The Power of Appreciation – Using Thanksgiving and Gratitude To Build Your Business.

When things are challenging, like the current times, we can get focused on what’s wrong in our businesses and what we don’t have. Here’s a Thanksgiving tip to help you turn your business around, and help you enjoy your holiday more. The Power of Appreciation.

What is appreciation? Is it just a word or a positive thought? No, think of it this way… You buy a house. Let’s say it’s a good, solid house but not in great repair. Now, you have the opportunity to appreciate or depreciate it.

You can feel bad that you couldn’t get a better house. You can look at it, focus on all the things wrong with it, all the work that needs to be done, get overwhelmed, see it as a problem and too hard. You then let the lawn go, park cars in the yard, let it fall apart. You’ve seen the houses, you know what I mean. It decreases in value. You then have less than you started with.

Your other option is to feel glad that you got a house and know that this house can be great. It may even be a step to a better house. You can focus on all that’s right with it. Pay attention to what’s good about it. Is the foundation good? Is there something about it that you really like? Maybe it’s a room or a certain feature. Focus on what’s good, create a vision for yourself of what it could be, what you could do with it and start making those changes. As you do, make the most of it by continuing to appreciate it. Noticing how much better it’s getting and how much closer it’s moving you toward your next goal. Also appreciating you for what you’re doing to make it better, what skills you’re learning and who you’re being by your being thankful. You’re property appreciates… and so do you.

So, what about you and your business (or maybe it’s your work history, skills and resume, or even your current job) are you appreciating what you have? Are you taking the good that is and adding value? When was the last time you really focused on all that is good about it… or you? When was the last time you really took stock?

We can get so caught up in all that there is to do, all that we don’t have, and we can get overwhelmed or frantic. Instead of writing a “To Do List” how about writing a “Look What I’ve Accomplished and Built List” a list of all the positives and assets in you and your business (or job/past skills and job experience).

After you’ve created that list, take some time to really sit with all the good that you’ve built. Think of the skills and talents you’ve grown, and who you’ve become in the process. I’m visual so I like to think of it like with the house… I imagine walking from room to room putting your attention on what’s right. What do you have? A website? Some skills…which ones? Really look. How about your connections, past clients/customers, contacts, people that you have or could partner with? What else?

Get caught up and excited in appreciation of what you have, get excited about it. Now see where you can add value. What can you do to make it even better? What skills or traits do you want to grow to make your self even more valuable…to get you where you want to go?

Thanksgiving is a time for being thankful… I like to use life lessons in business, and business lessons in life. Appreciate what you have and what you have built… of your business, of your self, of your life. Find and pay attention to your value and see what happens.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with blessings and love!
Lisa

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A Prescription for Success: Are You Doing What It Takes?

Are you committed to your success or are you committed to…something else?

One measure, look at the results of your business and life. Do you have what you want? Is it the life and the work that you dream of?

WARNING: Before we go on, know that you might read the next paragraph and think, “That’s not me. I don’t do that.” But before you quit reading, consider whether you are having the results in your business and are reaching the level of success you want. If the answer is no, then read on…especially if you don’t want to!

The second measure, ask yourself if you are you spending your time building and creating what you want? Do you have a plan and goals; are you taking steps each day to build your dream, to create the success you want? Or… and this is where it gets uncomfortable… or, are you spending your time making excuses, blaming, complaining, telling your story about why it didn’t or doesn’t work, using the economy as an excuse, or just avoiding thinking about it at all?

That might be uncomfortable to read. What’s more uncomfortable is to have your dreams fail because you aren’t facing what isn’t working. The reality is this: either you are building what you want, or you’re trying to become comfortable with what’s not working by focusing elsewhere.

It is up to you to decide… do you want the success and life you desire or do you want the excuse? You can’t have both. This may sound harsh but I’d rather get in your face now, get you uncomfortable with what’s not working so that you’ll make the changes you need to, to have the life you desire.

Maybe you believe that you can’t, that you don’t know how, that you’re not good enough, etc. Whatever your limiting belief is, I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. You have everything within you and available to you. You just need to take the first step, then the next. So, let’s get to the solution. The way to change anything is to change what you think, say and do. That’s it.

The Prescription:

1. Listen to yourself. What are you saying, in the world and in your head? Are you talking success or failure? Are you talking and thinking, “I can” and “It’s possible”? You’re not going to find solutions if you’re not looking for them. If your thoughts are on “I can’t” you’re not looking for solutions, you’re looking for excuses. You are smart and capable, so you’ll find whatever you’re looking for.

2. Get really uncomfortable and face what isn’t working. What do you want that you don’t have? Success? Great relationships? Enough money? Time to play?  What aren’t you doing that you need to be doing? Are you showing up and following through or not? Are you being the person, on a daily basis, that will get you the success and the life that you want? If you’re not, face it.

3. DECIDE that you are going to do what it takes to change. Change won’t happen until you decide to make it happen. Get to the point that you say, “I hate this! I want something different! I’m going to do something about it!” Then…

4. Change your thoughts and words to support your success. There is a catch to this though. With all the self help and spiritual tools out there, people are learning to make the uncomfortable comfortable. So use your thoughts and words not to make yourself comfortable with what isn’t working, but to believe in yourself and believe that what you desire is possible. Thoughts and words are often just habitual so stay conscious and practice thinking and talking like a winner until it become a habit, then keep doing it.

5. Do something. I’ve found that we usually know what to do, at least the next step. The trick is doing it. Do what you know you need to do today. The next step that’s right in front of you, do it. When you’ve done that, what’s next? Do that.

6. Go for it! Take the risk. Do what you really want to do. I know it’s not easy to really go for what you want, to step out on that limb, to close that sale, to change careers, to talk to that successful stranger. It’s risky… but do you really want an easy life? Or, do you want a life filled with great experiences in which you are fully alive, believing in yourself, and making your dreams happen.

Now that you have the prescription, use it to create the life and success you want. This sounds hard until you start doing it. But imagine going for what you really want instead of settling, finding out that you are the person you always knew you could be!

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Fear of Success? What Really Holds Us Back?

I was thinking about the term “fear of success.”  One of my great new clients said it today.  It gets used often when we aren’t getting the results we want and don’t understand why.  What does that mean, really?  Why would we be afraid of success?  Literally it doesn’t really make much sense.  So when we label ourselves with it we can feel something is wrong with us because we’re doing something that is harmful to our selves and why would we do that. 

Well, it’s not fear of success… it is fear of trusting ourselves and standing out.  Fear of trusting that we know what we’re doing and how to do it and saying that.  Fear of standing up or standing out in the world basically saying, “yeah, I know what I’m doing.  I know what’s right or best.”  Fear of being seen and know… and vulnerable.  Yes, vulnerable.  And, that’s not wrong.  It’s very natural and healthy… and it can really get in our way if we let that fear stop us. 

I’ve found in my clients that have a big and very personal mission that this “fear of success” comes up.  Of course it does.  When you want to go out into the world and show your self, in such a bold, personal and vulnerable way, it’s scary. 

When we were kids, we believed we could do anything and be anyone.  We believed that we were artists and singers and… you name it.  Remember?  Then one at a time, or sometimes all at once, people told us we weren’t good at things and we started to question ourselves…  I mean, imagine if you painted like Picasso or Monet, or stood up and said things should be different like Gandhi.  How many teachers would have said, “Wow, that’s great”.  No, they said we weren’t doing it right (get back into the herd)… and some of us believed them… and there is the issue. 

It wasn’t just the that skill we questioned, we also starting distrusting our belief in ourselves… our trust that we knew something, our trust that we knew what was right. 

Rollo May in The Courage To Create wrote “If you do not express your original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.”

So, what do we do about it?  First, what you just read.  Think about all of that.  Think about it when self doubt comes in, when your instincts pop their heads up.  It helps to be conscious in those moments and make a choice versus reacting to the fear. 

What helps is having a mission.  The times when I or my clients really step out of our fear is when we see a need.  That’s one of the reason it’s so good to have a niche and target and a clear focus of how you’re being of service.  (Not having to perfectly know and recite it but having a basic understanding of what you’re here to do, what problem you’re solving and for who). 

The first workshop I designed, I created and gave, even though I was scared because I’d been at an event where people were talking about being very unhappy with their current work or not having any.  I heard their need, strong need, to have fulfilling work that gave them life.  I also heard that they didn’t know what to do about it or how to go about getting it.  Well, that’s what I did through my coaching, help people find their right livelihood.  The problem was, people at the event were family members and not appropriate to coach.  So, how could I serve them?  I could turn what I knew into a workshop or book.  

That workshop I still do and it’s one of my favorites.  I didn’t know then that I’d love giving workshops so much or be so good at it (Oops, did I say that I’m good at it out loud in front of you? ;).  I’ve found that I’m at my most successful when I find that place where I really see a need and also see that I have something to meet that need (not in a needy “I have to” but in a sort of “I love you” and want to help you way… Yes, I know this is business and I’m not “suppose to” say that but I don’t do average business… I’m Going For Extraordinary©.) 

My fear of being seen (“fear of success”) became smaller as I clearly saw that what I had was needed.  That helped me trust myself and what I had… and feel less vulnerable. 

“Fear of success” comes up big when we want to do something different, to do business a bigger, better, or new way, or to lead.  When we can remember and clearly see that what we’re doing is really needed, it helps. 

Who are you here to serve?  What is it you’re hear to do?  Get into the mix.  Start asking them questions.  Find out what they really need… whether a product or service or to lead in a certain way. 

Remember, when those moments of self doubt come in:

  1. Be conscious and choose… it’s only fear of being vulnerable.
  2. Find a place to know that your services are needed. 

You are magnificent…it’s time you trust your self, do what you know is right… and Go For Extraordinary!(tm) in all you do!

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Choose Your Path…. Go For Extraordinary!

Are you seeing closed signs or are you open to possibilities and creating the success and experience you want…in your business or any other part of your life for that matter.  Are you making choices or are you following the crowd, believing what “they” say you can’t do?  Are you ready to Go For Extraordinary!TM

          “In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” – Cassiu Longinus

I live a block from the beach.  A few times a year they close the road along the beach for special events, a 5k run, etc.  This was one of those days. I had somewhere I wanted to be.  There is only one way out of my street… through the closed road.  I got ready and walked outside, and this is where it got amusing…

 On my way to my car one of my neighbors, who could obviously tell I was planning on going somewhere by my outfit, nicely informed me that the road was closed.  She told me that I would not be able to drive out.  I smiled and said, “Really?” with a thoughtful head shake.  And kept walking.  I got in my car and started to drive.  Again, another kind neighbor stopped me and told me that I couldn’t go because the road was closed.  She then went on in detail to tell me how her husband had tried earlier and they hadn’t let him through.  My response, “Oh…hmmm?” kind of thoughtfully.

What I was thinking was, “How interesting that they let that stop them.”  It made me think about how different we are, the choices we make in moments like this.  How some of us see “road closed” signs as things to stop us.  Where others, like me, as merely an opportunity.  It also was a clear allegory of how our beliefs and perceived limitations impact our experiences, our work, our life, how far we go and what we do.  They believed it wasn’t possible… and for them, it wasn’t.  They made their belief true.  And I made my beliefs true too. 

          “When the defining moment comes, either you define the moment, or the moment defines you.”  – Tin Cup 

Our beliefs and perceived limitations create our lives.  Beliefs about what’s possible for our selves, our business, or any other area of our life… before I go into more detail about that and you and your business, let me go on with the story.

What were my options that day as I pulled up to the “Road Closed” attendant?  Stop and think of a couple choices before you read on…  What would you have done?

What did I do?  I drove up to the attendant at the “Road Closed” sign.  My window was open and I had a smile on my face.  As the person walked up I asked, “Is there any way I can get through?  I just need to go a block to get on a through street.” 

The attendant leaned over as if we were conspiring, and said with a big grin, “If you wait just a minute, there’s a space between runners and we’ll sneak you through.”  She and I shared a look, a laugh, and in a moment, I was on my way.  (And I think the whole experience left us both feeling good.  I know it did for me and in my rear view mirror, I saw her smiling.)

That day,  I created my path. 

We have these choices every day in our businesses, our lives, our experiences, our health, our relationships.  You name it.  Sometimes we are aware of that moment of choice, sometimes not.  It’s all based on our beliefs in what’s possible.

Often we decide what’s possible by what’s going on around us.  We think that what we experienced in the past, or by looking at our present, or looking around us (in our industry, our business, our friends businesses, and what people tell us) is the only thing possible versus deciding what we want to build.  The result is recreating the status quo.

           “The absence of courage in our society, is not cowardice.  The absence of courage is conformity” – Rollo May

It’s like when we used to crawl.  That was what we knew, that was what we did, and  that’s what the other babies did.  We could have believed that there wasn’t anything else, no other way to get around because “that’s what everyone was doing”.  Luckily, there were others walking, we believed maybe we could too… and guess what?  We did.  We had to take risks.  We had to do what we’d never done before and what we weren’t sure we could.  We fell on our butts.  We got back up and fell again and again.  Then we learned to walk.

The funny thing is, we have a life history of going beyond our perceived limitations, beyond our beliefs about what’s possible in so many ways.  And, what I often do as a coach is help people see and believe that the way business is, is not the way it has to be.  To see that there is a bigger, better way… more values, more empowering, greater success and fulfillment.  And, that they can do it.

          “We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.”  Max DePree

Are there things about your business that you’re doing because that’s what everyone does?  It’s “normal”, the status quo, it’s what’s expected in your industry.  Are there limits you’ve set on your self, your success, your business, etc. because that’s what others have said is possible, that’s what they accept, or because that’s what you’ve always done?

          “Burnout doesn’t occur because we’re solving problems; it occurs because we’ve been trying to solve the same problems over and over.”  Susan Scott, “Fierce Conversations”

No matter where you are today, you have the opportunity to create your own path, to go where you want to go… to Go For Extraordinary!TM  It starts with the little choices each day… 

Is the road really closed or is that just a sign post?  And is it just a sign to keep the timid out? 

What do you really want to do with your business?  Who do you want to be?  Think outside the box, what really is possible for you and through your business?  And… What will you do next time you see a “Road Closed” sign, or hear it in your head?

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Leading Your Team After a Lay-Off

If you own a company or manage a team within one and have had to lay off employees here are some tips to help you turn adversity into opportunity… to use the lay off to strengthen your team and your position with them.

Any adversity offers us a chance to grow, especially when it’s a group facing a challenge together. Think of those times in your life where you’ve really connected with a group of people through a challenge or catastrophe. Think of the bond that’s built. This is your opportunity to build that with your team.

Here are some tips.

Tip #1. Remember that you are a team, and you’re going through this together. You need to remember that, and you need to remind them of that. This is a hard time for all of you. You’ve got a good team. They’re smart people. They know what’s going on in the world. They know people are getting laid off. They understand the realities of it. They may not like it any more than you do… and that’s the point. You’re all in this adversity together, this uncomfortable situation that you don’t like. It’s not them and you, it’s all of you.

Tip #2. Talk to them, and let them talk to you. Let them know that you aren’t liking it either. Don’t blame the company, don’t complain, just let them know, “I’m upset that we needed to let them go too. This is challenging.” Say more than that but you get the gist. Sometimes we need to be reminded (both management and employees) that none of us like it and we are all in it together.

Let them talk about it too. So many times through things like this, more stress is created because no one is talking which is scary and it makes us wonder. Have an open door policy about this. It’s not just about them wondering what’s going on, aren’t you wondering how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking too? Make it okay to talk about it. Sometimes in work we forget were human… not just human but capable human beings. We can handle it… and it helps to handle it together.

Tip #3. Lead. Many times after a lay off, people are left to just wonder what’s next because the business just seems to continue forward a bit like a funeral march. This is your time to shine. Be a leader. Remind all of you that choices have to be made. The reality is, companies are going out of business. The lay off is to keep yours running. You are the lucky ones. But don’t just talk it… do it. The next part is to start living that, to work on doing more than surviving, work on thriving. It’s your job to lead that.

A long time ago I was demoted. It was very political. You know how those things go. They gave my team to someone else to manage. A few months later, the same thing happened to someone else in the company. We were talking one day. She surprised me. She said, “I wouldn’t have known how to handle it, if I hadn’t watched you. You didn’t complain, blame, lash out, or criticize. You just kept your head high and did your job.”

Be that kind of leader to your team, someone they believe in and have a reason to follow. Which does not mean being perfect, just be someone you feel good about being. It makes all of you feel better and creates loyalty.

Tip #4. Build your new team. Remember that good team of yours? Those people you have left. Have them be your team, your helpers to reorganize. They know their jobs and the department/company. Don’t do it alone, it’s not good for you or for them. Let this time build you as a team. Let your remaining team members know that they are an integral part of the whole, instead of just hanging on to their jobs in hopes that they aren’t next to go.

One of the biggest things I do as a coach is to get you looking forward. It’s easy to look at what we lost and what’s not working. My job is to get you thinking about what you want to build next, get you to start planning forward and even get excited about it. An adversity like this offers an opportunity to reorganize, to build something… maybe even something better. What do you really want? What will you make of this new team of yours?

Tip #5. Vision and Create. Now that you’ve read these but before you do any of these steps… think of your team. Think of the individual strengths that all of you have. Think of what you want to build with them. Create a vision for yourself of how you’d like to it be. This is a ripe opportunity to rebuild your team in a new way. Come up with some ideas and some action steps.

What’s interesting, often in corporations people aren’t as busy as they’d like to be. They are bored. People want to feel useful and work at something that feels like it’s worth doing. Creating a leaner, more powerful team that really values it’s members may be the best thing to happen to your group.

A personal note to you. I know this is hard. These are challenging times. Make the best of it for yourself. Focus forward on what you want to create. Remember each adversity offers an opportunity, and make the most of what you have. Keep your eye on your vision, not just of getting through this but of making something great of it. Now go do it. Build that new team of yours, with their help.

Go For Extraordinary!
Lisa

If you feel stuck through any of this and want help, call me 206.937.1037 or email me at Lisa@LisaKBradley.com. We can do a single coaching session to get you focused on the opportunity you have in front of you to build something good. We’ll come up with a plan and action steps for you. If you’d like help with talking with your team, have me come and do a Mastermind Session with all of you. I’ll support you in coming up with a plan and actions, and build a powerful team. We can get you thinking forward, empowered, inspired to take on the world in a new way.

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Are You Avoiding What Could Bring You The Most Success?

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Is the current economy, the news and whatever adversity you’re facing in your own life making everything feel difficult? Are you feeling stuck?

Is there that one thing, or a maybe a few things, that you know you should face and take care of poking at you? It’s in the back of your mind every minute. Maybe it’s a call from a creditor that you need to return, mail to open, a voicemail to listen to, or checking your investments or bank balance, maybe it’s about your business, or maybe something personal.

Whatever it is, when we avoid something, like that thing poking at you, and don’t face it… it eats at our self esteem. We start thinking we can’t handle things, not just that thing but other things. We start believing that whatever it is we’re facing is bigger than we are.

Is that how you’re feeling? Would you like to feel better?

Take a deep breath. There’s only one thing to do. You know you have to face it. Simple, but not so easy, right? Maybe it is?

Have you ever had that experience of finally facing something and finding out it wasn’t as bad as you thought? Or maybe it was as bad as you thought or worse but it was easier to face and know than to have it looming like some huge monster in the closet.

What it really takes is The Decision To Face It… and Just Do It!

What I know is… You’re courage and willingness to face whatever that thing is that you’ve been avoiding can build your sense of personal power. What does that mean? Facing the challenge head on can be just the thing to strengthen you enough to take the next step, and the next and start making things better for you.

Are you ready? Are you willing to face your adversity, to take the bull by the horns, to know “I am the power in my world and I can do this!” Yes! Go! Take that first step to turn things around. You will feel so much better about yourself, and life might still be challenging but you’ll have a chance and a choice to make it better.

Remember:
– You can do this.
– You are not alone, there are so many people out there having a hard time. Get in community with people that are challenged too – just make sure they’re also working on stepping forward too.
– Ask for help, or someone to lean on. Don’t isolate – that just makes it worse.
– Help someone else. It’s great to get help and often it’s equally great to give it. It helps you feel connected again and It helps you remember how capable you are and that you have something of value – who you are, your friendship.

Affirmation: Today I have choices. I am the power in my world. Today, I am doing what it takes to build a better life for myself. I can do this!

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