Business Tips

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    • 04 Mar 2010 1:37 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      When was the last time you felt upset or became angry, frustrated or disillusioned with something that has happened in your life or in your business?

      A missed call, a missed opportunity, an angry client, a lost account or any negative event can often set us into a tail-spin of negativity.

      I have heard people say that bad things come in threes. What I know to be true is that the very thought of ‘oh no! What next?” when the first unfortunate event presents itself is the energy that attracts the two ‘more things’ that follow! It is interesting that when that third bad thing happens, we breathe a sigh of relief knowing it is the last of the bad luck!

      In reality – the mere relief and thought of excitement that occurs after the third bit of ‘bad luck’ is what changes the direction of energy and begins attracting good things.

      Much of our everyday language and many of our folk lores and wives tales keep us locked in repetitive negative thought patterns and behaviours. But we can turn things around! How?

      First we need to understand that feelings we have and feel are the great attractor. How we feel about something sets a vibrational level – and attracts like feelings and events that will support those feelings. The good news is that we can change our feelings. The bad news is that many of us get ‘locked’ or trapped in feelings that can set a negative cycle into action. This is because many people become their feelings – or wear them. They say things like ‘I am angry” or “I am sad”. They mistakenly become their feelings and become trapped in them.

      It is very important to recognize we are not our feelings – we only feel them. And as soon as we feel them we can choose to stop feeling them.

      The “Sonoma Method” provides a simple and effective process for this. The process is to recognize and accept the feeling for what it is. Identify the physical feeling that accompanies it. Then, simply allow yourself to feel the feeling and ask yourself “could I welcome the feeling?” Accept and welcome the feeling instead of fighting and resisting it!. Then ask yourself – “Could I let this feeling go?” If the answer is yes – ask yourself “Would I let this go?” And then finally answer the question “when?”

      This is a very effective way to begin to acknowledge and accept a feeling for what it is – simply a feeling that may or may not serve a purpose. Studies have shown that when we allow ourselves to fully feel a feeling – the feeling lasts less than 1 minute. It is only when we bury or suppress our feelings that we ‘become’ our feelings or that we hold on to them.

      Holding and harbouring negative feelings put us in a negative state – thereby attracting more negative into our lives.

      Sometimes things happen that we do not feel positive about – and that is ok. The trick is to allow yourself to feel the feeling and then release it as soon as you are able. Then and only then can we begin to see the opportunities that await – and because we are in an open an excited mindset – we can begin attracting great things and creating the kind of success we want.
    • 27 Jan 2010 1:40 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      “Uh-oh” is the repetitive expletive that carries with it the foreboding, stomach wrenching realization that something is wrong. “Oh-oh” - the sound of doom.

      All of us have been known to utter instantaneous expletives (usually four letters like “darn!” or “crap!”) immediately as something negative unexpectedly happens. But the term “uh-oh” usually follows the thoughtful and longer term realization that something is just not right.

      The “uh-oh” that I want to address today is the one expressed when we take a good look at our bank account.

      “Uh-oh, I spent more last month than I made” or “Uh-oh, we are nearing our overdraft limit”. And along with the sinking feeling comes the elevated heart rate and the overwhelming feelings of desperation. “I need to make some money – and fast!”

      Inevitably, the first thing many business owners do is look quickly at their inventory and determine what they can sell or liquidate to bring in some much required ‘cashola’. If the business is a service provider, the owner might take a look at what services they can reduce the cost on and set out on an immediate campaign to sell service bundles at a reduced cost to generate income.

      Neither of these strategies is bad – or wrong – especially if there is an immediate need for cash flow. The problem is – many business owners execute a full year of marketing using this method. This is what I call “Uh-oh Marketing”.

      In fact for many businesses “Uh-oh Marketing” generates most of the income that they receive during the year – pulling them out of one financial crisis after another. Unfortunately because they are continually offering “Uh-oh sales”, they are reducing the income they receive for the products or services they sell. If they have priced their products to have a 20% profit margin, and then offer a special to generate much needed income, they may eliminate their profit entirely.

      In my first business, I addressed every financial crisis in this way. I bought fabric at $3.00 meter and priced it at $6.00 a meter. This was standard for the industry – and gave me a 20% profit after expenses. ($0.60) An ““Uh-oh sale” meant that I reduced the cost of the fabric by 25% - thereby making the cost of the fabric for the consumer $4.50 a meter. This eliminated my profit – and dug into the profits I had made on other items.

      Because I continued to practice this method of marketing for more than a year, I suffered a loss on the business – which made me wonder why I was in business at all!

      Unfortunately the loss of profit is not the only thing a business will experience as a result of “Uh-oh Marketing”. By using this method to sell product they:

      • Significantly raise their stress levels
      • Send the message that products are ALWAYS available for a cheaper price.
      • Distract customers from the true value of the product or service
      • Falsely give the business owner a feeling of well being, thinking they are doing well by rotating inventory quickly
      • Set up repetitive roller-coaster income

      These are only a few of the results of “Uh-oh Marketing”. The answer is of course, creating a marketing plan to ensure consistent income. But that means business owners must plan ahead.

      There are few tools to simplify creating that marketing plan – perhaps the reason no one knows exactly where to begin. The simplest method is to get out the calendar and plan your marketing efforts around events, holidays and seasons. See a great example of a tool to simplify this here. Think about what your customer needs and when they need it – and then market appropriately – in a format and place where they will see it.

      Include in the plan how much you hope you hope to increase your sales – and then set a budget. (yes you need to set a marketing budget up) Let the marketing begin! As you execute your plan, keep a close eye on your ROI – and tweak the plan if necessary.

      Remember, a client needs to see or hear from you between seven and nine times before they will purchase or inquire. So be sure to be consistent.

      There is a time and a place for “Uh-oh Marketing” – but it is not every month at bill paying time! Work smarter and plan ahead.
    • 12 Jan 2010 1:43 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)

      Running a successful business is not always as easy as we think it will be. It takes work. However it may not be the kind of work you might think. To become successful at work, we must also be physically and mentally healthy - and remain that way.

      We live in a world that is becoming increasingly ignorant of how poor our health really is. Success is not just about money in the bank – it is also about health and happiness.

      Recently, I saw a health show featuring Dr.Oz. He was speaking on the \"Seven Deadly Habits you need to break now\". These are poor habits that we practice every day that will shorten our lives.

      After reviewing them - I realized they are almost exactly the same types of \"habits\" that if committed in business - will shorten the life of our business – AND affect our health!

      Below I have listed Dr. Oz’s “Seven Deadly Habits ” and below them have listed “Seven Deadly Habits of Business” . Please be sure to visit
      Dr.Oz’s site to see the entire article and the suggestions he makes!

      Dr. Oz\'s Deadly habit 1: Not Stretching In The Morning

      Moving your body and releasing stress first thing is critical to preparing for a day where you are in control of your body.

      Deadly business habit 1: Not Stretching

      Learning to live outside our comfort zone – stretching –prepares us for bigger and better opportunities – and helps us to be more in control of our businesses.

      Prescription: Seek to learn something new every day. Stretch
      your ideas by using strategies businesses in industries other than your own use. Listen to seminars, attend workshops and read as much as you can about trends in and out of your industry.

      Dr. Oz\'s Deadly Habit 2: Not Eating Breakfast

      If you don’t eat right when you wake up, your body senses a famine is coming and slows your metabolism to compensate. Then, when your body is presented food later, it’s ravenous and wants to pack it in, leading to bingeing with a slow metabolism – a recipe for weight gain.

      Deadly Business Habit 2: Not feeding your mind

      If you are not feeding your mind – and you simply focus in the mundane and small aspects of your business you will eventually starve your business of resources and ideas. It is when you finally realize that you need new information that it becomes easy to jump at the first big new idea someone presents and devour it – whether or not it is good for your business.
      Prescription: Instead, feed your mind daily – so you can discriminate between a good idea - and a get rich quick scam!

      Dr. Oz\'s Deadly Habit 3: Running Late

      Being perpetually late adds unnecessary stress to your life and takes control away from you, giving it to the people you disappoint and to the clock. That added stress, in turn, can lead to chronic inflammation and high blood pressure, which are linked to all kinds of diseases.

      Deadly Business Habit 3: Running Late

      business owner with an unplanned day. People not only
      lose respect for those who cannot arrive on time, you increase stress levels and take away from your effectiveness as a business owner. Running late can also cost you the next deal.

      Prescription: Use you planner – and schedule your business days well. You will feel more in control, relaxed and your confidence levels will soar! (you’ll also be healthier)

      Dr. Oz\'s Deadly Habit 4: Mindless Eating

      Hitting the vending machine at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, raiding the pantry several times a day, eating through a bag of chips before we even realized we’ve opened them. We’re all guilty of eating without thinking about it sometimes. Problem is that often we are eating out of boredom, for a distraction, or to fill a hunger that can’t be met by food. And when we fill up on junk food, we add unhealthy calories, gaining fat and stressing our liver.

      Deadly Business Habit 4: Mindless Spending

      It is quite common for businesses to ‘nickel and dime’ themselves to bankruptcy. Just because we have an expense account or a petty cash – does not mean we have to use it. Mindless spending – without true purpose prevents us from spending larger amounts on things we really need.

      Prescription: Keep a close eye on the lattes, donuts and small unnecessary expenses. Save you pennies and your nickels will count themselves!

      Dr. Oz\'s Deadly Habit 5: Becoming A Couch Potato

      Flopping down in front of the TV at the end of a long day can feel good, but it’s actually doing a world of hurt to your body. Your metabolism still needs a workout as the evening draws to a close. Without it, your muscle turns
      to fat. Every decade we increase our percentage of fat by 5%.

      Deadly Business Habit 5: Becoming glued to your desk

      Spending eight to ten hours glued to your desk might make you feel like you are getting a lot done, but in reality you are likely turning your brain to mush and causing your muscles to atrophy. You are probably also hunched forward
      and not breathing well. Your body and mind needs movement and oxygen to function effectively.

      Prescription: Get up once every 45 minutes to stretch and breathe and move around. Take a break from your desk at lunch and go for a walk or play a game of tennis. You will return to work invigorated – with more ideas and a higher concentration level. You really will get more work done and be far more balanced!

      Dr. Oz\'s Deadly Habit 6: Disconnecting

      So many of us pull away from the people who support us at exactly the times we need them mostundefinedwhen we’re going through a divorce, facing a financial crisis, feeling bad about our bodies. Adding the stress of bottled up emotions
      to already challenging times only leads to health problems down the road.

      Deadly Business Habit 6: Disconnecting

      Many of us when we are feeling unsuccessful want to hide from others for fear that we will be ‘found out’ for the fraud we think we are. There is nothing more important in business than staying connected to customers and business peers – especially when you are experiencing a slowdown or funds shortages. Isolating yourself from others increases stress levels, affecting our health and increasing the likelyhood of us making bad decisions. It’s a vicious circle.

      Prescription: Get out and network, visit clients and potential clients and invest in the relationships around you. We all need people for support
      and encouragement. It is important to stay connected.

      Dr. Oz\'s Deadly Habit 7: Not Having A Bedtime

      Kids have to be in bed at 8, but adults fill their evenings with TV, to-do lists, chores and more, falling into bed at a different (and later) time each night. That irregularity not only means fewer hours of sleep, but a lesser quality
      of sleep, both of which are causes of weight gain and disease.

      Deadly Business Habit 7: Not Having A Quitting Time

      Entrepreneurs and small business owners often fool themselves into thinking that if they work long hours they will get ahead faster. They also live under the myth that they must do it all. This leads to burnout, poor sleep habits and to top it all off – it affect their ability to think clearly. That is no way to grow a business!

      Prescription: Set a start time and a finish time – and stick to it. If you have a routine chances are you will have fewer emergencies and as you establish those working boundaries – people are less likely to call you after hours. Business owners and entrepreneurs need and deserve down time. Schedule it and stick to it. You will find you get more done, will stay healthier and have more time off!

      Having a healthy business requires you take care of yourself first and your business second.  But many of the things we need to do to stay healthy - we do not do.  Maybe this is why we perpetuate these similar practices and habits in our business life.  Change your life - and take care of yourself - and you business will automatically benefit.   You cannot change anything in life to make it better - unless you change first!
    • 04 Jan 2010 1:50 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      “What difference does it make anyway? I am only one small person in a very big world – and what I do cannot possible change the world.”

      Isn’t it interesting how that little voice inside our heads can fool us?

      It’s easy in a big and busy world to minimize the effect that we have on the world around us. What could we possibly do in our small business to effect change on the big banging machine we call business?

      We can start small.

      Anything big in the world started with one small thought. An idea perhaps, followed up with one small action. And then another. After a few moments or even days, another person sees the idea and decides to support or follow it.

      This process repeats itself over and over until that one small thought is now a huge office building, or a new charitable organization or a trip to a third world country to build a well. But it all stated with one small thought, and perhaps one small action.

      When I drive down the highway and see a construction crew and massive pieces of machinery working together to build a new mall, or a new subdivision I always marvel at how it takes shape. I wonder how anyone can look at a huge field and know where the roads go, where the sewers go and where all the rest of the services and buildings that will eventually pop up over time will be placed.

      Most of us would agree that a project like that seems unmanageable.

      The truth is that a project like that , that affects thousands of people every day - all started with one idea.

      What about your business? Does it affect the world at large? The answer is yes, every day.

      Case Study
      I know a woman that started an elder care business. She began simply by caring for a senior on her street – visiting her every other day and having tea with her. In her own small way she affected not just the senior, but she also helped her extended family.

      They had more peace of mind knowing someone was looking in on their mother. In having less stress about their mother, they all got along much better. The parents had less stress and did their jobs better, took better care of themselves and had more time for their children. The children’s grades went up and the businesses the mother worked in experienced higher than normal sales - as a result of her full attention at work. Higher sales meant they needed to expand and hire more people.

      Meanwhile, the woman who started the elder care business now had four clients and realized she needed to train others to do what she was doing.
      Such a small business – just in itself had already touched hundreds of lives.

      Can one person with one small business change the world? Absolutely. Hundreds and even thousands at a time.

      So next time you think about throwing in the towel, and that what you do is insignificant in the world – think again. Then throw yourself a mini party, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself. You make a difference every day. Each and every thing that you do affects thousands of people, minute by minute.

      Take pride in what you are doing and then ask yourself how you can do it better. You are changing the world – making it a better place for all of us. And as your business grows – well.... you know the result!

    • 28 Dec 2009 1:56 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      I love playing the game ‘Monopoly™’. I also love playing ‘Scrabble™’. In fact there just is nothing quite like the rush you can get from making just the right move at the right time!

      Even if the ‘game’ is make believe and there are no tangible successes achieved (other than the adrenaline rush and the surge of serotonin) there is nothing quite as satisfying to me as getting Park Place and Boardwalk and putting up houses and then hotels!

      And I can savor for months that eight letter word that used up all my tiles and gave me a fifty point bonus – especially if I hit the triple word score at the same time!
      However, in order to win the game, regardless of the minor successes or plays, there are rules that must be followed. If you get the “go to jail” card, you cannot sneak that hidden card from the deck that lets you out for free. Someone will catch you – and it is just not right. (hmmm, no one I know has ever tried to cheat - have they?)

      Living life and running a business is much like a game. There are rules that we need to follow – or “House Rules”. For example, there are codes of ethics for many professions that can be called “House Rules”. There are rules that societies and cultures impose upon us – such as the ‘business handshake’ or the small talk that many of us use when passing a colleague. “Hi, how’s it going?”

      Many of the rules of Business are unspoken – and that for many of us can make the game more difficult to play. Even after having run several businesses, there are still rules that I encounter that had I known earlier may have made a huge difference in how I ran my business – and how successful it became.

      Over the last decade we have all watched businesses tumble from grace as a result of breaking some of the rules that we all agree to play by. Whistle-blowers have raised concerns about accounting practices, discredited businesses practicing dishonesty, and even brought to the forefront socially unacceptable behaviours of CEO’s and other leaders, resulting in the company’s demise.

      So what are the basic rules? I think most of us know them. Be honest in your communications, treat everyone with respect, say please and thank you, recognize those who help you and spend less than you earn are some of the top ‘rules of business’.

      But there are many rules that remain unspoken – and in fact unknown by many business owners. Knowing and practicing many of these rules may be the difference between success and failure.

      We are in the midst of incredible changes in the business world. Technology has opened many new doors for businesses. The economic changes we have seen on the last eighteen months have also affected decision making on spending and forced many of us to think differently about how we market, build and grow our businesses.

      This new decade will bring with it a new, holistic business model where businesses are not just about making money. Successful businesses are making bigger contributions to their communities and adding value to the social fabric that ties us together. Socially responsible businesses are adding to the family by being more balanced and requiring less time of the owners and managers by integrating systems that make for less physical work and more accurate reporting.

      Business owners are recognizing that their companies are run by people with lives and are building environments that benefit the employee and the family. And more importantly, successful business owners are recognizing that they must work on their leadership skills and take care of their own physical and mental health in order to build a business that brings value to all and is respected in the community of workers – and the world as a whole.

      Read an example of a new variation on business here

      This is an era of change – and if one does not keep up with the changes – they will experience an ‘ice-age’ of sorts and become extinct.

      So what are the new rules?

      - Pay if forward – be the first to do the right thing or give the first benefit without expecting reciprocation.

      - Make a difference – ask how can you add value to others’ lives or businesses.

      - Make the world a better place – determine how can this decision, this product, this service can make changes for the good to the environment, the community or people’s lives.

      - Take good care – good care of yourself, good care of your family, good care of your customers.

      - Relationships rule – there will be no business without good relationships. Businesses need people.

      These rules may sound simplistic and even vague – but in fact will create unfathomable change in our world.

      The result? Change. Ripple by ripple.
    • 21 Dec 2009 2:01 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      When you look at things differently – the things you look at change.
      – Wayne Dyer

      Last week I was speaking with a woman who was questioning the cost of a business service. She remarked that her business seemed to be like one great big money pit – a deep hole where ‘who knows where the money goes?’

      Later in the day I was speaking with a very successful business owner who was heading out on another training course – the eighth that year. He was laughing as he said that he had spent more money this past year on training than he had made - but he knew that when times were slow and there was less business was the best time to invest in more education.

      What a contrast! It took me several minutes to think about the difference in attitudes towards their businesses. The interesting thing was that in this case, there was more demand for the woman’s business than for the man’s business – yet she saw her business as not having much value and he saw his as having enough value that he knew he had to invest in it!

      Then it hit me. I knew the woman quite well and knew why she had started her business. Originally it had been so that she could do what she loved and make a difference in the world. What she failed to do however, was to look back at how far she had come – and the great things she had accomplished in her business. With her head always ‘at the grindstone’ so to speak, she rarely took time to congratulate herself for a job well done and recognize the difference she had made in the world.

      Because of this – she could not see her own value or the value of her business. And because she did not think her business was worth much – she viewed it as something she did not want to invest in. What a dangerous place to be!

      I have watched many businesses open and close within 2 years. What do they all have in common?

      -The business owners fail to ask for help
      -The business owner thinks that they must do everything themselves
      -The business owner does not take time to be grateful for their talents and thankful for the work they do get
      - The business owner \'belittles\' their business and does not invest in it
      -The business owner does not stop to listen for the ripple!

      What is the ripple?

      Just as a drip from a leaf of a tree over the water causes ripples in the water that continue to expand far and wide – our businesses affect more than just the client or customer. And many of us are so busy working in our business that we never stop to appreciate the good that we offer or the changes we are making in the world. We see ourselves as insignificant. (This is especially true of woman owned businesses.)

      I know a fellow across the road who has a car that has very little value. It will take him to where he wants to go when it is running – but it is rusty and missing several body parts and often does not start. Because there is little value in the vehicle – he rarely washes it and has even come to the point where he will not even change the oil. Why take care of something that has no value?

      Compare that to the other neighbor who has a car of great value. He keeps it clean, repaired and well oiled. Not only will it get him from point A to point B – every time but it will maintain its value for many years – and may even eventually become worth more than he paid for it.

      Will the woman who has the ‘money-hole’ business succeed? Not likely! She sees no value in what she is doing – regardless of the reality. She will not invest in the business or herself so that she can build on the value she already offers. Eventually, disheartened she will close the business. The man however who has invested in his business and himself will add his new-found knowledge to his business. Because he sees the value, he wants to build on it. For this reason his will business grow.

      Like the woman’s business that was making a difference – he has an effect on the world - a ripple effect that, as he invests in the business, will soon turn into a wave.

      Which business would you rather have?

      What is the biggest secret to building a successful business?

      Understand your value – and then see the value in what you have to offer the world. Take an honest look at how your business affects the world. And then watch for the ripples. They may seem small at first but as you build upon your business, those ripples become big waves. No one changes the world in one fell swoop.

      The tidal wave first begins with a ripple. Look closely – can you see it….?
    • 01 Dec 2009 2:13 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      When I was ‘driving’ the beat in my policing career, on a regular shift I might work with up to twenty-five other ‘guys’ and have the opportunity to take a call with up to half of them. After the call, we might sit side by side in our cruisers to write up notes or a report.

      Inevitably, we would participate in ‘small talk’ and the question would be asked “so, what’s new with you?” A common response was “SSDD”. For those who don’t know what that means, it is “Same stuff, different day”.It may not be that our lives were that mundane, but it was a standard part of our small talk.

      Unfortunately though, in many people’s lives they experience ‘same stuff, different day’ on a regular basis. They have the same problems that resurface over and over, they have the same bills and experience the same stress over getting them paid. They face the same issues on a regular basis with their relationships at home and at work.

      If you have seen Bill Murray’s movie “Groundhog Day”, it is much the same repetitive process. For many people, this is life. At some point in time, we abdicate responsibility for the things that happen ‘to’ us and blame everything from the economy to the weather for the things we experience in our lives.

      As a police officer, we were in one of two states; reactive or proactive. Reactive was the result of an event happening that required immediate action. Proactive was to try to prevent the event we reacted to after the event occurred. Ticketing a driver was proactive. Responding to a motor vehicle accident was reactive. (Interestingly enough, not many people liked the police when they were proactive, but when we were reactive – they were glad we were there.)

      We have the opportunity to live our lives in much the same way. We can spend years reacting to life with the same responses, the same attitudes and the same behaviours. Or, if we do not like the outcome of our responses we can change our responses to achieve a different outcome.

      Unfortunately, most people look at the outcome that they achieve and instead of changing their reactions, they complain and blame outside factors for how things turn out. By the time many of us are in our early twenties, we are solidly ensconced in the ‘blame game\' and have just accepted that things will be “SSDD”.

      If we want things to change in our lives, there is only one thing that can change. Us. We may not be able to control the events that occur, or the people around us, but we can change our reactions which will have an effect on the outcome. And we can also go one step further. Instead of waiting for events to happen in our lives, we can become proactive. But that my friend, takes work.

      We have heard over the past several years, gurus on the ‘Law of attraction’ speak about how we can call things into being. We have been told thoughts create things. But most people never experience this creative process, simple because it takes work.
      What kind of work? It means that we must read inspiring and educational works and invest in our knowledge. It means we need to attend conferences, and hear speakers who have great information to give us. It means we must renew, and practice the new things we learn as we learn them. It means we must constantly grow.

      We must do all these things instead of sitting in front of the television set or wandering the mall. Recently I was doing a ‘job’ that I really did not like. (Printing, collating, stuffing, labeling and stamping over 14,000 pieces of paper into 850 packages. Business had been slow and I had taken on the job to make some extra money. As I was stuffing the envelopes (it took 16 hours), I was thinking about my life. How I would have rather been coaching or speaking at an event!

      Then I realized – there was only one person who could change my circumstances, and that was me. I did not know at that exact minute how to make the changes and I was sure that somehow I needed more tools. Because at this point I had done all I could think of to attract speaking engagements.

      Less than 2 months later, after attending a conference and filling my mental tool box with more tools to help me in my career and life, I tried something different.

      I sat down one Tuesday afternoon to meditate. During the meditation, after the period of relaxation and ‘letting go’ I focused my thoughts on speaking as a keynote. I saw, tasted, felt, heard all that was going on at this event. I had already done the physical work – marketing myself as a speaker. That 20 minutes of meditation had a profound effect on what would happen next.

      After the meditation, I told my husband that I was going to get two speaking engagements by the end of the week. He asked me some questions to help me qualify and quantify the results. On Thursday afternoon, I got a call from my publicist to let me know she had a speaking inquiry come in for me. By the end of the day, we had negotiated an agreement. This took less than 2 days to materialize! How did all this happen?

      I decided that I had to create my own life instead of waiting for it to ‘happen’ to me. I became invested in my future, in thought and action. Now I did not get the exact remuneration that I wanted – and I only received one speaking engagement by the end of the week – but the fact was – I had attracted the event into my life. If this was truly possible – then I could change anything about my life.
      Just like proactive policing produces a safer and more pleasant environment to live in, being proactive in our own lives does the same. If you are looking for different results then you have to do something different!
    • 24 Nov 2009 2:16 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      When I was in policing, we often talked about the administration ‘dangling the carrot’. Many who left the corporate rat race behind, will recognize the term – that described the actions of a supervisor or boss who kept reminding us of rewards we would receive if we reached a certain level of sales or accomplished something specific – on their agenda and timeline. But before we accomplished the task or reached the level we aspired to the rules of the game would change and we would have to work even harder to get the reward.

      The term “chasing the carrot” originated from farmers or cart drivers who would tie a carrot on a string to a long stick and dangle it in front of the donkey, just out of its reach. As the donkey moved forward to get the carrot, it pulled the cart and but the carrot would always remain out of reach.

      The problem is obvious – the donkey never gets the carrot – but the cart gets pulled. This is often the case when we work for others. We chase a reward and do what it takes to get the reward – for the sake of the reward.

      However, when we build a business, and build it with passion – in essence we are following a dream. Our eyes are focused on vision and our thoughts on a utopic condition that we strive to attain. And we do it not to attain the end result so much as we do it because it fires us up – gets us excited and feeds our energy.

      The difference is easy to see. The carrot dangling method that is followed by a useless chase to attain a result can be very empty - while developing a dream and following where it leads can be very fulfilling.

      Unfortunately, although many of us leave a ‘job’ and the carrot behind to follow a dream – when we get into the grind of the mechanics of the dream we are following – the actions we take soon resemble a carrot on a string – that we ourselves dangle.

      As we become tired of working so hard and take our eyes off the dream, we begin to look only toward the immediate rewards that we can get if we get the job done. This is when we begin to see being an entrepreneur as more of a job than a calling.

      When we are called or feel called – we follow. We follow the dream. We look for signs, develop our vision, become creative, and look at possibilities. We don’t try to squeeze our dream into someone else’s funding model or colour within the lines just to be recognized.
      When we chase a carrot – our eyes are only on the immediate goal – and we often will do anything to achieve it – giving in to the momentary satisfaction instead of focusing on the long term results of a well executed plan.

      I have chased the carrot and I have followed the dream. Following the dream is far more fulfilling because it focuses on solutions for all – and is inclusive of others. The rewards are many. Chasing the carrot means only one person gets to eat – the one who finally gets the carrot.
      Are you chasing the carrot?

      Only you know for sure. But if you find yourself too tired to finish big at the end of the day and too tired to roll out of bed in the morning – then chances are your business is not feeding your passion. Chances are – you are chasing a carrot you that may never reach and that will rob you of energy.

      Time to re-align.
      Is it time for you to get back on track and re-align yourself with your purpose and your dream? If so – how do you do that? How do we relight the fires of passion for what we do and begin again to focus on our vision?
      The only way to do this is to take time to reflect on our values, our purpose, our behaviors and our thoughts. It is easy to fall off the rails sometimes. We get busy and forget to listen to ourselves and others.

      So take time to find out HOW you are feeling and why. You yourself know the changes you need to make – and you can find out what those changes are if you take time to listen to the whisperings of your soul. Connect with your spirit and become re-inspired. Remember your dreams and listen to the whispers.

      Two months ago, I learned how to meditate. I began to listen again. It’s amazing the joy I rediscovered in my business as soon as the vision that I had lost – began to reappear.

      Women are changing the way business is done. But to keep up the work we do – we must stay recharged and in touch. When we become disconnected – it affects not only us, but everyone else in the universe.

      Like the wings of the butterfly fluttering in North America may affect the winds in Saudi Arabia – so do our actions within our businesses affect the entire world.

      Take care not to lose sight of the dream or abandon it – for a measly carrot!
    • 16 Nov 2009 2:19 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      Worry. Fret. Concern. Call it what you will – it all adds up to a big fat minus! That’s right – not only does it clutter up our brains with ‘white noise’, it also robs us of time and energy. And worst of all – it only brings to pass that which we are worrying about.

      “Worry is today\'s mice nibbling on tomorrow\'s cheese”- Anonymous

      “You see, I told you so! I knew that would happen. You ran with that stick – and I was worried to death that you would fall and poke yourself – and look – it happened!”.

      The question is – did it happen because it was going to happen anyway – or did it happen because someone was envisioning it happening, over and over – literally inviting or calling the event into being?

      Napoleon Hill (and may other famous people) said, “What you think upon grows”. Our thoughts are very powerful, as we all know. In fact, they are much like mental magic wands. What we dwell upon becomes our reality. It’s part of the law of attraction.

      This simple fact is what makes our thoughts so powerful. If you focus your attention upon poverty, you will attract poverty into your life. If you think about illness, you will get sick.

      It is for this same principle that Mother Theresa told someone who asked her to fight against war that she maintained that she would not. She would instead fight FOR PEACE Even she knew the magic of our minds and how as we focus on something we can bring it into reality.

      When we worry, what we are really doing is painting a mental picture of the worst possible scenario in our mind and creating a video. Then we play it over and over again, attracting the exact circumstances that will bring the ‘mind movie’ into being. Worry is in fact negative goal setting.

      The other effect that worry has on us - is that it distracts us from the things we should be focusing on. For many years I spent a good deal of my day – wondering or worrying about the next event, the next phone call I had to make, the next place I had to go, the next bill I had to pay.

      While I was busy living in the next moment – usually in a worried state, I missed the things that were happening around me that I could have been celebrating. I also missed connecting with the people I could have been connecting with. Yes, I was there in body – but not in spirit.

      Many of us never realize how often we worry about things. In fact many business people spend a great deal of time worrying about paying their bills, or worrying that they won’t attract any new customers. Instead what they could be doing is recalling the excitement of the last customer, celebrating their purchase and anticipating the next sale as being even better.

      One of the things I suggest to people who find themselves worrying the day away, is to carry around a gratitude journal. It is the easiest way to say thank you for the things you have received and focus on how your creator, the Universe or whomever you turn to, has taken care of you and your needs.

      When we focus on being grateful for what we have and stop worrying about what we do not have, we open the doors to a brand new future – where we set positive goals.

      Worry is like paying interest on money not borrowed. Think about it. We would never even consider paying interest if we did not borrow the money.

      So stop worrying, fretting, becoming overly concerned about what has not yet happened and focus on the outcome you want instead. When you catch yourself in a worried state – take several very deep breaths, say out loud “cancel that” and create the ending you wish to see instead. It works every time.
    • 09 Nov 2009 2:22 PM | Mandie Crawford (Administrator)
      How often have you thought to yourself – “wow, how many hours a week do I spend working, thinking or focused on my business?” To many in your circle of friends or to your family – it may seem like it is always! And even to us – it may seem like we are working far more than if we had a regular job.

      For a minute – let’s compare our businesses to a rocket. When NASA launches a rocket or the space shuttle – it uses most of its fuel just to get the rocket off the ground – to break it free from the gravitational pull of the earth. But when the rocket is free from the gravitational pull of the earth it takes very little energy to get it to where it needs to go. In fact, once it is free of gravity, a short burst of fuel can send it a long, long way.

      The same holds true about business. In the beginning – and the beginning can be as long as 3 to 10 years depending on the type of business or the speed at which you build it – there is a tremendous amount of energy that we need to put behind the ‘launch’ until we are able to position the business and have enough clients to support us financially.

      Unfortunately, many business owners and entrepreneurs never consider how much effort, energy or money is required until they are well into the launch of their business.

      How do we become successful?

      A recent study offered in the book “The Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, shows that the difference between someone who experiences mediocre results (in any area) and someone who becomes the ‘expert’ and achieves high and seemingly lucky results has nothing to do with their talent or skill or station in life. It depends solely on how many hours one puts into the learning and practicing process. In essence this time invested is the amount of ‘fuel’ to get past the gravitational pull.

      The study showed that if an entrepreneur, consultant or business owners dedicated 10,000 hours to their craft – they are generally considered the expert . Very often that is the time that business may come to them, seemingly without effort.

      The 10,000 hours spent honing their craft is the fuel needed at first. This time invested gets them past the pull of the earth so to speak, and after that, an occasional spurt of energy (or fuel) keeps them moving forward effortlessly like the rocket traveling to outer space.

      NASA would never consider sending a rocket up and at the same time reduce the fuel it takes to get past the gravitational pull of the earth. (The effect would mean mass destruction, to the spectators, the occupants of the rocket, the scientists, and anyone in the vicinity of the crash site.)

      Why is it then, that entrepreneurs become impatient about success when they have not put enough hours in to get to the point where momentum is built and things come almost effortlessly? (Could that be you?)
      “When you live for a strong purpose, then hard work isn’t an option. It’s a necessity” - Steve Pavlina
      Building a business may take many, many hours. If you are committed to building ‘no matter what’ then at some point momentum will kick in. And then it seems almost effortless – and the money may seem to roll in easier that you ever thought possible.

      But here’s the best part. Ten thousand hours divided by 24 hours a week – the number of hours people actually ‘work’ when at a job, is just over 8 years. I have never to this day met anyone who has worked for only 8 years at a job – who can come in when they want, work when they feel like it and still be making the same amount of money or more than they did the year before.

      A business can bring great opportunities and income – if you are dedicated to putting the ‘time’ in. The fuel behind success is putting in the time. But too many people give up too early. And so their rocket (business) crashes. Consider this if you are still fighting the gravitational pull, and feeling depressed at what seems like your lack of progress or no momentum. It may only take a few hundred more hours to break through to success!

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