Values are a Key to Success- What are Yours?

Values are a key component of how we think, what we believe and how we show up in the world.  When you create you life and business based on what you value, you experience greater connection and passion.

What is Important to you Changes on a Regular Basis

Interestingly, your values can also be a window into how you are feeling on a particular day and thus what is important to you right at this moment.  So for fun, take a look and share what are the first 3 words you see.  Are you surprised?  OR did they reinforce what you already know is going on for you right now.  Share what you see and your reaction to it.  Consider how you might use this as you move through your day.  ENJOY!

So what are the first 3 words YOU see?
Values

She called me Fierce: Finding my Brand Voice

Recently,  I was working with my coach on finding my voice.  This was somewhat ironic to me since I have 28 years of experience as a communication expert (including doctoral work in adult communication, teaching MBA communication classes for an Ivy League school for the past seven years AND being a writing coach for that same school.)

Perhaps you can relate, I was stuck on how to write to my community not the content I want to share with you but how to say it.  Put me in front of an audience or a video camera, no problem. Tell me to email my community and suddenly I was without words.

So we started with adjectives.

She asked me, “How would you describe myself?”  Oh, that was so hard.  At first I was speechless and then I said a few lame (though true) things like “hard-working”, “smart”, “somewhat funny” (though what I really meant was playful and goofy.)

And that is when she said it!  “Sue, I have met you and I heard you speak and you are FIERCE!!  You show up and play full-on.”

 

Well, that hit me smack in the face and if I had a red nose, I would have been flying in the air like Rudolph did when Clarice called him “Cute”.

“She called me F-I-E-R-C-E, she called me F-I-E-R-C-E”

 

 

Fiercely- Caring….

And, you know what, Denise was right.  I am Fierce!  Fiercely- Caring.  I fiercely care for my family, my friends and all those in my community.  I often say to my clients that I care about their businesses as if they are my own and I always want the best for those around me.

This sense of fiercely caring also shows up in the coaching and teaching spaces I create.  It is why I tell it like it is and do it with a caring touch (I have often been described as having “an iron fist in a velvet glove” or a “steel boot tip in fuzzy slippers” depending upon what you need.)

Don’t come to me if you just want me to sugar-coat things for you because I don’t.  I quickly get to the heart of what is keeping you stuck, call you on it and then help you move forward.  I do this because I care about transformation and I care about you.   Not only about your business success, I care about you living as your best self.

That is the caring piece.  My goal is to always move you forward so you can take the next step.  This fiercely-caring me is how I show up everywhere offline.

I am committing in 2017 to bringing the fiercely-caring me to my community online.  I will be sharing more of who I really am and what I care about in an effort to better support you.  I also like giving gifts so I will be doing that more often here on my blog.  The first one is my communication ebook to help you communicate better.  You can get it as my gift here:

http://thrivingentrep.wpengine.com/100-tips-better-business-communication/

Enjoy!

 

Understanding Your Procrastination Style

Understanding Your Procrastination Style

2-understanding-your-procrastination-style-image2There are many reasons solopreneurs and business owners procrastinate. It could be due to perfectionism, overwhelm, or problems prioritizing. The key to overcoming procrastination is learning what your procrastination style is and how to deal with it. Once you’re armed with this information, you’ll find it easier to defeat procrastination and get back on track. it makes sense that each of us is unique so there is not a one size fits all solution. See which one fits you…

It’s Time to Put Down the Cape, Super Woman

It would be an understatement to say you have a lot on your plate (and lots of plates in your life.) You have so much to do that they are overflowing with tasks. Your to do lists are usually a mile long. You’re always in motion, bouncing between projects and deadlines. You take on too much and usually, you don’t realize that until it’s too late. You may procrastinate by avoiding your to do list or working on tasks that are necessary but in the long run, won’t make you money.

What you Struggle With- Refusing to Delegate:

Take a deep breath and take a critical look at your to do list right now. Ask yourself what tasks are ones that only you can do, like serving your customers/clients or creating your new service package. Okay, so these you may need to do.  But if a task doesn’t require your attention, consider delegating it. You can delegate by hiring a virtual assistant or taking on an intern who’s interested in your niche (or even hiring your own kid.)

Stop Being a Perfectionist with Your Projects

Not only do you feel the pressure to get everything done on your to do list, you also feel pressure to have it done perfectly. You hate doing anything that you don’t deem your best work and you’re continually finding flaws in the finished project. You may procrastinate by telling yourself you’ll release your next product/program after you’ve polished your copy one last time or gotten two more testimonials.

What you Struggle with- Failing to Launch.

Launching a new product or service is scary. You may find it helps to hire a coach that will encourage you to launch version 1.0 and upgrade your offering later on. You could also try setting a public deadline. Let the world know when they can expect your product and stick to that date, no matter what.

Being A People Pleaser Means Your Needs Are Ignored

Whenever someone presents you with a new idea or project, you jump on it. You’re enthusiastic and you love getting to say, “Yes”. The problem is if you say, “Yes” to everything, you end up saying, “No” to important things. You may procrastinate by taking on someone else’s workload instead of tackling your own. You tell yourself you’ll work on growing your business as soon as you finish this marketing task for a client.

What you Struggle with- Failing to Prioritize.

You put others’ needs and wants before your own. In some cases, this is admirable and it comes from a good place. But if you want to succeed with your business, you have to become ruthless and willing to cut projects and clients that aren’t right for you. Stop trying to fit your work around everyone else’s needs. Instead, do your work first and if you have extra time and energy, you can invest in helping someone else.

Procrastination is not a diagnosis. Rather, it’s a symptom of something else that you need to address. Once you understand the root cause of your procrastination, you can begin to beat it and get back to being productive.

 

The Importance of Video on Social Media

The Importance of Video on Social Media and Why You Might Be Missing Out

 

Dog shooting videoEven though I train lots of people to present well so they look good on video, I have not been using it as much as I know I could.   This got me thinking?  I began to research to find out the answer to this question,  “Exactly how important is video in social media today?”   Some would say that it’s absolutely everything, and there are those who have built a successful social media marketing campaign solely around video.

What is Causing You to be in Overwhelm?

My brain is in overwhelm

 What is Causing You to be in Overwhelm?

Digitally generated My brain has too many tabs open

I know that lots of people are in overwhelm and are feeling like “they are flying by the seats of their pants.”  Rather than me giving more information (perhaps overloading you even more)  today by giving a whole lot of tips or ideas, I am putting my listening ears on and wanting to know a few things from you and then I will respond in the comments section  Perhaps even invite you to a call with me where I will REALLY listen.

So, I am curios- “What is holding you back?”  or “What is Causing you to Be in Overwhelm?”

 

That’s it- I truly want to know and I wish you a wonderful weekend- sue

 

Why You Need Good Listening Skills

Dog listening

The Importance of Having Good Listening Skills

Dog listeningWe often think we are communicating effectively and of course, we want people to take action on what we say. So it can be frustrating when we talk and share a message and NOTHING happens.  Crickets…. Most likely, you were doing only half of what needs to be done to effectively communicate- the talking part. Listening is the other half – perhaps the better half – of all communication. Unfortunately, most people rarely receive any formal training for how to do it properly. Improving your listening skills can enhance your professional and personal life. Follow these practical steps towards becoming a better listener, even in challenging situations where it’s most important.

5 Tips for Better Listening

1. Ignore distractions:

Give the speaker your full attention by looking him/her in the eye. Don’t be looking at your phone or anything else.   Let the speaker know you’re interested. Having an appreciative audience makes it easier for people to express themselves. It will also help you stay alert.
 If you notice your mind wandering, bring it back to the subject at hand.

2. Listen for the main points:

It’s usually more effective to focus on understanding the key points that someone is making, rather than trying to etch each word into your memory. Listen as though you were taking notes even if you’re not.

3. Hear people out.

Let people present what they have to say without being interrupted. Concentrate on what they’re saying rather than formulating your own response. Don’t just wait by patiently until you can have the next word.  Listen for understanding.

4. Encourage people to express themselves: 

Sometimes people are hesitant to approach a sensitive topic. Use open-ended questions and patient pauses to enable a more complete discussion.
Verify the message. With complex or emotionally charged material, it’s important to listen attentively and verify what the other person is saying. You can repeat back a brief summary of the message to be sure you’re both on the same page.

5. Listening with empathy:

One of the best ways to understand what a person is really saying is to put yourself in their shoes. Try to understand their thinking and feelings.
 Manage your own emotions. When you’re listening to something that evokes a strong emotion, you may need to detach yourself temporarily from your feelings. It’s critical to distinguish between what is actually being said and your own assumptions and emotions.

Remember, God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Becoming a better listener can enhance your own life and help you make a more positive contribution to the lives of others. Enjoy the many benefits of improving your listening skills.

Tips for Solopreneurs – Get the Blogging Weight off Your Shoulders

Helpful Blogging Tips

Tips for Solopreneurs – Get Blogging Weight off Your Shoulders

Helpful Blogging Tips“Yikes!”  “I don’t have enough time.” or “I don’t know what I will write about!” is what I often hear when people talk about blogging on a regular basis. .  There’s no question about it – blogging takes time. If you’re a solopreneur with a daily to-do list as long as your arm, you may feel like you don’t have the time to update your blog. However, it might be your day’s most important task, so don’t skip it. Here are some tips for taking the blogging weight off your shoulders and making blogging what it should be – fun, energizing, and creative.

 

Find Your Best Time to Write Your Blog Posts

Everybody has certain times of the day when they feel more inspired than others. For example, you might have your best ideas in the mornings just after you wake up. Set aside some time each day during these periods for working on blog posts. Make it part of your schedule and it will become a habit and ideas will flow and when they do, write away.

Load Them Up

Now even though you have created a schedule and are getting into the habit, sometimes things happen and you have to change your schedule.  So, let’s be prepared for that.   Set aside some special time to write for a longer period of time.  Perhaps you can devote a morning or afternoon (or maybe a whole day) to writing and loading up your blog with draft posts.  You never know what could happen to impact your ability to write. However, if you write a number of posts at one time, when you’re on a roll, you can create enough for several days or weeks. Just upload it to your site in draft form. Then, review and hit publish whenever you’re ready for another post.

Keep a Blogging Idea List

Any time you get an idea for a post, write it down (or jot it in your audio notes.) It could be while you’re at work, out walking around somewhere, or even going to sleep at night. Start an ‘Ideas’ file and just keep adding to it. Whenever you’re feeling uninspired or have writer’s block, refer to this file and pick one that strikes your fancy. You might also set aside some time for brainstorming topics. Let the ideas fly and don’t judge whether they’re ‘good’ or not. An idea you think is off-the-wall now may be a winner later.

Know Where to Get Blogging Ideas

Bookmark some good sites for getting new ideas when you run out. You can find interesting ideas absolutely anywhere online, but some of the best places include forums, question and answer sites, article directories, social media sites, or other blogs. Read what people are talking about. Take each question you see asked online and write a blog post that answers it.

Outsource and Edit

Hire someone to write your blog posts for you and then edit the work they deliver so that it’s ‘you’ and in your blog voice.  (see post on having your own blog voice) One great way to save money doing this is to hire people to write short articles (300 words or less) to use as skeletons that you’ll flesh out. As you edit, expand on the points they make and add your own ideas. This is cheap and it saves you a considerable amount of time. If you find a good writer, you can also let them come up with post ideas for you.

When the Inspiration Dies…

Whenever you don’t feel like blogging, stop. If you push it and write when you’re not feeling inspired, it’ll show. You need to give your readers nothing less than your best. And if you’re feeling uninspired, remember that there are simply days when the writing doesn’t flow. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, maybe shooting a video will be more fun or a quiz or  sharing a quote that inspires you and that will inspire your readers.  Blog posts do not always have to be written articles.  Change it up and have fun with your blog.  And always, share who YOU are with your audience.

Create Your Blog Voice for Your Business

How to Create the Blog Voice for Your Business

Find Your Blog VoiceMany businesses start blogs without a real plan. After all, it’s easy to do and you just need to start writing. But actually, there’s some serious planning involved and one of the major decisions to make is  your blog voice. Just like you need consistent, clear messaging in the rest of your business, a good blog has a clear and consistent voice that is communicated on every page. Consistency helps you create a brand and this is what builds trust with your audience. More importantly, you need a blog that is not a copy of anyone else but a true reflection of you and how you want to show up to your audience.

The Elements of a Blog Voice

What does ‘blog voice’ mean? It sounds simple but it’s made up of a number of different elements including personality, beliefs, tone, style, and type of content. Some questions to ask include:

  • Is your blog going to be strictly factual or opinionated? (are you going to be a technician or thought-leader)
  • What values will it speak to?
  • Is the tone going to be casual and friendly or more professional?
  • Are you going to focus on recent news items, write reviews or offer how-to information?

Personality is an especially important consideration because your blog can’t be dull and formal. The human aspect has to come through. It needs to be engaging and speak to emotions as well as simply giving the reader information.

Your Ideal Reader

Just like any other time you are communicating your message, the best way to determine all the elements of your voice is to picture your perfect reader. Who do you want to become a fan of your blog? If you can imagine this person clearly, you can write posts to them that resonate perfectly. It may take a bit of market research. Find out which demographics are important parts of your niche. Find out what they like and dislike. Learn about how they feel, what they want out of life, and how they see themselves. Some people even draw a physical picture of their ideal reader and look at it whenever they write!  I even recommend going further and naming this person so you can really connect to them as if s/he was sitting next to you.

Your Blog’s Image

Now that you’ve got a clear image of your blog readers in mind, the next step is to create an image for your blog that appeals to them. Consider not only your readers but also your business’s unique selling proposition. The key question to ask yourself here is – ‘How is my blog different than other similar blogs in my industry?’

The answer to this question lies in the specific niche you choose for your blog. One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is trying to be everything to everyone. The truth is that no niche is too specific (unless it’s a market of one person). You need to carve out a unique place for yourself in the blogosphere that will set your blog apart.

Finding Your Voice

Finding a voice for your writing is something all writers must do. If you’re going to blog, you’ve got to consider yourself a writer, even if you don’t have the training, experience or writing chops. Take some time to read different blogs to see how each person’s voice differs. Some write in a very personal style, some are humorous or slightly outrageous, some write posts that are short and to the point. Find your own way of writing that you enjoy and that resonates with your readers.

So, I would love to hear what your voice is…. Share in the comments.

 

How Personal Is Too Personal for Social Media?

How Personal Is Too Personal for Social Media?

Sharing Social Media informationEveryone says that you should show your personal side, even if you’re using social media for your business. Personalizing your content and interactions puts a human face on your business. This is how you build real, authentic relationships. But there are cases where you can be too personal, and you need to steer clear of these or the results could be disastrous.

No “Big Talk”

The type of personal content we share on social media falls under the category of small talk, not “big talk.” You might mention a place you ate today and how it was. You may show a picture of your dog and share a milestone in his or her life. But you would avoid topics like romantic encounters, touchy political issues, or things that annoy you about certain people, unless those topics are a central part of your branding.  We have all seen how too much politics has made people cranky and frankly rude to one another- even leading to the “unfriending” behavior that is happening all too frequently.

Sharing (too many) Problems

Venting and complaining about your problems is more likely to annoy than engage. However, there is a right way to discuss problems that can actually boost engagement. The way to do it is to share a problem you faced that is also a common problem of your audience. Get them to discuss the problem with you. Even better, offer a solution to this common problem or ask your audience to share theirs.

Oops, I Shouldn’t Have Said That

Before posting anything personal, remember that this goes on your permanent record. Read back over it to make sure it isn’t something that might come back to haunt you later. Once you unleash it upon the world, it could be there forever.  

Data Collection

Keep in mind that any personal information you put out there could be accessed by data collectors for nefarious or otherwise malevolent reasons. If you publish something like your address or share pictures of your children, this could compromise your identity or safety.

That’s Not What I Meant

Before posting, always read your content to make sure that it won’t get taken the wrong way. Stories abound on the internet of people making a harmless joke that blew up in their faces and caused major damage to their brand image. Everyone may not be “in on it,” so make sure that your content won’t be misunderstood.

Think about Others

Finally, tread very carefully with the privacy of others. Don’t share personal details about other people unless these are things you know they are open about, themselves. You can always ask them to make sure before posting.

As you get more and more social, remember the goal is to be engaging and inviting so you can connect with more people.

Beyond Overwhelm and Busy to a Space of Intentional Calm

Stay out of overwhelm

slow down, relax, take it easy, keep calm and other motivational lifestyle reminders on colorful sticky notes

Sometime for you to consider this weekend…  In this rush, rush, busy, hurry up world of ours, it is easy to have a sense of overwhelm.  Sometimes it feels too hard to stop and spend some quiet time to relax, unwind and find your center.  And yet, this is crucial.  It is in creating that space that we allow ourselves to feel at peace.

Beyond Overwhelm and Busy to Relaxed and Focused

I am often called the “Queen of Busy” because I am Mom to 3 active kids, I am a business owner, and I also have another job teaching at the graduate level.  So how does the “Queen of Busy” stay out of overwhelm? I start my day by creating a space for peace.  I get up early and I start my day sitting in my hot tub.  Start my day relaxed and creating my thriving mindset by setting intentions,  I decide how I am going to experience my day.  We each get to CHOOSE every moment of every day and how we respond to what is happening to us.  I choose to respond in a positive way that allows me to stay connected and focused on how I was to feel and what I want to achieve.

Although the world is filled with negative influences, I avoid being distracted by them. I remain calm and composed because I embrace the influence of quiet time.  I have already created my focus for the day, even before it fully begins.

Listen to what your heart is telling you

When I stop and listen,  I am confident that I can handle whatever happens throughout my day and I am able to stay on course with my intentions.  I am confident to rise when I have challenging days or are confronted by difficult people. Calm energy envelops each circumstance and produces positivity.  Take the time to Listen to the sounds of your breath and you too will relax. Taking deep breaths in and out will calm your mind and your soul.

Deep breathing produces a quietness that betrays the noise around you. It creates a forcefield that will protects you and gives you a peaceful disposition that aptly tackles the toughest moments.

Be Aligned with your Purpose

Being one with my purpose is important to accepting what life throws your way. When you quietly accept who you are, there are very few things that will be able to rattle your nerves.  You will respond to people, projects, circumstances with an enthusiasm that you may not have known was even possible.  Let that out!  Let your purpose and your gifts shine on everyone around you.

Today, give yourself some  downtime to enjoy connecting with self, family and friends, your environment and NOTICE how you feel. You can connect to this sense of calm and ease whenever you choose.  Approach life from a place of peace and calm and you will experience how much easier and in the flow you can be even when you are very BUSY.

So here is my last question to you?  

What  do you do to achieve  some quiet time when you are constantly on the go?

10 Things to Help You Be Your Best Self

Be Your Best Self

Be Your Best SelfAs we head into the weekend, here is a quick top 10 list to living as your best self.  When you are in control, you feel confident and you can reach out to others and support them just a little bit more.  Feeling your best allows you to smile more, stay out of overwhelm and just plain Love your LIFE!  This takes a little bit work (hey the payoffs are huge so a little work is not so bad.

So here it is, the 10 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do to Be your Best Self:

 

  1. Manage your time:– everyone has the same 24 hours each day.  So learn to use yours most effectively so you can spend more of your time doing what makes your heart sing.
  2. Set goals: To set a goal, you need to know what you want.  That is half the battle.  Spend some time each week reflecting on what you really want and doing things that move you toward your goals.
  3. Listen: Do you listen to others or are you really just waiting to say something next? When you are thinking of what to say, you are not fully present with the other person.  Few people truly listen.  Be one of the unique who really do and you will see your conversations and relationships deepen.
  4.  How to have a conversation with someone new: Every person you know now was a stranger at some point in time.  Learn how to engage and chat with new people and your perspective on the world will change.
  5. Apologize:  Hey, we all make mistakes.  No one is perfect.  Learn to accept responsibility and apologize easily and your relationships will be much smoother.
  6. Back up your computer:  As someone who recently experienced a computer melt-down, I emphatically recommend that you do this on a regular basis.  You can not act as your best self is you don’t have the tools to support you and most of us use a computer to support us.  Just consider the havoc you would face if you computer died on your today.  Be proactive and back-up.
  7. Eat properly: Nothing impacts your health more than the food that you eat.  You can not be your best self if your health is not optimal.  Learn what are the best food choices and make them on a daily basis. Your energy, confidence and feeling of well-being will sky-rocket.
  8. Ask for help:  This may be the most important of all in order to living your best life.  You can’t do it alone!
  9. Receive: Not only do you need to ask, you must receive help graciously.  Whether it is help, money, advice or anything else, you won’t get much of it unless you are open to receiving it.  So ASK, then RECEIVE.
  10. Find your voice and use it: Everyone has a message to share and when you are sharing it, you are connecting to others in a powerful way.  Learn how to effectively deliver your message so you can reach more people.

 

So, as you look through the list, see where you are already and what you can improve to help you Be your Best Self and Live your Best Life.