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52 Weeks Forward

It’s B-School Season

I love this time of year. No not winter, B-School Season!

It took me a few years to sign up to B-School. I had financial concerns because it was a big commitment at the time, but mostly I was wishy-washy about making a decision. I’m truly great at finding a million reasons why I shouldn’t do something… which is why I’ve spent so much time learning how to execute that one reason why I should do something.

Last year I sat down with my mentor, showed him B-School and asked for his thoughts. I was surprised at how short the conversation was. He simply said, “go for it”.

Here’s the thing. He was always up for education and learning in any form or fashion. And when it was about business he thought you couldn’t go wrong. I learned a lot from that quick meeting. It launched me on a year of self discovery and clarity that has changed everything.

The minute I got home I opened up my email and found a message from Natalie MacNeil, founder of She Takes on the World, sharing her bonus and I was in.

I love how Marie Forleo has expanded her B-School reach by supporting other business leaders that complement her program. There were a lot of bonus programs last year, as you’ll find again this year, but for me, signing up with Natalie and the Conquer Club have been a match made in heaven. I don’t know how I found Natalie, but I had been watching her weekly videos for quite a few months when B-School came around again. I think I felt a connection because she was Canadian and I grew up in Nova Scotia, she was a media producer and I’m a short film producer. What ever it was I felt pulled in the most wonderful way to engage.

Why I Chose B-School

I spent two years working on a business that I loved, but struggled to find my voice within it, which is ironic given the fact the business is a voice over company for e-learning and web modules. The business is growing, but personally I am finding joy else where. My marketing and freelance non-business is growing faster, without effort, and I see daily impacts of how I am helping the businesses I am working with.

It is truly inspiring, but can it be a business when there are so many other business coaches and online gurus out there?

B-School and the Conquer Club showed me it could be. I spent most of last year clarifying Word of Mouth Media while continuing to work on freelance projects and acting as the Director of Marketing for Binders Art Supplies and Frames.

I’m a multi-passionate, multi-visionairy, multi-talented, lover of the creative life. B-School along with the Conquer Club has helped me weave a tapestry of who I am and develop a platform on which I can move all my businesses and streams of revenue forward.

I’m excited to start my sophomore year, share in the successes and aha moments of my fellow alumni and do my best to help those starting their first year. It’s going to feel overwhelming at times but know you’re making a decision that can change your life.

If you’re on the fence, let me offer you this bit of advice.

My mentor passed away in November. It’s been a rough transition, but everyday I realize he left me genius nuggets of wisdom that I find everywhere. When faced with a decision he’d make a list of pros and cons. Then he’d look at the con list and figure out a way to either move it to the pro side or cross it off the list. He just didn’t see problems. Not the kind of problems that stop us in our tracks and make us question everything. He always saw opportunities and if he didn’t see it as an opportunity he just didn’t do it. It was with this mindset that he could move on from his decisions without stress, what ifs or regret.

If you’re struggling to find your path, if you want to take your business to the next level, if you just want to find a way to communicate your vision, B-School can help and The Conquer Club will keep you engaged and focused for as long as you need. I’m sharing this because I believe in it. Because I did it. Because this year I’ll do it again. I receive no compensation for recommending B-School or The Conquer Club. I will however share this link for convenience. Get off the fence already… another year is a long time to wait!

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!

Blueskies!

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Discussing hobby vs business doesn’t seem like it would create too much turmoil, but I think it does.

Nothing is a hobby – each discipline is its own world with its own high standards. Of course, every artist has ‘minor works’ that they do, but I don’t think I have any ‘minor disciplines.’

Patti Smith
hobby vs business

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There are of course quite a few ways to distinguish a hobby from a business, most importantly is one makes you money and one costs you money. But is it really that easy? In some ways that statement can relate to both. And how often have you heard about someone who has turned a hobby into a business?

So today I want to touch on the mindset of a hobby vs business.

When we treat what we do like a hobby we don’t tend to build cost analyses or budget sheets, we may actually spend freely on our hobbies because we view it as something we do in our free time. We probably don’t have to be very disciplined to work on our hobby. And when we set a goal to reach a certain level with our hobby and fail, it can hurt, but it probably doesn’t have devastating consequences.

It’s a hobby because it’s fun, it relaxes us, or provides stimulation in ways our work doesn’t. The point is, it is not business.

Business is work. It can fun and should be fulfilling. But everyday should be a mindful step forward to a goal and toward success on your terms. And mindfulness takes discipline. It takes planning. It takes getting a little (or maybe a lot) uncomfortable. And it certainly takes understanding your bottom line.

It’s with this business mindset that I would like to see you pursue your 52 Weeks Forward.

But I’m not opening a business this year“, you say.

That’s okay“, I say.

Maybe your 52 Weeks Forward is about losing weight, taking more time for yourself, reading a book a month, running a marathon, cleaning out your garage, re-decorating your home, joining the smoothie movement, going back to school, buying a new car, finally putting together those scrapbooks, writing a screenplay…

What ever it is, do it with intention. Create a budget and see how much you’ve invested in yourself this year. Write out a list of one goal a month you’d like to accomplish and hold yourself accountable to getting it done. Witness your mindfulness – are you choosing an hour of television over accomplishing your goal for the month. If so why? You won’t believe how often we sabotage our own success and never ask ourselves why.

Look at your one thing for this year, are you treating it like a hobby or a business?

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!

Blueskies!

Sharing inspirational tips on productivity, marketing, and a positive mindset – Join us!


weekfour_52weeksforward_blogheaderMy mother gave me the best gift anyone could have given me. She not only taught me to read, she taught me to love reading. I’ve never been without books on the night stand. Even when I didn’t have a night stand.

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

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Books on the Night Stand

I don’t just love to read, I love being surrounded by books. I enjoy e-books, my kindle and audio files but there is nothing like flipping through the pages of a good book.

My go-to genre is historical fiction, I’m a sucker for a good ghost story and I love books about business.

Because of this I know it would be easy for me to list a number of recommendations. I have a lot of suggestions and often share them with relevant blog posts. But I believe there is a special joy in discovering a book that speaks to you. Truly knowing that answers are out there, that you’re not alone, that you can find what ever it is you need is knowledge that will move you forward this year.

So your mission this week is to find a book and read a chapter. Search online, hangout at a bookstore, visit a library. Ask a question and look for resources.

It’s amazing how connected we can feel to an idea or a piece of knowledge that speaks to us. It can motivate us and feel like a pot of gold.

Feel free to share your discoveries with us below in the comments.

Do you love to read? Or is it a struggle? Do you prefer videos or podcasts? Whether a virtual or physical library I encourage you to start or continue studying your craft.

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!

Blueskies!

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A word for whyA word for why is about finding focus.

Call it a mantra, call it a theme, call it anything you want, but make it a word that resonates with your mission.

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Every year I pick a word (or maybe the word picks me) to study and discover. It’s always a word that centers me and brings my rambling mind back into focus.

Last year I dug into the word “woman” and read such books as The Alphabet Verses the Goddess, Wisewoman and Half the Sky. The year before I investigated “miracles” studying A Course in Miracles, May Cause Miracles and various articles on the concept.

This year I found my word in the most unexpected place. In a Jewish temple listening to a sermon given by a Baptist preacher during a Martin Luther King Jr celebration.

I was struggling this year to find a word that fit. I wanted something that resonated with all the change I had experienced in 2014 but also wanted to stay true to my vision of a word worthy of study and contemplation.

During the service the preacher spoke of how clear the message is that can sometimes come to us… and in the silence between that sentence and the next I heard the word “bridge” as clear as if he had spoke it.

Bridge, it fit perfectly.

Isn’t that what we are building this year? A bridge between today and where we want to be a year from now. The practice of writing these posts and completing the work is building a bridge. And of course now that it’s top of mind I see it everywhere.

This year I’d like us to align our word with our why. Pick a word that resonates with this journey of 52 weeks we’ve started. And use the word to keep you centered and focused.

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!

Blueskies!

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The Secret to being Uber ProductiveThe thing about following your dream is that you probably have 101 other responsibilities. Maybe it’s a full time job, maybe it’s 4 part time jobs, maybe you have a family, a spouse, maybe you’re a care giver to an aging parent. What ever it is, I bet you don’t have all the time in the world to focus on you.

Well that is why we are taking a 52 week journey. Developing new skills, finding the focus, belief and confidence needed to move toward the future in a meaningful and thoughtful way.

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The one thing I believe in whole heartily is that I own my time. Even when I’m working for someone else, either as an employee or as a contractor, I must effectively manage my time. This isn’t always easy but being uber productive means making difficult choices in pursuit of the dream.

Let me set the scene.

I receive an email. URGENT it says. I read the email. I may or may not see the urgency, but I have no doubt that it is urgent for the sender. I receive 3 urgent emails that morning, and I also have a list of important tasks that will propel my business, my day, my dream forward.

What should I do first?

My #1 Productivity Secret

Learning the difference between what is urgent and what is important has changed my life and set me on a path of getting more done, period.

This isn’t really much of a secret. It’s more about crushing the myth that you don’t own your time.

We are always going to have urgent requests that must be handled. Which is why I tend not to drop everything I’m doing in order to address them. Unless of course it is an emergency.

So what is urgent? Often it can be defined by someone else demanding your attention. If my to do list is interrupted by something that is urgent I tend to look at it after I’ve completed my most important tasks. Important tasks are ones you’ve clearly defined as the ones that will move you forward toward your goal and dream.

Important tasks are sacred. When you hold off on completing one because something urgent (let me be clear this is not an emergency, this is someone else demanding your time) has come up, you will feel a sense of not moving forward. Frustration will sit in and you will tell yourself that you do not have time to follow your dream.

Productivity Exercise

Think about the last week. Are there items on your to do list you haven’t completed? Has there been a time you thought I’ll do that later?

List 5 times this week when you procrastinated.

Beside each of them list the reason. Oh, and the reason it not I didn’t have time. List what you did instead of doing what ever it is you procrastinated on.

See any themes? Make a note of your go to reasons, excuses, stories, etc that become urgent.

Now write down a few ways to give yourself a better sense of urgency for your important tasks.

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!

Blueskies!

Sharing inspirational tips on productivity, marketing, and a positive mindset – Join us!


Finding the fun in workIn every bit of work there is an element of fun, you find the fun and snap the jobs a game. – Mary Poppins

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I think Mary Poppins was brilliant!

My father is a semi-retired truck driver. He has owned his own company most of his life. I started helping out in the family business when I was 8 and have been working ever since. I asked him one time about the long hours on the road and he said, “I don’t think I’ve felt like I’ve worked a day in my life”. I’m sure he has had some tough days, but to love your work so much that it doesn’t feel like a JOB. That’s success to me.

The reason I bring it up is because I speak with people all the time that do not have a passion for their work. That what they do every day feels like a JOB. And it depletes them more than is fulfills them.

Can you relate?

Generally, we tend to think that we do not need motivation to complete the tasks that give us joy. That the work that makes us feel alive does not feel like work. I don’t believe that. I believe that work is work. That it can be hard to show up everyday and put the time in. That it’s often the completion of tasks that brings most of that joy.

Even when we love what we do we can still experience frustration, struggles and stress.

I just believe that some of us deal with it better than others, because we find an element of fun and focus on it.

How do you find the fun in work?

I love to make everything a game. On a really busy day, with a to do list longer than my arm I give myself points for completing each task. Sometimes I give myself a dollar amount for each task. Then I reward myself.

It’s never that it can’t be done. It’s deciding how focused I’m going to be and truly dialing in to what is important.

Sometimes, on days when I can feel my body holding on to the stress, I workout between tasks. It gets the blood pumping and it’s so much better than sitting at the computer all day. I even make a game of this. If I have 5things on my to do list. I break down the individual tasks for each item. I times this number by 25 reps and come up with a total number of reps. And that’s my one goal for the day. On that day I could do 300 pushups, or crunches or squats… what ever it takes to meet that one goal. In the process I complete most of my items on my to do list.

I find these extras put a little fun in work that I would other wise procrastinate on.

How do you find the fun? Tell us in the comment section below.

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!

Blueskies!

Sharing inspirational tips on productivity, marketing, and a positive mindset – Join us!


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