Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Canada geese show us the way

A few weeks ago out of our back window I watched a gaggle of Canadian geese gather in our field.  There had to be at least 30 of them.  Clearly a networking meeting!  Word was out – this was a happening event.

As they moved from one spot to the other, one led the way, and they walked single file into the next field.  But two were left behind, still sitting in the snow all curled up.  I watched anxiously, were they OK?

Sure enough, they were.  And one went back to collect the other, and somewhat late, they followed the path to where the others were.  There they gathered, nibbled on our corn which has still to be harvested, and prepared for the next move.

By this time, they had broken up into smaller groups – some taking off in flight, some staying put, and others resting. Fast forward to this morning, and just two are resting in the field – maybe the same tardy pair from the day before. Clearly they’ve decided being part of a group is not for them.

Seems to me that they are just like a networking group.  They follow a leader who shows the way, no one is left behind but may just be slower to catch on, and then they find ones who they feel more connected to and hang around with them.  Or they decide that the group is just not their thing.

As a group they sure made enough noise – attracting attention to themselves and maybe that is what we need to do too.  With International Women’s Day just behind us, perhaps we need to speak up about what we need to lead a fulfilled life – one where we are not overwhelmed by what is expected of us, by others and by ourselves.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Be bold. Be brave. Belong.

That’s the theme of our conference this year and I believe the message will resonate with you, because after all as small business owners, at different stages of your business, you have had to be bold and brave to enter and survive in the world of entrepreneurship.

Our speakers Shanna McFarlane and Nadja Piatka are trailblazers and our role models, having paved their way to become super successful in their business ventures. They will be sharing their inspiring journeys with us.

The courage panel this year is made up of women who have demonstrated their bravery in different ways – finding resilience in a life threatening situation; throwing her all (financially) to follow her business dream and overcoming personal challenges after an accident.  In each instance, their fortitude and tenacity to stay the course, no matter what, is to be applauded.

As for the “belong” – that’s you.   As women business owners we’ve created our own “club” – the Company of Women community.  We are there for each other, and we welcome you to come, join in and belong. You don’t have to be alone with you own. 

Finally let’s just say you will really be connected and belong together by the end of the dayJ

Check out the website  Early bird rates are available until April 1st.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Celebrate our women leaders

It is late.  It has been a busy week and I am exhausted.  Yet here I am, not able to sleep, unable to turn off the brain with ideas bubbling to the surface.   

So I am sitting at the computer trying to capture my thoughts and lessons from International Women’s Week.  Like every year at this time, there are a flurry of events to celebrate the occasion, and it is an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come and how far we still need to go. 

I had the pleasure of listening to two amazing women – Barb Stegemann and Fay Chapple.  And what struck me as I reflect on their keynote presentations, is that the trigger to their success was a disastrous life event that propelled them into action, and changed not only their lives, but had far reaching impact on others around the world.

I applaud their optimism and ability to turn a tragedy into a triumph. They inspire you to look beyond yourself, to step out of your comfort zone and aim for the stars.   Fay’s advice, for example, to take risks and to stretch yourself, truly resonated with me.  As she asked, what’s the worst that can happen?   While Barb readily acknowledged that not everyone will like your idea and that’s OK, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad idea and we need to trust our instinct and intuition and move on.

Rather than getting caught up in a pity party or just accepting what had happened as a done deal, both women were pragmatic and sought to find answers; to find some meaning in what had happened. In fact, Barb encouraged us to accept the challenges in our lives as a gift.

With their business savvy, their energy and tenacity, there is no question in my mind that they will achieve greatly and continue to make a difference in the lives of others.  We need more women leaders like them. We need young women to hear their stories, so they see  role models paving the way on their behalf. We need to step up ourselves and become who we are meant to be.  We owe that to ourselves.

I salute Barb and Fay and all the other women in the world who are striving to make it a better place. 

Happy International Women’s Day. 

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Step back and start over

How do you make your coffee?  We have a Bodum, but sometimes no matter what you do, the plunger sticks stubbornly at the top refusing to go down and press the coffee grains. 

What I have discovered is that if you remove the plunger all together and start over, it magically goes down, no problem and voilà you have a great cup of coffee.

I wonder if this is what we need to do with our businesses sometimes?  We start a new project, all excited, but nothing, nothing seems to be going right.  Perhaps what we need to do, is step back, take ourselves out of the equation, rethink, and start over again.

Perhaps it is timing, or maybe not the right people on the bus with you, or have you been pressured in this direction by someone else, and it’s not really what you want to do? Whatever the reason, forging ahead is not the answer – and in the case of the coffee pot, you’d likely break it and create a right mess to boot.

So when you are faced with some roadblocks, maybe look at why and at what the universe is trying to tell you, before trying to catapult yourself over them, because maybe, just maybe, you weren’t supposed to go in that direction at all.