practice and skill can help cut years off your learning curve, but finding the right one is important to your overall experience and keeping you properly motivated to move forward.

The Road to Mastery in Business

Monday, 15th September 2014

graph-blog-20Most people start out in their business with ideas of success, being the best in their field, and of course being able to support themselves financially. As they work in their business, that hope starts to dim a bit and they are faced with a choice. The choice is whether to keep going in their business and keep working, trying to build, or to try something different.

Why is that? Because the business owner is following the natural pattern of the road to mastery. The road is a bumpy one and a lot of people fall away, some because what they are doing wasn’t their life’s purpose, or something better came along. Others fall away because they couldn’t figure out how to succeed, and the last group falls away because they didn’t really comprehend what the road to mastery looked like.

Here’s what the journey looks like. Everyone starts out as a beginner. It doesn’t matter who you are or what talents you are blessed with, everyone starts out with little or no knowledge and skill in the areas that they are engaged in. So at the beginning, starting at ground zero, it doesn’t take too much effort to get better than zero. There is almost always an immediate burst of progress that gives a sense of accomplishment.

After the burst of progress, their skill level typically declines or plateaus for a while. It is natural to stay on that plateau for an extended period of time. Then eventually there will be an upward spurt of progress. Often this is the case, but it is shocking how the person engaged in the activity that takes place on the plateau can get worse before they get better.

As you get a little better, you plateau, fall back, increase your skills and then dash ahead. It takes time and patience, and a willingness to go on the journey knowing that the instant microwave result is not what you signed up for. The trick is in what you do when you plateau. Many people get discouraged. Don’t practice too much or quit. If you keep stepping up to the plate and practice, even when you are apparently going nowhere, you are making huge steps closer to the mastery that you desire.

 

Why Join a Mastermind?

Wednesday, 10th September 2014

idea-2Mastermind is a buzzword that many people throw around. They misuse the term of mastermind when what they are doing is not a mastermind. A mastermind is when a group of people get together to focus and create a think tank where each person concentrates for a certain amount of time on one person or one business, and they use the power of the group to help the person move their business forward.

So if you are a business owner, how do you know if getting involved in a mastermind group would be a good fit for you?

First thing to examine is what the focus of the mastermind group is. Most mastermind groups have some type of theme that may include topics like: business building, marketing, or weight loss. Make sure that their focus is what you most need in the next stage of your life or business.

Second check out the person leading the group. Who are they? What is their experience? What do they value? Their values will shine through the mastermind group and create the experience that you will have. Is the leader a giving individual, or does he/she mainly talk about his or her selve? Do they know what they are talking about? These are all important things to consider before joining a group.

Third thing to look at is if what the mastermind has to offer will be useful to you. One of the main things that a mastermind offers is a sense of community and of being with like-minded people working together to help make their lives better.

Another benefit of a mastermind group is that it increases your pool of network. My reach has compounded from the mastermind groups that I have been involved in. I have met some key people who not only help my business expand, but they introduced me to others that became wonderful clients and joint venture partners.

A mastermind is also a great place to test the market on your products and your marketing language with low cost and benefit. A person involved in the mastermind can tap into a wide knowledge pool and a place where they can test the market with a lot less headache than launching in the bigger market.

Masterminds are a popular concept right now because many people are finding huge value in their participation, and finding that their involvement really helps them to take huge leaps in their business.

Part 3: 3 Tips to Keep Going When You Are Stuck in a Nasty Divorce

Wednesday, 3rd September 2014

30452101Divorce can take over your life if you are not careful. We are going to explore three tips that you can use to keep your divorce from getting out of control and dominating your life.

  • Chop Down to Size. There are so many moving factors that a person going through divorce has to deal with. They have to deal with the actual divorce and work to come to terms with the other party. They have to deal with transition and with their living conditions being different. Many divorcing couples also have children to deal with and the unraveling of how their new status will affect their friendships. Plus there are always money issues and dealing with the unknown.

The best way to plow through all these issues is to take them one at a time and figure out what the basic things that you can do right now are, do those and put all the other issues on hold.

  • Secure the Foundation. No matter what stage you are in, from just finding out that you are going through a divorce, to getting close to the finish line of having the divorce complete, it is important to work on making sure that you are building a foundation that makes your life secure. One of the best ways to know what needs to be done on your foundation, is to not be dependent on the divorce going the way you want. For example, to not bank on getting money from the other person, or getting the house, etc. Have a backup plan if things don’t go the way you wish.
  • Redefine your Purpose or Upgrade your Purpose. Many people, before they start going through a divorce, have linked their identity with building a life with the person they are now divorcing. It can be unsettling to no longer have that vision. Now is the time to come up with a new vision. Often times, especially at the beginning of the divorce, the person is not in the right place for a long term purpose or vision. At those times, create a shorter purpose, for example: I will make it a pleasant time for my children when they are with me.

A great way to prevent divorce from taking over your life is to chop what you need to do down to size, secure your foundation, and redefine your purpose. When you implement these principles, you will have an easier time moving on.

Part 2: Three More Tips on Getting Through a Nasty Divorce

Wednesday, 27th August 2014

Divorce is no fun and when it turns nasty it can really drain the people who are going through it. If a person is not careful as they go through the experience, they can get caught up in being reactionary, which will not only cause them heartache and headache in the long run, but it will also hurt those people who are around them. Here are some additional tips on how to get through a nasty divorce with the least amount of scars.

  • JourneyTake time each day to get grounded and centered. Without some type of practice, such as mediation, going on walks, or other de-stressing activities, it takes hardly any time for the stress to build up and cause harmful effects to the health. Not only does the stress hurt your health, but it also will influence how you respond to the situation, which if it is reactionary the probability of it making your situation worse is highly likely.
  • Develop or tap into a strong support system. According to the research, the individuals who do the best in recovering from a divorce are not necessary the ones who have the most resilience, but those who have a strong support system.

When I was going through my divorce, I was living in a new state and didn’t know anyone. There are solutions for people like me who didn’t already have the support of being surrounded by good friends. Check out the resources of your local community. I got on a meet-up website and found a very supportive single parenting group that had fun activities not only for the singles, but I could also involve my two children. We all loved participating.

  • Take time to figure out what your part of the divorce was then learn from it and forgive yourself. Marriage takes two people, and no matter how wrong the other person was, there were things you did that contributed to the downfall. Instead of having a shame fest, look at what you did as a way to learn from your mistakes and to give yourself confidence by taking steps to ensure that you aren’t going to make the same mistakes again. The most important part of this step is to forgive yourself and to exercise compassion for being human.

Divorce can be a long rough road, but the journey will go more pleasantly if you take time to ground yourself and to release the stress you are in, surround yourself with support and to learn from your mistakes.

 

3 Tips On How to Keep Going When You Are Stuck in a Nasty Divorce

Wednesday, 6th August 2014

papersMy first marriage ended by me fleeing to sage brush with six children in tow to get away from a man who had anger issues. Who would have thought later that I would look back and think about how easy it was. My second divorce came out of the blue from a man who suddenly decided that he should have our children with him a hundred percent of the time even though he was bi-polar. He also insisted that I should be granted the privilege of supporting him for the rest of his life so he wouldn’t have to work. Of course he was smoking a pipe dream, but that didn’t stop him from trying to get exactly that.

Since we ran into a stalemate, and we don’t see things eye-to-eye, so far we have spent almost a year in court trying to dissolve our marriage. So how does one keep going and building a better life while something so toxic is going on?

  • Decide that no matter how ugly the situation gets, you will not let outside circumstances determine your happiness.

My former promised me a great ten-year anniversary present. When I arrived home from an out of town trip, I was served with divorce papers. Two hours later I found myself in a divorce attorney’s office in shock. I remember a friend being in the room with me. I needed to leave the room, and I looked at the stack of important papers that sat next to the chair. I was going to take the binders with me, even though I would be back in a few minutes. But then I stopped myself. I knew right then and there I had a choice. I was either going to live a life of distrust and fear, or I was going to trust as it seemed appropriate. I knew that if I distrusted my friend, it would lead to unhappiness. I resolved that I would do things that led to happiness no matter how hard.

  • Seize the opportunity.

No matter how ugly the situation is there is an opportunity for you to turn it around for good. For me, although I was losing my marriage, I knew that with him gone I now had an opportunity to build a life that was in more alignment with what I wanted, and I would have no one now to stop or slow me down. The condition of my life was now going to be in my hands, and if I didn’t like it, all I had to do was change it. Truthfully just to be given this opportunity and to be free of a person whose values were not in alignment with mine made the divorce a good thing.

  • Remember what you focus on now is building the foundation for your future.

When a divorce goes nasty, the mounds of paperwork a person has to deal with, even with a lawyer, can become overwhelming, especially if you live in California. As I was plowing through the mounds and mounds and mounds of paperwork, and other work I needed to do for my divorce, it was easy to become frustrated and irritated. Seriously, there are very few things I hate doing more than dealing with numbers, and it seems most of the divorce work focuses on numbers and details. To get through the work that lay before me, I would focus on what getting through this divorce would create for me. If I did my divorce work, and put everything in order, I knew that I was building a foundation. The more I focused on laying a foundation for a better life as I worked on one problem after another, the easier it was for me to do the work that I did not like. The power of the vision of seeing myself free of all this and free to have the lifestyle that would better serve me, made it possible to endure.

Divorce isn’t a pleasant event, and when it turns for the worse and you are caught in the endless months of legal matters such as: waiting to go to court, making powerful decisions of how you are going to live your life, remember to concentrate on looking for the opportunities, and focus on the foundation that you want to create a life upon. These positive, forward looking thoughts will empower you to get through the difficult days with less trauma and more grace.

How Your Associates Affect Your Bottom-Line

Wednesday, 30th July 2014

happyGrowing up, my mother often would talk to me about how important it was for me to make good decisions on who my friends were. She told me that who I hung out with would have a big influence on me. I always thought that was silly advice. I was who I was, and just because I spent time with someone didn’t mean it would have much baring on me and how I lived my life.

Flash forward. I am now an adult, mother of eight, and still learning just how wrong I was in assuming that others don’t have influence on me. A few months ago I became friends with a person who was extremely passionate about what he did for a living. He was so committed to follow his passion that he walked away from a good paying job to do what he loved. He knew that by doing this he probably wouldn’t be making a lot of money. The truth is that for almost the whole thirty years he has been pursuing his passion, he has barely scraped by. He lost his house and eventually ended up living in his office.

But he is happy. He is grateful for working at what he loves every day. He is committed to working at his passion until the day he dies. Granted, there is a lot of room for growth as he adjusts the way he is following his passion. He is learning ways to create a more profitable business and is implementing what he learned.

By spending time with my friend, I’ve started to catch myself when I get caught up in the grind of my own business, and I’ve started to focus exclusively on what it would take to grow my business. I now stop and look at him and the smile on his face. I then ask myself what choice I need to make to help me feel more passionate about my life and what I am doing?

I have recently made some big decisions, like making time to go back to school, that I wouldn’t have made if I hadn’t hung out with someone that was more committed to his passion than I was at that time.

Bottom line, Mom was right. Be careful who you spend time with. They will influence you.

Swimming in the Rush of Business Change

Wednesday, 23rd July 2014

Business today is a rush of change. The technology and how to best use it in swimmingyour business is constantly moving and growing. Businessowners are drowning in new information, new opportunities, and the promising new ways of running a business. Many work to adapt to the newest and greatest technology, trying to keep up with the way social media changes and the other shiftings in the computer world. So how does a business person navigate through all the mounds of change and glut of information? How do they find a way to grow their business the way they want it?

One of the most helpful modern technologies for getting around to new places is the GPS system. GPS systems outline the routes that you can take to get to where you want to go. They will show you alternative routes, and the GPS never gets upset and is very matter of fact when the driver makes a wrong turn.

There are different levels of help a GPS can provide. I had a GPS guide me when I traveled through Idaho. When I came to a stop, the GPS said, “Now get out and walk.” I was on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. That’s when I knew its guidance had flaws. The same thing has happened when the GPS announced that I have arrived at my destination when I am driving in the middle of an intersection.

I have worked with other GPS systems that function much better than the one that got me lost. Some of my favorite GPS systems are the ones that configure the current traffic and what the best routes are to take, considering the typical parking lot of cars during rush hour.

Just as there are different levels of GPS systems, there are different levels of business coaches. Some coaches are middle of the road, and will get you to the places you want to go some of the time. Others have many more tools as their resources that factor in what direction your business is going, and where gridlock will stop your progress.

No coach can foresee everything that will prevent you from going from point A to point B, but those coaches who are on top of their game have had a lot of experience with helping business men and women through the forest, and their directions will be more clear than the coaches who lack as much experience.

The influx of change that is constantly flooding the market makes it so that a business person may be harming themselves when making the decision to not get the help of a GPS coach who can guide them through the maze. It would best serve the business person to make sure that they get the best kind of GPS system or coach that keeps their finger on the pulse of the market and knows about the changes, so that their directions will keep the congested areas of business in mind.

The Ground Stretch Principle for Real Business Growth

Wednesday, 16th July 2014

After the first couple of years of starting his or her business,  the business owner often shifts the attention from creating a business and getting it going, to how to grow the business.  This is the next stage in business growth, and can be a tricky one if not approached with solid principles in place.

During the first couple of years, the business owner is often  maxed out on time, especially if he/she is wearing multiple hats because there is not enough profit to bring in help.  There comes a point in most businesses where regular profit is coming in, and the owner starts thinking about how to expand in a way that he or she will make more money and not have to work so hard as they had to in the beginning.

It at this point the Ground Stretch Principal comes into play.  In yoga the yogateacher first starts the practice off with some grounding techniques.  The teacher will often have the class take deep breaths and to also set specific intentions for the practice.  This grounding practice helps the yogi student’s mind to settle and prepare for what will be coming and to determine what kind of experience they want to have.

When a business owner desires to progress to the next level in their business, it’s time to take a moment to ground themselves before they start making plans.  This grounding will serve them by delving to a deep center place.  This in turns enables the owner to build their business from a place of power.

After the yoga teacher has led the class through some starting positions, the teacher often guides the class into more challenging positions.  The teacher will then encourage the class to breathe into the posture, thus allowing the student to get deeper into the position.  After the yogi has grounded into the pose, then the teacher will encourage the student to go deeper into the stretch.  I am always amazed at how much deeper I can go the second or third time around after I have given my muscles a chance to understand the position. Eventually the muscles relax into the position, thus giving me the ability to stretch deeper.

This same principle works in growing your business. The more the owner grounds into where they are and then learns what systems and structures need to be in place, then through guidance get into that position, it is time for some grounding.  The owner holds that new way of being in business until he or she is slightly comfortable, then it is time to stretch their abilities a little more and sink into that task.

Grounding and stretching works well to progress in your yoga practice, and the same principles works well if applied to growing your business practice.

Zone Blocks to Increase Productivity

Wednesday, 9th July 2014

taskingWhen creative entrepreneurs research time management and how they can get more done, they are often told they need to put everything on a calendar and schedule it.  I have talked to many creative entrepreneurs who have tried this only to get frustrated.

The reason the creatives get frustrated is that they aren’t wired to follow a schedule and be told that they need to do this exact thing at this exact time and proceed through their day like that.

I have found that most creatives I have worked with do better by implementing an energy management system.  What is an energy management system?  This is a system where the entrepreneur works with the flow of his or her energy and capitalize on it.  For example, most entrepreneurs’ energy is highest in mid-morning, so scheduling  the most important tasks between 10 am-1pm often works well. Doing the most important task first, gives a boost of energy by just knowing that task is handled.  That boost of energy helps a creative person to stay motivated and finish the next thing on the list.

Another important part of energy management is to know what helps you to get the kind of energy that you need to accomplish the tasks before you.  For instance, most entrepreneurs need to do some kind of consistent marketing. I have found that for me to set aside a marketing day is a great way to accomplish one of my least favorite tasks.  I bunch all my marketing-like tasks together to do on Wednesday.  Why Wednesday?  Because Wednesday is the day I get up early and go to a network meeting.  I know by being around all that networking and marketing energy I am more likely to absorb it on that day and to run with it.

I also know that being an introvert and doing all that outgoing stuff,  like talking to people for a whole day, will drain me, so the next day I schedule is an introvert day, and I do my introvert tasks like writing.

Another thing to look at is which day is the best day to get all those annoying little things done.  I love bunching them together and blasting through them.  I often schedule those for days that are filled with interruptions, and it is hard for me to get flow—or in mother language, it’s an early day out of school for my children,  so in-between clients, I am constantly driving back and forth to school.

Now what you need to do probably won’t look the same as mine, but hopefully you can see how I arrange my days around my energy. The environment, and tasks I need to do affect my energy, so if I plan for this, I can show up as my best, to get the tasks done.  Using this perspective, you can draft the perfect energy management system for you.