Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Time for change?

As you enter 2014 what are your plans to take your business forward?  Will you be repeating what you did last year, or making changes?  Have you considered doing the same thing, but delivering it differently?

Kudos to Tim Hortons for going where the trends are going.  They could so easily just have stayed where they were – with a Tim Hortons on every corner, and their cans of coffee sold in local supermarkets, but no.   They realized that more and more people are using the fancy coffee making machines, that require individual packages of coffee. And not wanting to lose out on this market, have set about packaging their coffee that way.

They saw where the future was going, and went there too, instead of providing the same old, same old.

Last year we started to offer webinars in a big way – with three sessions a month – and apart from some technical glitches beyond our control, it has gone well.  We recognized that women don’t always have the time to travel and meet face to face, in order to benefit from the knowledge of others, and with webinars, they can be in their PJs taking in useful information when it suits them best.

My goal for 2014 is to do more online, and maybe even deliver a few webinars myself.  Now this is a stretch goal, because I am technologically-challenged, but I am determined to move with the times.

I challenge you to ask yourself if there is something you are doing that you need  to change?  Is what you are offering still attracting the same audience, or do you need to change it up?  What are the new trends in your industry?  Think about it. When we put our client/customers’ needs front and centre, instead of what we want to offer or sell, we provide what they want to buy.

As Henry Ford said  “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.”  Maybe it is time to change.  Take a risk, venture out and offer your programs or services differently. You might be surprised at the results.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Life and business lessons from 2013

As the year comes to a close, it seems timely to reflect on what I’ve learned this year, both personally and professionally.  

Like most women, I find my work and family life often overlap, each impacting who I am, what I do and how I think.  

To me, 2013 was a year of personal and business growth, loss and gain.  It was a year of transition, as we moved from our family home of 28 years and with it came adjustments and change.


                        1.              Selling a home is a lengthy, stressful process.
2.              Decluttering frees you from the past.
3.              With old friends, you can pick up where you left off.
4.              When you meet a kindred spirit, you can become instant good friends.  
5.              Losing a pet is tough.
6.              Being generous with your time can mean a lot to other people.


1.              Near perfect is OK
2.              Ignore competition.  Believe and stay true to your vision.
3.              Step outside your comfort zone, and doors open.
4.              Pay attention to synchronicity, it can lead to great outcomes
5.              Do the math. Make sure everything is included before you set a price.
6.              Do what you love, delegate the rest.

What about you?  What have you learned about yourself this year?  


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Choose three words to live your life by

For the last two years, I have chosen to come up with three words to live my life by, instead of making New Year resolutions that I likely won’t keep.

For 2013 my three words were creativity, energy and connectivity and I did well by these choices.  The prior year, for example I had focused on my health, as I hadn’t been that well, so choosing energy was speaking to the fact that not only did I feel much better, but my energy level was up and I was able to accomplish more.

Creativity should probably be an ongoing word for me, because when I am not able to be creative, I feel stifled and boxed in.  Being able to tap into my creativity is therefore essential and boosts my energy level no end. 

Our 2013 conference, Journey 2 Success, was by far the most successful – partly because of the rich content and the introduction of our making the pitch contest which challenged my members’ creativity but also because of the sponsors we had on board – connectivity at its best.  

We also branched out into further domains, with a new chapter in Winnipeg, connections made in Vancouver and a highly successful Five Days to Feeling Fabulous webinar series that brought thirty health care professionals together and was viewed by over 560 people from around the world.

So all told, I felt I lived up to my three words, which makes choosing them for next year more challenging, but I have.

First is courage.  I want to push myself beyond my comfort zone and start doing more online webinars and programs myself, not just contracting others to do so.  This will mean a huge learning curve, but I know I am a hands-on learner, and the best way for me to learn is to just do it.

My second word is curiosity.  Together with Amy Hunter, I am starting to write another book, but one that is not based on my story, but stories of hundreds of women who fall prey to self-doubt, feeling not good enough or who suffer from the imposter syndrome.  My sense is that thousands of women feel this way at one time or another in their lives, and our goal is to ask questions, dig deep and find some solutions to support women in their quest to being successful on their own terms.

Last but by no means least, the third word is collaboration.  I can’t achieve the above two without collaborating with others, and having learned the hard way, I am being more selective about who I partner up with or with whom I form alliances.  I just know it is the way to go, and I also know myself in that I much prefer to work with people rather than toil away on my own.  You gain such strength, energy and creativity when you work with others who lend their talents to a project.

So, there you have it – the three ‘C’s for my life in 2014 – Courage. Curiosity. Collaboration.

What words would you choose?  I really recommend this approach, it is so much more effective than writing down that you are going to lose weight, be healthy and go to the gym more often.  How long does that last?  They say around six weeks, and then it is back to business as usual.

Change your approach.  Choose your words carefully and create the year you want for yourself. 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Starting from scratch

When was the last time you learned something new, something totally foreign to you?

It is not a comfortable position to be in, especially when you are used to being competent in most of the things you do and undertake.

Well that’s me right now as I take my art lessons over Skype.  I’ve bartered services with an accomplished artist, Lori Goldberg, who I met when I was in Vancouver.  She’s teaching me how to draw while I am helping her with her business direction.

This week I learned the three “Ss” of contour drawing – search, sensitive and slow.  I think it is the latter that I find the hardest.  “Slow” just isn’t in my vocabulary, and with my feelings of inadequacy, I whiz through the exercises that Lori is giving me, just to get them done.  The end result shows my speed and lack of attention to detail.  In fact, as someone who hasn’t picked up a crayon since I was a kid, my results have a childish look  to them.

But Lori is making me slow down; pay more attention to what is around me and to be more curious about what I am seeing. All good business lessons to learn if you are embarking on a new direction.

I can actually see some correlation to the book, Amy and I are writing, because we have to listen, not direct and be prepared to hear the nuances of what people are saying, or more to the point, not saying.

Staring down at my efforts at drawing a hand, it looks as if I have arthritis (I don’t), but my final drawing was way better than the first one.  My drawings are getting more detailed and I am learning patience.  Not that I thought I would be an overnight artist, it is more that this humbling experience is reminding me of what it is like to be the novice and I appreciate the encouraging words from my teacher.  However, I don't think I will be giving up my day job anytime soon.

No lessons in life are ever wasted.  If nothing else this may confirm what my family has been telling me since I started, that while I am creative, perhaps I should stick to my writing.  But who knows, I may surprise them yet.