Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wrong decisions are they just mistakes, or something more?

Photo courtesy of  Stuart Miles,

 I recently read a blog in which the writer was exploring the topic of the wrong decisions we can make, but how we need to make them; otherwise we’d be stuck and too scared to take a risk.

It started me thinking.  In her blog she was more talking about the decision to take a job or not; to start a business or not, and she saw them as mistakes when you make the wrong choice.

Somehow a mistake implies something much smaller than a wrong decision.  A mistake is choosing to attend an event that didn’t meet your needs.  A mistake is forgetting to order supplies when you are running low.  A mistake is posting a blog before proof-reading it.  A wrong decision, on the other hand, in my opinion, has much deeper repercussions.

Like everyone I’ve made my share of mistakes but I prefer to think of them as lessons I needed to learn, albeit the hard way.  The key is to learn the lesson, reflect and not repeat it.  Trust me, there’s always fresh opportunities for you to make mistakes.

But when I reflect back on the wrong decisions I’ve made – they have been more major, and all revolve around people.  Such as partnering up with the wrong person and discovering after the “honeymoon” period is over that it is a total mismatch and that we don’t share the same values or goals after all.   Or hiring someone who creates chaos within the team, and having to let them go.

Yes, it has been my judgment around people that has led to wrong decisions – (and I used to be in HR.)  The trouble with these wrong decisions is that they are tougher to resolve, to terminate or remedy.  In fact, rarely is there a remedy if it is the wrong fit.  People rarely change their stripes.

But like mistakes, there is always the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.  For example, over ten years ago I partnered up with someone to run my first business conference.  While the conference was a success, the behind-the-scenes shenanigans made it impossible for us to work together ever again after the conference was over.  

Yet, he did me a favour, as putting on the conference made me realize I didn’t need a partner to make a conference happen.  In fact I would do better on my own, without all the game-playing, ego trips and temper tantrums which were tiresome to say the least.

So sometimes we can make wrong decisions and reach the right outcome. 

What about you?  Have you ever made wrong decisions and then down the road, realized it turned out for the best after all?

Monday, March 16, 2015

"Can I pick your brains?"

I love meeting new people.  It is always fun to sit down and connect, exploring how you can help one another.

But lately I ‘ve been inundated with introductions – people who think I just have to meet “Jane”; or folks who I’ve just met and want to expand on the discussion or new members who want to “pick my brain.”

While I would love, well most of the time, to meet everyone, there are just not enough hours in the day.  Plus I live in the country so travel and the time to travel becomes an issue and a huge deterrent.

It is becoming harder and harder to manage these e-introductions.  Oh I can quickly email back to say nice to meet you, but it’s the next step that gets cumbersome – they want to meet, Skype, chat with you on the phone – all of which is time.

When you run your own business, time is a precious commodity and I find it hard to dole it out to complete strangers.  Sure some sound interesting, but with others you just don’t see the connection or if it is a male speaker, I feel like saying from the get-go “you know I don’t use male speakers, as I want the women to see role models of their own gender.”  But how do you do all that, without seeming rude?

And that may be part of my problem, I was brought up to be polite, treat people with respect, etc… but then I also ask myself if these new “friends” are treating me with respect?  Do they know how busy I am?

Yet, I have to say that through a series of connections, I met someone who is based in Vancouver and who is now speaking at my conference.  So it does work.  But then when I look back, part of it was that the ‘referral’ came from someone I know well and who I trust.  The other intriguing factor that made me pick up the phone, was she has my maiden name – so it was like calling myselfJ

All of which goes to say, working out how to manage all these requests is challenging.  One thing I have learned is that as soon as someone says she wants to “pick my brains” my antenna goes up.  This is not going to be a quick call.  In fact, if I were still a consultant, I’d want to be charging for my time.

So there you go, this is my dilemma.  What do the rest of you do?  I am sure I am not alone with the challenges of managing the “want to-get-to-know-you” people in your life.   Send me some solutions.  And don’t worry, we don’t have to meet, Skype or chat on the phone. Just add your comments. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Inspiring women wanted

Do you remember Sally Fields at the Oscars several years ago when she cried and said “you like me, you really like me.”  It speaks to how we all can second guess ourselves and need that pat on the back to say we are doing a good job.

I remember when I won the Entrepreneur of the Year award.  I felt such an imposter.  I’d been running Company of Women for six years then and it was still a struggle to make a profit.  I remember at the time thinking that while I may have the entrepreneurial spirit, I was glad they didn’t ask to see my financials, or they might have taken the award back J

Over the years I have received several awards and while it is often a humbling experience, it is also a proud one too.  It reaffirms that you are on the right path; that you are making a difference and your contributions have not gone unnoticed.

It can also be the confidence boost you need to go further in your career, business or personal life.  And so this year at the Journey 2 Success conference, I am thrilled to announce that we will be presenting the first Woman of Inspiration Award.

Now we are not looking for someone who has built an empire – we want to honour ordinary women who have shown extraordinary compassion for others; who’ve gone that extra mile in their business and in life.

Can you think of someone who has helped you in your business - giving you advice, helping you find customers or been there or provided support just when you’ve needed it?   Or maybe she volunteers in the community, giving her time to a special cause.

You can?  Good.  Because I want to encourage you to nominate her for our Woman of Inspiration Award.  So many women quietly go about their day-to-day lives without realizing the impact they have on others or expecting any recognition for what they do.

Well no more.  With this first Woman of Inspiration Award which we will present on May 26, we want to celebrate and recognize women who have had the courage to successfully launch a business and given back, helping others to succeed, be it through their volunteer work, mentoring or financial support.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we want to launch this award as our way of celebrating the achievements of women within our Company of Women community.   The deadline for nominations is March 27, 2015.  To learn more, go to

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Dancing with my frog

Have you heard of the expression of eating your frog?  It means tackling something that you have been avoiding or is unpleasant to you.  The idea is that you do this first before getting on to other work.

So this week I decided to dig into my accounting.  One of the first tasks I delegated when I could afford it, was the bookkeeping and for the last few years, it has been a family affair with my daughter doing the bulk of the work.  But she’s gone back to school and is too busy to keep it up.

All of which means that I not only have to get the “books” ready for a new bookkeeper, but I have to clean up my act.  It was so much easier when I could just quickly answer her questions from across the office.

As I wade through all the receipts, I’ve come to realize I have not been as efficient as I should about keeping them.  So I have been contacting suppliers to beg for a receipt to cover off the purchases I made months ago.

A low moment.

But I suspect I am not alone and it speaks to why I delegated the accounting in the first place.  But I do need to smarten up and be more diligent with my paperwork.

Thank goodness some folks love doing this… Clearly not me, but hey I can’t be good at everything.