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Set Yourself Apart from Your Competitors

Monday, 2nd June 2014

How do you set yourself apart from your competitors? This is an important marketing and business question that most business owners find themselves answering on a semi-regular basis. If your business is based on craft or a skill that you love to do not only would you be answering this question based on marketing distinction but the business owners often ask this question from the point-of-view of improving their craft or skill.

The path of mastery is an ambitious journey and one that requires dedication. In

highwire

the book Talent Is Overrated, it is explained that scientific research suggests that the more time a person puts into their craft, the more likely he/she will achieve the top mastery level. The book also suggests that one of the biggest determining factors to help you soar in mastering your craft is how often and how well you engage in practice. Not just any practice, but a different method from the average person’s performance while practicing, compared to those who achieve mastery. For the artist and the businessperson, it is important to perform “deliberate practice.” In their heavily researched findings, deliberate practice looks a very specific way.

Before we get into what it looks like, lets first define it. Deliberate practice is a way to engage in an activity that creates growth in skills that you are not strong in. That means that the person practicing is engaged in the part or parts of their craft that they are weakest. They work on it and practice it until they achieve a high level of skill. An example of this in business would be to approach a customer for a sale of your product or service. A businessperson who wants to become top in their field, and if sales happens to be part of it, would ask for the sale, practicing over and over again until they figured out what works and what doesn’t.

Here are the five components, according to Talent is Overrated, that have to be included in deliberate practice:

  1. The task is designed specifically to improve performance, often with a teacher or coach’s help
  2. Repeat the task often
  3. Feedback is given on the result in a consistent manner
  4. The activity is highly demanding mentally
  5. The actual doing of the practice isn’t much fun

If you want to set yourself apart from your competitors in the actual delivery of your craft, the only way to authentically achieve this, according to research, is through dedicating many hours practicing, using the right methods.

Going Against the Mastermind

Tuesday, 27th May 2014

wise owls

My entire mastermind group told me what I was about to do was a big mistake. Not quietly, but with adamant lectures about how I was throwing away everything that I had built up, and that if I continued down the path I had chosen, that all I would end up with at the end of it was a piece of paper and lots of wasted time and money.

I had recently been filed with divorce papers, and as I thought about that experience and what I wanted to create in the future, I declared to myself that I wasn’t going to settle in the romantic relationship department. As I looked around at the men in my life, the thought occurred to me that I might be single for a while. The next thought immediately popped into my head, “Then I am going back for my MFA in Writing.” A few hours later I started the application process.

I had wanted to get an MFA in Writing for years. It was one of my dreams, so I was completely surprised at the reaction of my mastermind group. They told me that I was selling myself short. My business was about ready to take off in a big way, and this decision was a way for me to sabotage or to hide from success.

Their reaction caused me to pause and to think. What determines sabotage? What defines following one’s dreams? What is the action of hiding versus an act of following one’s passion? Could it just be a matter of perception? How does one determine if a sacrifice is worth it?

I mumbled to my mastermind group that I was going to be a single mother now and needed a steadier job. I also needed health insurance. There just so happened to be the dean of a university in my mastermind group, and he shook his head. “You make more now and you know it. You will never be able to make as much as a teacher as you would doing coaching. If you do this you are leaving a lot of money on the table.” He let that settle before he added, “Do you have any idea how much time a master’s requires? I see so many people work around the clock, and what they end up with in the end is a piece of paper. You don’t need that paper. You could teach at colleges right now, unless you want to become a professor.”

The sad truth was that he was right. The group was right. So what did I decide to do? I am now currently in the MFA for Writing program. Why? Because it is my dream. When it boiled down to it, one question helped me to decide on whether to continue to work for the MFA or to build my business. The question wasn’t how much money I’d make because coaching fulltime would be a better choice money-wise. It wasn’t about spending the past years building a business and if I walked away how much time I would I lose. No, instead, the question that cleared my head was: When I die will it matter to me if I made it as an extremely successful business person? The answer was “No.” Then the next question: Would I regret not learning as much as I could about the craft of writing and giving that love of my mine one more chance? “YES!”

Bottom line, there are a lot of ways to look at your big decisions and where you are going in your life. If you want to make the right decisions for you, it is time to get really honest and to sort through what you value most and go for it!

Implementation Day

Monday, 19th May 2014

checks

Many entrepreneurs are overwhelmed with all the daily operations of their business. They struggle to make progress in the areas they want to grow.  Others suffer from so many things to do that they feel they are never truly gaining ground on anything. A great solution for this dilemma is called “implementation day”. This is a day where the entrepreneur blocks out the entire day to get something important done. If you cannot make time for an entire day, even a half-day will yield great rewards. Some of the types of implementation days I have created and have worked with others to try are:

  • Marketing days, where we worked on the marketing
  • Copyrighting
  • Launch dates
  • Article writing days, where I wrote articles for my newsletter, finished up creating an e-course, and wrote an e-course.

As you can see, the tasks can be just about anything that you need  to grow your business or to keep your business running smoothly. Here are some of the rules for establishing an effective Implementation Day:

  • Have an implementation day buddy.
    It is way too easy not to hold true to the day and getting things done. It’s easy to let other things take over the day when you don’t have a partner to hold you accountable.
  • Go somewhere different.
    It is best if you can go somewhere that is not easy for distractions to find you.  If you are able to really focus on your task and not have a multitude of interruptions, you will more likely get into the flow and have a more successful day.
  • Prioritize what is most important for you to accomplish, and then work down the list.
    It is essential to know what your main goal of the day is and then have a second goal.  Make sure that you have everything you need to get the goal done and you have things lined up.  The point of implementation day is to get things done, so make sure you have organized so there is no thinking about what you are going to do.
  • Be very specific about how often you are going to take breaks and what they look like.
    Breaks are important and needed in order to function and produce, but you don’t want the breaks to get out of hand.  So make an agreement with your accountability partner concerning what you will do and won’t do.
  • Make sure that you have proper nourishment and drink with you.
    It is impossible to keep on working at your best if you are suffering from a sugar low or you are thirsty.  Make sure to have supportive food and drink around you.
  • Keep track of how much you have accomplished.
    Make sure that you note, before you start, where you are in your project, and then mark how much you accomplished by the end of the day.  Being able to see how much you have accomplished is a huge reward that not only gives you a sense of accomplishment but lets you see how effective your implementation day was.
  • Schedule you next implementation day.
    A great thing about implementation days is that they don’t  have to be a one shot day.  It is something that you can put into your schedule on a regular bases.

Your life and your business is going to feel much different after scheduling regular implementation days and giving yourself the blessing of single focus.

 

Want to Destroy Your Business?

Monday, 17th June 2013

Want to Destroy Your Business?

One of the sure-fire ways to destroy your business is by becoming a victim to a terrible epidemic that is sweeping through tons of small business owners and entrepreneurs. This disease is absolutely robbing many would be very successful people of their self-esteem and their self-respect.

The disease is called “comparison despair.” You will know that you are suffering from this illness when you look at others and what their businesses are doing and come away feeling less than. Your energy is draining. It is almost like there is a leak.

Other symptoms are: when once you were passionate about doing a project or moving your business forward, now the fire has died down and doubt is creeping in.

If you, or are anyone you know, are suffering from this illness, get help immediately. One of the first things you can have them do or do for yourself is to list out what you are doing well in your business. Also have the focus on loving the other person and wishing them well.
If this doesn’t stop the problem or the disease is more advanced than a quick fix, can resolve, then it is time to get them to talk to me ASAP. This is a serious ailment and will have long term consequences if not addressed immediately.

 

Are You an Excuse Monster?

Monday, 10th June 2013

Are You an Excuse Monster?

Do you have really good reasons why things aren’t getting done in your business? Then you are an “excuse monster” and it is time for you to quit. I mean it, right now.

Sound bossy? Good. Do it. I mean it. I am so sick of hearing people make excuses about why they can’t grow their business. It is ridiculous. There are people our there that need saving, that need your services, that you were meant to help.

Stop blaming, shaming, rationalizing, and get out there and do the work that you were meant to do.

Scared?

Great. Perfect. That is exactly what you should be. If you are not scared then you aren’t stepping up your game big enough. So stop sitting around and hiding–go out there and make the difference you were meant to make–your peeps are waiting.

 

Clear the Clutter For Business Success

Thursday, 18th April 2013

Clear the Clutter For Business Success

I believed in the myth of the artist. To be a real artist you need to be starving, disorganized, impulsive and go with the muses. So naturally when I decided to follow my dream of being a writer, I incorporated all the traits of being a real artist in my life.

The problem came when I woke up one day, single mother of six young children who all thought that eating was a good thing. I launched into the business but some bad habits decided to come along with me. One of those bad habits from my artist days was clutter.

I thought it was normal to be buried in mountains of paper. Now I am not talking a little stack here and there, I mean surrounded with at least two feet of paper everywhere you looked.

Then one day I was challenged by my mentor to clean up my environment. He said that I couldn’t attract any more success than I was currently at unless I got rid of the tolerations of clutter. So I decided to at least give it a try.

I hired a professional organizer to just find out how successful business people kept their desk clean, since it was a mystery to me where they put projects that they were working on.

After going through some painful face your issues and get rid of your stuff sessions with the professional organizer, I started noticing a huge change. Not only was my office much cleaner (not completely sterile -which I found lifeless), but I could find information I needed much faster.

Then some weeks passed by and I watched more clients come in, the right office help show up, etc. It was totally cool. I learned through experience that part of growing your business on your terms is to clear out the clutter and stress that tolerations make in the flow of your work.

A huge toleration that slows down many business owners is messes and incompletes. To stop this from hindering your success: write down all incomplete projects, messes, items needing fixing or organizing that are at your work. Start implementing a strategy to reduce the list, keeping in mind your progress rather than getting discouraged at how much is left to do.

Don’t forget to happy dance when each pile disappears. It is a totally cool feeling.

 

What Do You Tolerate?

Tuesday, 26th March 2013

What do you tolerate?

I am so glad you joined me on this adventure to learn how to grow your business your way! This concept means a lot to me because I have made all the mistakes and I know firsthand what a mess it can make in your business and your home life… not to mention how you feel about yourself if you don’t build your business with your own unique personality and style.

You see, when I first started building my company I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just knew that I wanted to help people and I seemed to be pretty good at it since people had been coming to me for help my whole life.

Maybe you are like me and really enjoy helping people. You like that feeling that you have assisted someone achieve something important in their lives. You made a difference. The only problem with starting a business like that is some people (like me) love saying YES to everyone and everything that comes along.
I found myself saying yes to everything, then feeling completely overwhelmed by too many things to do. And what happens with a lot of people, my children and my health were getting the short end of my energy and attention.

After experiencing some severe health conditions, I finally woke up and realized that I was hardly helping anyone, including my family and myself, the way I was going about it. I learned that by saying “Yes” to something I was saying. “No” to lots of something else.

I became much more careful of what I would agree to do. The funny thing about that was I had more time for my family, my health, doing what I wanted … and my business grew.

Let’s see what can happen for you.

An important step to knowing your own terms is to outline what you tolerate and what you won’t.

Take a good look at what you will say yes to and what you’ll say no to.

Ex: I will say no to have fear control my decisions in my personal or business life.

Ex: I will say yes to love and kindness that is offered me.

After you know your terms, have a great time living them!

Overcoming Overwhelm and Self Sabotage

Thursday, 24th January 2013

How can you tell if instead of Stepping It Up™ into a fulfilling, enriching life you have taken on too much and hit the common ailment of feeling overwhelmed? Symptoms of being overwhelmed can be physical (nail biting, clumsiness, neck ache); psychological (forgetfulness, rudeness, defensiveness); social (poor hygiene, inadequate boundaries); or spiritual (loss of sense of purpose, unsure of what’s important).

Issues that trigger overwhelm are just as individual: a deadline, a certain tone of voice, change, change in circumstances.

Noticing these symptoms and triggers is like setting off the two-minute warning buzzer—giving you time to implement your proven intervention techniques.

The Strategies
Write down all the nurturing things you can think of to do when overwhelm begins to visit. They’ll help you reconnect with yourself, to re-collect and re-focus your energy inside. Keep a copy with you and one at home. When you begin to notice your particular symptoms and/or triggers, use the list to remind yourself of things that have worked in the past. Here are just a few suggestions. Be as creative as you want.

Breathe. Remember the breath’s metaphor: Let in; let go.

Wrap up in a blanket. Cuddle.

Dance alone, with or without music. Let your body lead the way.

Listen to violin, cello or piano music. Let the music elicit tears.

Light a candle. Maybe it’s one small candle at your work desk or lots of candles around your house.

Watch a funny video. Laughter has a positive effect on brain chemistry.

Ask for help. It’s a gift that allows others the opportunity to give.

Go for a walk. Exercise increases adrenaline and endorphins, the body’s natural antidepressants.

Lie on the grass outside. Connect with the earth’s regenerating powers.

Go to your room—or your car—and sing to yourself. Or hum quietly as you work.

Practices
A practice of any kind can keep you tethered to yourself in those times when overwhelm wants to scatter your energy to the wind. Regularly repeated, these practices are best cultivated in times when things are going well so that they are there to sustain you when you get overwhelmed. Some examples:

Say a small prayer, read a meditation book or holy book or recite a poem each morning to greet the day.

Walk the dog while whispering all the things for which you forgive yourself.

Write in a journal as fast as you can for 15 minutes first thing in the morning without editing or judging. Pour it all out on paper.

Do the “Salute to the Sun” yoga postures every morning after arising.

Things to do today:
1.Inhale
2.Exhale
3.Inhale
4.Exhale
5.Inhale
6.Exhale

Life can put a lot of demands on you and it is up to you to Step It Up™ and make sure that you claim more out of life than stress and an ever growing “to do” list. If you are finding it difficult to implement a regular practice of self-care or that overwhelm has become too much feel free to write Lisa@StepItUpQueen.com for additional support.

Peak Performance Training: Step It Up and Get Results!

Wednesday, 12th December 2012

Most small business owners I coach want to earn more and work less. This is not a fairy tale wish, or a desire because they are lazy, but a real desire; an aspiration to reach their potential in both their personal and professional lives.

For the business owners to start getting those results—fewer hours and more money—they must implement principles of success to an even a higher level than they currently are.
One of the most important principles is mapping out what is possible. A great story from the winter of 2009 illustrates this point. At the time, I was busily working at my home computer, buried under mountains of projects, a small heater blew in an effort to keep me warm.

An instant message clicked on, so I hastily focused on my IM manager. I was totally unprepared to see an unexpected bump into the past as I glanced at the chatter and did a double take.
Red. It was my redheaded girlfriend from church and school. How long had it been since I’d had contact with her? It’s been almost twenty years. Wow.
We quickly began chatting, and then she got to her reason for IM-ing me. “I read your Facebook postings. How can you be so happy all the time?”
Bam. I had to roll back in my office chair. I’d never seen myself that way. But from my training to be a coach, I knew her question wasn’t about me, but about her. She must be suffering to go to the effort to look me up and establish contact.
Curious about what could be bothering her, I scheduled a phone appointment. A few days later, we talked, and I found a friendly person completely overwhelmed by her husband’s brutal dismissal from a successful business and the backstabbing he suffered.
The ugliness of the situation weighed on her, causing her to have a bleak outlook for her family’s future. It was clear her husband’s lay-off weighed her down, preventing her from remembering what was possible.
“What do you want?” I asked.
After some reflection, she said, “I want him to have a job where he is valued.”
“Is that possible?” I asked.
“I don’t know. With the economy being what it is, and so many people losing their jobs—”
I interrupted her. “I think it is possible your husband can not only get another job quickly, but a higher paying one where he is valued.”
“You do?”
“Don’t you? You just told me how he was the key person in the last business, right?”
“Oh, yes. He made them so much money. They still need him. They keep calling, asking questions on how to do things.”
“So why can’t he get a better job?”
“We live in a small town.”
“So?”
“I guess he could get a better job. No, you’re right. He can.”
Using an effective coaching question, I asked, “What’s next?”
“For me to believe in the power of the possible.”
Don’t you just love that phrase—the power of the possible?
If you believed in the power of the possible, what would you believe in? What would you dare consider that could happen? With my redheaded friend, I wasn’t sure what would happen, but I did know she would be happier if she held onto the power of the possible.
Two weeks later, I heard from her again.
“I wanted to thank you,” she started off, and then got to the juicy part. “My husband got a job last week. You won’t believe this—he loves his job. They treat him well, and the best part is that he’s making more than he did in his last job.”
As soon as she shifted to how she was showing up in her own life, her whole family’s circumstances changed. What amazed me was the impact a spouse’s belief can have All she had to do was plug back in to her natural optimistic self. That was enough to energize the whole situation. Her belief in her husband was enough for him to do what he needed to in order to get to his next professional level.

Stop right now and write down what situation in your life currently needs some energizing. Look at it and ask, “What’s possible?” Now believe in the power of the possible and get the results you want out of your life and your business.

Stop Sabotaging Yourself in Your Career

Tuesday, 4th December 2012

When was the last time you felt completely drained, like you did not belong in your job? Ever ask what you were doing at the job in the first place? What if I told you it was possible to do the work you choose, and you don’t have to have that awful, overwhelming feeling again?

One of my clients in 2009 was a cute Asian girl with short, trendy hair, a black business suit, and large, sad, brown eyes. As we began to work together, I discovered a beautiful, radiant artist’s soul. She arrived in Utah from a cosmopolitan area with a history of miserable jobs in sales and a passion for the big city. Not long after moving to the middle of the Rockies, she wondered why she suffered from so many headaches, bouts of the flu and colds, and felt absolutely drained most of the time.


She quickly discovered that the job she found in Utah was not giving her enough money to meet her bills. She’d found work in what she thought was perfect for her—a young, progressive company with lots of opportunities. But it did not take long before she felt completely disconnected. The stress of being miserable at the job began to affect her health. On came the headaches and the flu. She called in sick more and more. Since her jobs were based on performance, her ability to financially put her student husband through school was seriously compromised. Eventually, after months of this high stress, her long-suffering and patient husband gave a “we can’t continue like this” talk.

Desperate, and knowing she had her living, health, and marriage on the line, she tearfully asked me what the problem was. Why was she so miserable with a job she thought she would be good at? How could she get herself into a better place? I immediately prescribed a value assessment to determine her top three to five values.

Upon taking the test, it became clear that what she was missing was not honoring one or more of her values in each of her duties. After looking at her list of values, she said, “Now I understand why I’m so miserable.” She started asking herself questions like: “If I value aesthetics so much, why am I not pursuing a career that includes them?” and, “How can I bring more of my values into my current job until I am at the right spot to change jobs?”
Over the next couple of weeks, she thought about her top values and whether her work honored them. She came to a deep understanding what that really meant to her. As a result, major shifts followed in her job, housing situation, and health.

Those few critical questions set her on a completely different path. Since then she has chosen the industry she wants to be in, has gotten training to prepare her for that path, and has made huge shifts in what she looks for in jobs that help her get by until she qualifies for the one she wants to land eventually. She’s not sick as often, and her husband has time to focus on his studies. Best of all, when she thinks about her career, she is on fire with the passion that makes her ready to take on the future.

What are your top three values? Are you honoring them in every area of your life? If not, Step It Up and Be on Fire completely, by living within your values.