Category Archives: Focus

3 Guiding Words for 2010

If you are a resolution-maker and goal-setter, you might be terrified of coming up with just three scant words to build your New Year’s vision.  I know I was – how could three simple words sum up a year of great intentions?!

However, after reading social media advisor Chris Brogan’s post Wiring Yourself for Success,  I’ve been inspired to play the game of choosing just three words to guide my actions, frame my thinking and measure my results for 2010. It’s a scary exercise for someone used to writing many words and describing things in greater detail – but here we go.

First, a clarification on Brogan’s process, which he began in 2006. The selection of three guiding words for the year is different from setting resolutions and goals since those two things have end points – meaning once you accomplish them, then what? You have to continually come up with more, better, etc. The use of three big-picture words as a compass point allows there to be constant growth, improvisation, interpretation, adjustment, etc. – similar to Keith Ferrazzi’s concept of performance goals vs. learning goals in his best-seller “Who’s Got Your Back?”

Here’s an example Ferrazzi gives:  You want to lose 10 pounds.  That’s a performance goal – you either hit the mark or you don’t.  Which means if you lose 9 pounds, you potentially could feel that you “failed” and fell short of your goal?  (this is why many people fail on diets!) The other side of the coin would be to set a learning goal of taking classes to cook healthier meals.  This has a long-term effect that will likely allow you to achieve your performance goal, but even if you don’t hit the 10 pound loss, you still have gained a valuable skill in your life with long-lasting health benefits. So, we want learning goals, yes?

Without further ado, my words for 2010 – Balance, Improvement, Perspective.

Balance – this is an concept I think about a lot, and continually strive to achieve. Am I playing more than working? Am I eating enough of the right kinds of food? Does my client load make sense and support my overall company goals? Do I spend too much time watching reality TV?

By choosing balance as a compass point for the year, I can measure virtually any idea/option/choice against its alternative.  The cool thing is, the definition of balance will be different on any given day (depending on the circumstances), which will allow me to live more “in the moment”, a concept previously not well-known to me! This will be a big change, for sure.

Improvement – isn’t this something we all hope for, in most areas of life? And therefore it makes a great barometer; instead of setting unreachable numerical goals, there can be satisfaction by at least being “better” than yesterday, or last time we tried. It seems many resolutions are blown the first time you do (or don’t do) something, so there’s no way to really satisfy the intention.  But if there was a continual raising of the bar over time, isn’t that a better measure?

Obviously, change doesn’t just happen.  It’s a process, slow but steady. In the book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins talks about successful businesses and how continual 1% improvement has such a significant cumulative effect.  For example, If you could improve a behavior or accomplishment by 1% per day (a small feat, right?), you’d be 50% better in about 7 weeks.  It’s hard to be motivated to go from selling 100 widgets a day to 150 per day, overnight. However, continual incremental improvement makes the goal possible, and worth working towards.

Perspective – whoa, this is a big one for me…and maybe for you too. As the saying goes, everyone just wants to know the WIIFM – What’s In It For Me! We all have our unique perspectives of life and what transpires, and it’s often so hard to put yourself in another shoes and wonder how it is for them. Or is that just me? Also, keeping perspective as an over-arching theme this year will help minimize the “woe is me” attitude or “life isn’t fair” feelings from creeping in. 

As author and marketing whiz Seth Godin noted in a recent blog The problem, of course, is that people don’t always think like you…If they only thought like you, of course, and knew what you know, then there wouldn’t be a problem.”  Isn’t that the truth?! I often find myself feeling overwhelmed by some minor detail or small thing that isn’t going the way “I” thought it should, or someone who doesn’t agree with me, so a little perspective should do wonders for my actions this year. I can’t wait to see what life looks like through someone else’s glasses!

So there you have it – 2010 is all about B.I.P.  Balance. Improvement. Perspective. I’d love to know what your three words are, if you’d care to share in the comments. This is going to be a fun ride – hang on!



Filed under Choices, Focus, Reinvention

Making room for the new, good stuff

Today’s post has changed shape and form numerous times in the past 24 hours – but there are three key themes that are consistent:  fire hose, repositioning and “bright shiny object syndrome”.  Huh? Let me explain.

In my last post, I wrote about shuffling down life’s buffet table to plant myself in front of the “let’s help food companies with Twitter” section.  All was good, things began to take shape, prospects appeared, personal chef clients stayed in hiding.

Then the FIRE HOSE let loose!  No kidding, in the next 24 hours I would be:

  • bombarded with introductions to more than five different food companies that are interested in help with social media (my ultimate goal!)
  • taking calls from several people about Twitter in general so they could tell me how they have it “handled” on their own (gee thanks)
  • handed two potential personal chef/catering clients (read: bright shiny objects)
  • overwhelmed with a multitude of my colleagues’ messages  and Tweets of support/congratulations (thank you)
  • given great content and direction from a proven sales coaching pro
  • soaking up great wisdom from a brilliant, strategic PR professional who gave me my next big idea (so unexpected and gracious of her!)

firehoseWhew – talk about drinking from a fire hose! My head has been spinning as I try to make sense of all the opportunity and sort through the priorities.  The problem, if there is one, that so much time is spent reacting that I don’t have time to be proactive and DO THE WORK!

Now I’m not suggesting that I “have it made” now, by any means.  I would even go as far to say this hasn’t resulted in one red cent – yet.  But the seeds are planted, possibilities are growing and the word is spreading.  Are there any more clichés I could use to express my excitement?!

This flurry of activity came after an afternoon walk on my Edmonds beach, where ideas typically “show up” and I get clarity on so many things I didn’t even know I needed answers for – all while supposedly picking up beach glass!

cruise optThe new analogy I discovered on the beach was that my new business direction was akin to a repositioning cruise – say what? That’s when the cruise lines move their ships from one port to another (say, Alaska to the Caribbean) at the change of season and have the challenge of fewer passengers due to the one-way voyage, odd itineraries and lack of port visits.  However, the advantages for the passengers are much lower prices, more time at sea and a relaxed leisurely trip.

So I figured – food companies that hire me right now (at the beginning of my voyage) for their social media advising are going to get a great deal (financially and energetically) as I “reposition” my business. While I may not have a set course (who does in this new world?) and make all the customary tours, I am going to give them a terrific, value-packed ride through exciting territory while we cruise through this changing sea of social media!  To wit, companies will embark from one port (maybe where they aren’t very visible) and we will sail to a brand new exciting port (where they have new followers, engaged customers and everyone knows their name)!  I have no doubt these companies will get far more value that they ever expected – what do you think?!

brightshinybldg_optSo, what about that bright shiny object syndrome (BSOS)?  Well I wrote about BSOS in my other blog this week, on the Seattle Women & Business Examiner site.  The gist is that as I began to pull away from personal chef work towards social media, the “bright shiny objects” came flying in to distract me, and take my eyes off the direction I wanted to.  And maybe that’s how repositioning cruises started, come to think of it…but I digress.

This week’s BSO’s came in a relatively harmless-looking package, appearing to be financially rewarding and worthy of my time.  In fact, they were even posing as “helpers”, to pay the bills while I chased after this new business venture of mine – ha!  These were opportunities to do small catering gigs, which are really not my expertise, but they were flashing dollar signs at me.  I could do the events fairly easily, make a few bucks, and be done – much easier than the kind of energy I had to put in with ongoing personal chef clients.

But I quickly recalled the lessons learned last week from my “lifeline” friends – this is not the direction I’m going!  I had to remember that if I want to make room for the new business (social media), I can’t keep hanging out in the old ‘hood (cooking every day!). And while it pained me to pass up the catering opportunity, it was a relief to be rid of the stress, planning and energy I would expend – which would ultimately take time from my emerging passion to help food companies use social media in exciting new ways.

To sum it all up, what I’ve learned these past few days is that you have to reposition yourself away from the bright shiny objects when the fire hose cuts loose – no joke!

So tell me what you think about all these signs I keep getting and the direction my repositioning cruise is headed – I’m all ears!


Filed under Choices, Focus, Reinvention