Shoot For the Moon – Five Steps to Amp Up Your Results

December 31, 2007 | Leave a Comment

Are you excited about business? Your life? What you do day to day? If you bound out of bed each day looking forward to the day ahead, congratulations! If not, this article is for you.

While I believe that life is a patch quilt of all kinds of experiences and emotions, I do also believe we can feel fulfilled and thrilled about each and every day – no matter what it brings.

A couple of months ago, I talked with a client and my recommendation was to dream big – bigger than what might even be considered possible. My reasoning is that by stretching a vision, a person automatically stretches possibility. You might not hit the moon, but when you hit the stars, you likely will hit a goal much bigger than you would have through making a ‘reasonable’ goal.

Lots of gurus have differing views on how to set goals. Some of them recommend setting goals that are easily achieved so you can be inspired and stay motivated. To me, this is playing games with yourself. We all know what we are capable of. We all know when we feel we could be doing more. Why not take the honest Abe route, stop playing silly mind games, and go big?

For those of you who are tired of playing small, are yearning to stretch and play bigger, here are a few ways to do just that:

  1. Expand Your Beliefs – Take a look at your goal and be honest. Where does it fall? Is it less than you know you are capable of achieving? Is it more than you really believe you can achieve? Is it somewhere in between? Whether it is a revenue goal or an actual accomplishment, get clear about what you believe. Try this. Write down what you know you can achieve with a little bit of effort. This will be easy although it might be a bit more than you are doing right now. This is your baseline. Next, write down what you believe you could accomplish if you really put the pedal to the metal. This will be your realistic goal – it’s the goal that will feel good when you get there. It may feel a bit scary, but somewhere you still believe (and know) it is possible. Next, write down a goal that is beyond your comprehension of how you would ever achieve it. The mere mention of it will evoke fear in your body. This is your Shoot for the Moon (SFTM) goal.

  2. Spend Some Time with Possibility – Once you have your SFTM goal, carry it around with you for a few days, perhaps even a week. Imagine what it would be like to achieve this. What would happen? How would it impact your life? What would change? Remember, whether your Shoot for the Moon goal is a certain revenue amount, writing a book or some other huge accomplishment, there’s a part of you that yearns to do it. Spend some time there this week! When you have a moment, allow your mind to drift there – to open to the idea of doing the seemingly impossible.

  3. Make a Date with Destiny – After spending some time with possibility, look at your goals again. Which one will you commit to? Will your psyche really crumble if you shoot for the moon and land among the stars? What do you have to lose by going bigger? Make a date with destiny and ink your goals on paper and commit to them.

  4. Plan for Success – Once you have committed to your goal, plan for success by outlining the simple steps to achieve it. If it is a revenue figure, break the amount down by new client, by time period or by niche. If it is another type of goal such as writing a book, break the writing process into easy to implement steps. Focus on your vision of this goal completed. When you have moments when you feel stressed pull out your vision to renew your spirits.

  5. Build Your Dream Team – No one succeeds alone. Choose at least one person who can support you in your vision. This person might be a coach, a life partner, or a close friend. This person will not judge your abilities – this person is someone who believes completely in you as a person and can hold your vision with you. Be sure to identify key areas where there are others who can help you fulfill your plan and achieve your goals. Don’t set yourself up for failure by going it alone. Commit to pulling in the very best people to work with you.

Make 2008 your biggest, best year ever. Bigger and better may not necessarily mean more – keep in mind that your vision is what you decide it will be!

Jott.com

December 31, 2007 | Leave a Comment

Ever wish there was an easier way to jot a note down while those amazing thoughts, ideas and brain flashes that come while you are driving down the road?

Good news – there is! It’s Jott.com and, guess what? It’s free (for now). This is a great little tool for those of you who call and leave yourself messages you don’t want to forget.

Get Jott.com and see your voice messages turn into text messages delivered straight to your email box!

Consider It Already Done.com

December 31, 2007 | Leave a Comment

Brandie Collier Geiger is a wizard at all things admin. If you have an ongoing need for a virtual assistant or need reliable, top-notch help for a one-time project, get in touch with her through her site.

I’ve worked with Brandie for many years and she is a busy entrepreneur’s dream. In fact, she’s already working with four of our clients, and she just launched her very own entrepreneurial venture less than three months ago!

What makes Brandie so wonderful? Her ability to get everything complete, on time, and with a cheerful attitude is second to none.

Windows Live Writer

December 31, 2007 | Leave a Comment

If you are headed into the world of blogging, you will definitely want to add Windows Live Writer to your toolbox. This is the coolest and most exciting addition to the world of blogs.

Windows Live Writer is a desktop application that makes it easy to publish rich content to your blog. You can use it with most blogging softwares, including WordPress, Blogger and many others. And, if you don’t have a blog yet, this snazzy program will help you set one up!

What exactly is ‘rich content?’ you ask. Well, it’s pretty much anything your creativity can conceive to support your text. Live Writer makes it super easy to add photos, videos, maps, tags and loads of other content – all with just a few keystrokes. Mark is raving about Live Writer and I have to admit that it is pretty impressive. What used to take several tries, formatting changes and the like is easily achieved by letting Live Writer do the heavy lifting.

The program allows you to preview before you post, and includes tools such as spell checker and quick hyperlinks. It is definitely the wave of the future in blogging, and will make your blogging experience so much more hassle-free.

When you are ready, snag it here for free!

AuthorSmart

December 30, 2007 | Leave a Comment

Ever think of writing a book? I’ve dreamt of writing books my whole life. For whatever reason, I kept thinking of it as a ‘one day’ item. Sure, I’ve written lots of short stories, articles and everything else in between for years (I even won a contest once!). But, it wasn’t until this past June that I seriously considered REALLY doing it. That’s when I met Gail Richards, creator of AuthorSmart.com – just one of an amazing panel of people dedicated to helping people get their dream books out to the world.

Gail puts out a nifty newsletter chock-full of great ideas. I just love how her creative mind works. This week’s newsletter had this great article – Branding Outside the Box (sign up for her newsletter for more great ideas). Use these great ideas for your business, new product, upcoming holidays – get jiggy with it!

Branding Outside of the Box

By Gail Richards, Creator of AuthorSmart.com

Here are some out-of-the-ordinary ways you can put your branding or book cover out into the world to get noticed:
CafePress.com lets you put your branding on a wide variety of items. The best part: you can order one or 100 and order as you need them, no inventory, no risk.You can even create merchandise and link to a shop from your website.

PhotoStamps.com  · Put your postage to work for you. For slightly more than the cost of a regular stamp, you can put your own artwork or branding on your mail. Click on the graphic below for more info.

Totally Chocolate · Need I say more?
Jones Soda · This is my personal favorite. This company’s labels are already fantastic—each emblazoned with a photo submitted by a fan. Why not customize your own Jones Soda bottle labels with your book cover?

Free Marketing Membership Site

December 30, 2007 | Leave a Comment

I always love to connect clients to great resources. There’s no greater resource than www.marketingbestpractices.com. It’s chock-full of great ideas, advice and how-tos. David Frey is a great person, all-around good guy, and expert marketer.

He’s running a complimentary special right now for his super popular site, which he has just converted to a membership model. If you go there now, you can get a membership for FR*EE.

I don’t make a dime from Dave, this is all for you to tap into more advice than you could implement in a year!

5 Things You Can Learn From Anne Heche

December 29, 2007 | Leave a Comment

I know it’s hard to go for your dreams. What if you fail? What happens if people laugh at you? What do you do when it feels like everyone is against you?

My advice is to think of Anne Heche. Do you know who she is? If you haven’t heard of her, no doubt you don’t get out much, but let me share the short version of her very interesting life thus far.

Anne Heche is an actress. Most of us put her on the map when she was announced as Ellen Degeneres’s girlfriend. Before that, she was dating Steve Martin, and was even portrayed as a character in one of his wacky movies where her character suddenly becomes gay.

Anne then abruptly announced she was not gay. Then she took a wide detour into the land of crazy. Yes, you read correctly, CRAZY. She found herself out in the desert in someone else’s house telling people that aliens visited.

So at this point, you may be wondering…what on EARTH could I possibly learn from Anne Heche? Keep reading, there’s lots you can learn from this tale.

After the craziness that enveloped her life, she turned that detour into a tell-all book, I mean, a memoir called Call Me Crazy. Gloria Steinem even endorsed the book as one that can help us all. Hey, what could be bad about that?

So, like the phoenix rising from the ashes, Anne marries the ‘love of her life,’ has a baby, opens on broadway to rave reviews and easily enters back into mainstream. About five years later she is on TV again in a series and has fallen madly in love with her leading man, divorcing her husband. And that is where we pick up on Anne’s story and the lessons she has for you.

  1. Nothing is the end of the world. Clearly, if Anne Heche can get jobs in Hollywood with all of the competing actors there’s little that can’t be forgiven in this world. Even crazy can be overcome!
  2. If it’s not working, change it. Some people feel like every decision is one they are going to have to live with for the rest of their lives. If you try something and it’s not working for you, just know you can always change it – just like Anne.
  3. Be who you are right now. I couldn’t think of a better example of this than Anne. We are evolving beings. Who you are changes with your many experiences. Have the courage to be who you are right now – warts and brilliance combined. Sometimes it helps to say, “This is who I am right now – maybe not next year, maybe not even tomorrow, but for now, this is who I am.”
  4. Be a beginner. Anne has tried lots of things. Some worked well. Some not so well. However each was taking her along her journey toward who she was becoming. Is she done yet? Probably not. I don’t think we ever stop evolving. People often think they need to master something before they go for it. If you do that, you might end up mastering something that you don’t even want to do for more than a month or two. Begin where you are, try it out, live by your standards and do your best.
  5. Have a sense of humor. Come on. I have to give Anne the ‘Best in Show’ award. Everyone thought she was crazy. She was the butt of many people’s jokes. But, Anne had the last laugh by poking fun of all of it and writing a book with Crazy in the title. If you can laugh at yourself and roll with life there’s likely very little that will get you down – or keep you down!

Whatever it is that is holding you back, consider letting it go. Just let it go right on out of here and make a commitment to go for it! Just like Anne did.

Is Your Company Smarter Than a Sixth Grade Class

December 28, 2007 | Leave a Comment

For Immediate Release

News Release
Contact: Candace Fitzpatrick
Phone: 214-535-1313 or 972-612-0413

Is Your Company Smarter Than a Sixth Grade Class?

Underperforming Colorado School Unites and Excels After Discovering Talents

(Plano, Texas December 28, 2007) – Last year Nathan Smith, the principal of Del Norte Middle School, knew there had to be an answer. The question was, “What do you do when more than 50 percent of incoming students are underperformers in basic math?” The district ranked 161st the previous year – just seventeen slots from dead last in the state, which landed the southern Colorado school on academic watch. To correct the district issues, the school board hired a new superintendent.

The bigger concern for Smith was how to help his new students plug into learning. His new boss, Michael Salvato, a turn-around artist for under-performing school districts, challenged Smith to see if plugging into student’s innate talents would lead to student academic achievement.

Through Salvato, Smith was introduced to a woman from Texas who was doing talent-based work with company employees, helping them increase productivity and improve interpersonal relations. Seeing the similarities between his school and the corporate world, he asked what he could do to bring this same tool to his students.

“Our teachers are top notch. They were already noticing patterns within the student body,” Smith says. “We just didn’t have the language and tools to identify and work with the dynamic we were experiencing.”

The first week of school, every 6th grade student was assessed and each one received a list of his or her top three innate talents. The question posed to Candace Fitzpatrick, president of Plano-based CoreClarity, was, “What’s next?”

Fitzpatrick quickly created a color-coded mapping system that allowed teachers and students to relate to each other based on their core talents. Two district employees were sent to Dallas for training in group facilitation methods developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs. They went back to Colorado and held a focused conversation during which the students agreed their mission was to make sure that no child was ever left behind in the 6th grade at Del Norte Middle School. Then, through a consensus building workshop, they created their own seven point plan to make sure they accomplished their mission.

What came next was nothing short of miraculous.

During the first reporting period, more than 88 percent of the 6th graders were on the A/B honor roll. The others had no less than C averages. Throughout the school year, 75 percent were consistently earning As and Bs, the others were in and out of the A/B honor roll, but never with anything less than a C average. They brilliantly executed their plan.

The shift in the environment at the school could literally be felt not only at school but at home as many parents called to report changes they were seeing in their children.

The talent-identification tool, which is owned by Gallup, Inc., is called the StrengthsExplorer. CoreClarity works with the results of this tool to map and provide a system and language so simple that students easily incorporate it into their daily lives. The color-coding also highlights for teachers how individual children best learn so they can modify their lesson plans to create a positive learning experience for all.

Parent/Teacher meetings have changed tone from focusing on the student’s academic struggles (perceived weaknesses) to highlighting their innate gifts. Communication has improved at home, too.

Denise Benavides, 6th grade math teacher, says, “It has changed the way we view ourselves, our abilities and each other. Each child, as well as each teacher, has a map of his or her talents. Now, we relate to each other in a fundamentally different way. It’s been truly amazing.”

One of the resource children, after receiving his results, exclaimed, “It’s not blank! I have talents!” In this way, each child can focus on what is best about himself or herself, yet still learn to work with others who are better suited to other activities.

Another child who opened his locker and found himself overcome by the contents falling to the floor cried out, “I need an organizer!  Where’s an organizer?” Two students who excel at organizing things immediately rushed to assist him.

“Our school has moved from a place that needed to be fixed to a place where individuals are celebrated and honored,” says Smith. “Bullying is down by 75 percent in this class. In all my years in education, I’ve never seen anything like this. These students will never forget this experience.”

For a baseline, the class was assessed using a national test in September 2006, then again in December and May. They not only excelled as a student body, progressing two or more years in science and language arts, and a full three years in reading and math; but in September 2007, the results confirmed that as a class, they retained 100 percent of what they learned last year.

Fitzpatrick’s corporate clients have experienced similar, dramatic and accelerated changes after utilizing the company’s proprietary program. From leadership groups to nonprofit organizations to Fortune 500 companies, CoreClarity has helped individuals unite under one mission, increase individual and team performance, and work together more harmoniously.

Clients who have experienced the program have called CoreClarity an “Excelerant” – because they accelerate the removal of years of accumulated personal debris and move individuals and teams quickly to excellence. This clearing allows the true essence and excellence of individuals, teams and organizations to shine through in both adult and student programs.

For information about Del Norte Middle School contact Mr. Smith at nsmith@del-norte.k12.co.us.    For more information about CoreClarity visit www.coreclarity.net. CoreClarity is not affiliated with Gallup, Inc.

Set It and Forget It: 3 Ways to Put Marketing on Autopilot

December 28, 2007 | Leave a Comment

I have the same as you. You have the same as me. There’s no one that gets any more or less. And no matter what we do, this will never change. What am I talking about? Time of course!

Each and every one of us gets 168 hours a week. No matter how you slice and dice it, it comes out the same. Time is one of those constant things in life. Do you fight it or flow with it?

Fighting it just takes more time, I believe, and it adds struggle to the time we do have. The flow is all about allowing things to move in rhythm with life. Can we do much about the traffic jam? The flat tire? No, and the same goes for the unexpected help that arrives when we need it or the new client that shows up on our doorstep. These things are part of the fabric of life and the sooner we realize they aren’t something to “overcome,” the sooner we’ll be on our merry way flowing with the tide.

One of the best ways to get in the flow is to stop the endless feeling of never having enough time to do everything we want to do. When we infuse this feeling of futility into our lives, it has a way of seeping out onto everything (and everyone) around us! Not exactly the kind of gift we want people to remember us for, right? J

Here are three quick ways to put priorities on autopilot so you can be sure that those most important things are done and you feel good about what you are accomplishing with your time.

  1. Hire it done. Focusing on what you do best is one of the best ways to make everything run smoother. Ever try to do something you aren’t good at? It’s usually a mess and one that takes lots and lots of time. When you focus on what you are best at, there’s usually plenty of money to hire help for those areas that are important and yet are not your top priority. Hire out anything that you say ‘have to’ or ‘need to’ next to it. I have to get my accounting done. I need to get my office organized. I have to and need to commit more time to marketing! Some areas may include administrative help, graphic design, marketing, household duties (cleaning, errands and such), and sales. The key is to look at what it costs to outsource it and balance this against the gain you get in productivity from having it on someone else’s plate!
  2. Let it go. Okay, so this one isn’t all about putting it on autopilot, but it will eliminate a big pile of junk that is dragging you down. Most of my clients are trapped by things they “should” do, but don’t do and don’t want to do. They keep these “shoulds” on the list, moving them around the office, shoving them under the desk, and then finally (usually about every two to three months), they throw them away vowing to do better next time. Everyone has these. EVERYONE. They are the things the experts say we ‘should’ do, they are the things we believe we ‘should’ do, and they are things others expect us to do that are just not a match for us. Take a look around and think about it… what are your ‘shoulds’ and which ones can you just let go of where no one will even notice? What are the ones that you can outsource? Which ones can you automate? Which ones serve you and which ones don’t?
  3. Build a process. Opposite of a ‘should’ is a ‘want to’ or a ‘get to.’ These things are the things you really do want to do, but because they are things you want to do, and perhaps no one else is expecting from you, they just fall to the bottom of the list. Generally speaking, these are the things that really do reflect who you are. If you like to clip articles for clients and yet never get them mailed, or if you write the intro to an article or two or three but never make it to the ezine stage, or maybe you want to start meeting with clients for monthly check-ins yet the meetings don’t get scheduled, these are activities that could use a process. Here’s what you do. Select one to three of these ‘want tos.’ Then ask yourself… What is keeping me from doing this? It may be because it’s not important enough or maybe it seems like a lot of work and you’ll do it ‘tomorrow,’ or ‘next week.’ Determine what needs to be decided so this can be part of your life. Work backwards to create the steps and then dedicate a person (even if that’s you) to each step. In no time, you will have a process!

One of the things I love to work on with clients is what I call Awareness in Action. The words we use tell a tale of what we are feeling about everything in our lives. Notice when you use these words – have to, need to, should, want to, and get to. Notice how they are working in your life. Work to delegate the have tos and need tos. Make choices (and peace) with the shoulds. And focus on want tos and get tos. Your life will flow like you mean it!

For all of you who feel like time is elusive, check out this movie about it!

Shutterfly.com

December 28, 2007 | Leave a Comment

I planned to add this to my gift list, and totally forgot about it. I first saw that Shutterfly.com has a cool way to create books when Candace Fitzpatrick shared a book she created for the kids her company worked with last year. The book was like a printed scrapbook and looked like it popped right off of a printing press. The quality was amazing.

Since then, I’ve seen others recommend Shutterfly.com’s books for holiday gifts that are more than unique – they are a memorable treasure. For less than $50.00 ($39.99 for leather with 20 pages, $29.99 for other options with 20 pages), you can have a gift that will last a lifetime.

Companies can use this for capturing a year in the life of their company, special employee outings, retreats, etc. For those who work with clients in an environment where a camera would be appropriate, this might be just that little something extra that gets people talking about your company.

On the personal side, this is sure to thrill grandmas and grandpas for sure. And, with buy one, get 25% off the second one, it’s priced right too.

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