Procrastination the enemy of productivity – are you guilty?

Procrastination. Everyone is guilty of procrastinating once in a while.

You put off doing that one important task in favour of washing the dishes, doing the laundry, or playing a game. We all have some form of procrastination activity, but it’s the enemy of productivity and in business, there’s no time for it.

Encouraging Productivity

I’m a terrible procrastinator, and I hate it. So over time, I’ve tried to find ways to be productive and also to FEEL more productive.

There’s a plethora of books and articles that will tell you how to be more productive but a lot of the time those tips don’t work for me.

And even when I’m being productive I often don’t feel like I am.

Now I’m not saying what works for me will work for you but here’s what I’ve found helps:

Check Lists

When I have a checklist to mark off I’m able to tell if I’ve been productive and that in turn encourages me to be more productive.

It also works as a bit of a pseudo-reward, I love that feeling of accomplishment when I mark off a task.

There’s an App for that

And of course, in this technological age, there’s an array of apps for monitoring productivity and encouraging productivity.

Personal I’ve got two apps on my phone and a separate program on my laptop for this and I find them so helpful in avoiding procrastination.

My favourite is Habitica which a friend recommended as a way of tracking productivity.

It’s super helpful in that it’s designed to be a little like an RPG (Role Playing Game).  You get experience points and coins for completing tasks so you go up in levels and can purchase new equipment for your avatar.

For me, this format is really encouraging.  It feels familiar and even though the rewards are simply virtual I find them a great incentive for upping my productivity.

The other apps I use to keep myself productive are Anti-Social and Cold Turkey.

Forced time offline

Social Media and the Internet, in general, are some of the biggest tools for procrastination.

We’ve all had that moment where we go to check something on Facebook and then, one hour later, we haven’t gotten anything done. That’s why it’s so important to be able to take time off.

To unplug.

Although often times your work may require you to remain a little plugged in – emails need checking, research needs to be done etc.

For that reason, I’ve made blocking apps a part of my work habit. When I really need to buckle down and focus I turn on the apps and block off all access to social media.

Removing the temptation is a great way to push forward. If I slip up (and I do sometimes) I just get a pop-up that says the site is blocked – a great deterrent!

I’d love to hear about your productivity secrets, so leave me a comment.

Sasha Hanton

 

MAXIMISING YOUR LUNCHTIME

Maximising your lunchtime makes great business sense. And, I don’t mean having a sandwich at your desk as you pour over reports or jumping on LinkedIn, Facebook etc.

Making time to have lunch, to step away from your desk/place of business is essential to maintaining a helicopter perspective.

When you’re leading a busy life, especially if you’re running your own business, it can be really tough to squeeze the extra time out of your day.

BUT…here’s the thing…you need to eat! So maximising that time for your own benefit makes good sense – right?

Put down your phone – at least stick it in your pocket or handbag – stand up and walk out of the office.

Walking down the street, stopping to say hello to people and having a quick chat. Sitting quietly in a park/at the beach and absorbing nature, or having lunch with people outside of your normal circle all serve to help either ground or stimulate you.

What you choose to do each lunchtime depends on the outcomes you’d like to achieve.

The key is to make a conscious choice to utilise your lunchtime wisely. After all, it is time. Time is a finite commodity and once passed cannot be recovered.

Alone Time

Choosing to spend time alone, to sit in the park/at the beach will give you silence. In that stillness, you have the chance to reflect quietly. You’ll often get to hear your inner voice that has been drowned out by the chattering monkeys.

Many of our clients who work in front-facing roles that demand they are “on” for most of their business day love these kinds of lunch breaks.

Actively Being Out & About

If you’re working in isolation, then getting out and about helps to switch off that intense focus your work demands.

Walking down the street and stopping to chat with a couple of people can often provide that human connection that is so important to people who work alone all day.

Alternately, if your work causes lots of pent-up frustrations, busts of physical activity like a brisk walk, jogging or working out at a gym full of people can be a great tension reliever.

Group Lunches

Getting together with a group of like-minded individuals, from different industries is another productive way to spend a lunchtime. You gain a different perspective which is so very valuable.

I’m not talking about a boozy lunch at a fancy restaurant. You know, where everyone talks about how great they are and no one remembers anything much afterwards. I’ve been to a few of these over the years. Enjoyable but really very unproductive.

Rather, I mean a quiet place where you actually get to connect with authenticity and help each other out through the sharing of information in a supportive environment.

Lunch & Learn Sessions

Lunch and learn sessions are common in large corporations. Often used as a means to minimise downtime, and maximise employee engagement.

Now, if you’re a small business or solo operator you won’t have this luxury BUT… a group lunch and learn for others in the same boat is not too hard to organise.

We know because we’ve facilitated quite a few over the years.  Topics are always varied so attendees choose which they are interested in.

The objective is always that participants leave having learnt something of value – not just had a great lunch. Details of upcoming sessions are always on our Facebook page.

Scheduling

The key to successfully maximising your lunchtime and being able to get away all comes down to scheduling.

Consider it an important appointment with a very important person. Yes, that’s you!

If you are struggling to get started with this habit, begin with a day a week, and gradually increase it over a period of a month. Once you start to consciously work on maximising your time, you’ll be surprised at how easy it can become. More importantly, the benefits that you gain are invaluable.

Speaking from a personal perspective – my lunchtime habits are one of the ways that I have been able to keep sane during the challenging times. As an added bonus they’ve also brought Dragon Sisters new business connections.

Fly like a dragonFly like a dragon!

Michelle

PS – let me know in the comments how you spend your lunchtimes – I’m always curious 🙂

Strategic Planning = Achieving Your Goals

Strategic Planning is most often associated with a business.

Yet, if you stop and think about it… when you need to reach personal goals, it becomes so much easier with planning.

Strategic (adjective) as identified by the Oxford dictionary is defined as – Relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.

Putting time and thought into how we go about achieving both business and personal goals is equally important. Yet this is not something very many of us tend to do. At least not consciously.

For the most part, we often don’t think of our personal lives in terms of strategic planning. Yet strategy really does play a huge part in each of our lives.

Achieving Outcomes

If you want to achieve a certain outcome then you need to have a very measured approach.

A pathway. A series of stepping stones that take you forward towards your goals.

Without that pathway. The map. The strategy. Life tends to just wander along in a leisurely (or perhaps chaotic) fashion.

There is no firm direction.

Without strategic direction, there is less chance of achievement and satisfaction.

Strategic planning is all about aiming for what is right for YOU and for your business.

You are unique and your plans will be different to mine – but there is a commonality to all plans…

Strategic Direction

As we move along with our business/life/career we each NEED to know the direction we are heading in and WHERE we want to end up.

Why? Because without clear goals it is impossible to tell if we have actually achieved our goals and arrived where we want to be.

Naturally, goals can and often do change as we move through life. That’s part and parcel of business growth and life in general.

So many times I speak to women who have achieved an enormous amount in their lives and yet still feel a sense of lacking.

A sense of lacking

The sense of lacking can often be as a result of lack of clarity. The clarity is missing because there is no clearly defined goal.

Goals are not set and so there is the constant sense of needing to strive for more because it’s never clear that the destination has been reached.

Think about it… we experience the truest sense of achievement when we know we have actually got something we were aiming for.

In my own life, I have received lots of accolades, but these did not really provide that sense of achievement. Other people may have defined these as achievements, and yes, in a way they are right.

BUT …because these were never my goals I did not gain the sense of having “arrived” anywhere. It was a bonus to be recognised for a job well done. It was never a goal to achieve personal recognition.

Personal achievement

For me – one of my most recent biggest senses of achievement came when I was able to spend a year living and working in Europe.

It had been a goal I had for many years.

Planning out how this could be possible without enough language skills to operate at a corporate or community business level and still earn enough money to live on was a challenge. A big challenge!

I made it a reality by putting together a 4-year strategic plan that would get me there. The plan involved ticking off each of the steps one at a time.

Small goals. Bit by bit.

The result was achieving my “sabbatical” year in Spain.

Fly like a Dragon Fly like a dragon

Michelle

PS – need help with your own Strategic Planning? Get in touch and I’ll guide your through creating your plan.

 

 

 

Why “Me Time” & Self-Care need to be a priority in your life

Practising self-care and taking time out for yourself is something everyone should be doing.

The importance of “Me Time” should never be underestimated. Yet so many women in business fail to take care of themselves first and foremost.

It makes no sense and yet it is such a common practice.

Why is this?

We operate in a busy and demanding world. I understand the outside interferences that can make it tough to carve out time for yourself.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic day to day. And then what happens is that we often put ourselves last on the list of important things to take care of.

I’ve been there myself and it’s definitely not a good way to operate.

Making yourself a priority is not a luxury. It’s an essential.

So why do we do this?

Feelings of Guilt & Fear

At a subconscious level you may be experiencing a feeling of guilt. And of fear.

For instance, it’s common for working mothers to be feeling that time at home needs to be spent with their kids, or doing something for the family – things like cooking, baking a batch of cookies etc…you get the picture.

And, dare I say it, a sense of inability to leave “the team” to cope?  I mean your family, your staff and colleagues.

Does this sound familiar? If it does, you are not alone!

But, guess what? They’ll manage. You are not indispensable – no one is.

Yes, we are each unique and valuable, but that is not the same as being indispensible.

The world will go on without you

Yes, it really will.

I learnt this first-hand many years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Before my diagnosis, I would feel guilty leaving the family. I felt I needed to be there for them all the time.

Time to pursue my own activities would be once they grew up; my daughter was 3 and my son 12 at that time.

I was a mother, a businesswoman and a homemaker. My life was busy and I was needed everywhere – I was the glue holding everything together.

Being diagnosed was a slap in the face and a case of a very rude awakening. The reality that I might not actually live to see my children grow up made me realise…

I was doing them no favours by making myself indispensable to the family.

Plus, I was also cheating myself out of my life. All those things on hold might NEVER happen. A very frightening thought!

Suffice it to say I went through an emotional roller coaster over the course of my treatment. It was no picnic.

But… as I emerged out the other end of the treatment tunnel – a dark and lonely place – I knew that I needed to make time for me. For lots of different reasons.

The world will not end if you step away for a few days.

In fact, being constantly “on” does no one any favours. Not you, not your Board, not your team, not your clients and definitely not your family.

Sure you might be there in body.

But being present means a lot more than just your physical presence.

You need to be there in mind too – to be able to enjoy and concentrate on the moments you are in.

Being on auto-pilot is cheating both yourself and those who you are with.

Me Time

Taking time for your own self-care is absolutely essential. It’s not always easy, but you know what?

Where there’s a will…there’s a way.

Nurturing yourself makes sense on so many different levels.

After all, if you’re not in tip-top condition – how will you service your clients or look after your family?

Making yourself a priority is fundamental to being happy in your life.

Happiness comes from within

No matter what surrounds you externally, it is how you feel within that makes you happy. It is not about money, other people or possessions.

People, places and things do not make you happy.

Yes, they might be giving you a short boost but it does not last…because it is driven by external factors. If you do not value yourself enough to create “Me Time” and practice self-care, you may appear outwardly happy, but internally it is a different story.

Part of being happy, at least in my experience, is making a date with yourself for “Me Time”.

It comes down to making a conscious effort to devote a part of each and every day to self-care. Time dedicated to you.

Using Your Me Time

How you choose to use that time is very much a personal decision.

It’s got to be a space or activity where you get to still the chattering monkeys in your mind and replenish your energy.

Speaking personally, I have a very busy schedule that includes travel, family to care for and a business to run.

This means I need to use a range of techniques that are quick and easy to practice depending on where I am. It’s not a lot of time, but it is some time each day and that is the key.

My Personal Practices

I usually practice 10 minutes of meditation when I first get up, go walking or paddling. Depending on where I am and what my schedule is like that particular day will determine my daily practice.

I never listen to music, podcasts etc as I walk. I like to be in the moment and absorb what is around me and allow my mind to just be. Nothing to think about.

I journal and write regularly as a way of clearing the brain, and I also take time out to sit outside for lunch whenever I can.

Working across time zones makes routines a challenge so I need to maximise my business days. My small daily self-care activities keep me in a positive mindset and allow me to rest and empty my brain sufficiently to have the space to give more of myself to those I am working with and looking after.

Need help getting started?

So often I hear “It’s alright for you Michelle, but I can’t do that”.

My answer is “YES, you can – if you really want to. ” 

It all begins with EMPOWERING YOURSELF! If you need help understanding HOW to do this – reach out to me for some additional tips.

Are taking care of yourself first and foremost?

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

Bringing your ideas to life…means taking ACTION

You can have the very best idea in the world but unless you take action it will remain simply that – an idea. A dream.

It takes grit. It takes hard work.

Success comes from action. Dreams become reality when you are committed to WORKING for them

Spending time “thinking” or continually taking another course will not move you forward. Yes, you may have lots of theoretical learning, but…

ACTION is what leads to achievement.


Any action, even if it’s an imperfect action it is a move in the right direction.

You learn by implementing – it may not work the first time – that’s quite normal!  But you learn valuable lessons.

Heck, if I had been waiting for the perfect moment, I would never have achieved half of what I have.

And yes, I’ve made my own fair share of mistakes along the way too – but they are learning experiences.

Taking the plunge is not easy.

Failure is common…but dusting yourself off and learning from those mistakes is what propels you towards success.

Think of how a child learns to walk…

First by using all their strength to pull themselves up on whatever furniture is available (heck, some even use the dog!).

Then getting braver and lurching from handhold to handhold.

A few wobbly steps. A few landings on their nappy padded bum.

Do they give up?

No.

They stagger to their feet again continuing to try… leveraging off what is available. Eventually, they succeed …and are off and running. No stopping them!

It’s exactly the same when it comes down to business.

The theory is all well and good. But taking action…even if it is baby steps, is what that propels you towards your goals.

Struggling to take action steps?

Fear is natural.

Change takes time. Learning new skills takes practice, but the results are worth it.

Now here’s the thing…you can do all this on your own. Absolutely you can.

But…likely as not it will be a stop-start process as you battle alone through the hurdles and obstacles that inevitably pop up to challenge you.

As an adult in business, it’s not as easy to find handholds to leverage off. But, if you are open and actively searching they are there…in both paid and unpaid forms.

Unpaid forms

These typically include things like free workshops hosted by a range of organisations ranging from your local Business Development Offices, Chamber of Commerce, Live Webinars and even Facebook groups.

All of these are very valuable and have their place. They are especially helpful if you are bootstrapping and cash is very tight.

A word of caution; these can lead you down a number of rabbit holes and infect you with a case of SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome.

You know what I mean…

you hear all these great ideas and start to research or chase after them. The result is quite often that you lose your way and waste time.

Paid forms

These are more typically a workshop, course, business coaching and mentoring.

Prices fluctuate enormously and range from under $50 to well in excess of $10,000. When choosing what to pay for, it’s vital to do your research.

As with anything that you are paying for, it’s crucial to measure up if it’s the right fit for your business at this moment in time.

My recommendation is always to start with a short course/session with that particular consultant/teacher/presenter.

By starting off with a small investment you have the opportunity to assess whether you’re going to be a good ‘fit’ for each other. Mutual respect is crucial.

Engaging a business consultant/coach to help you is a way to fast track through the woods to get to the clearing on the other side.

It’s not cheap but it’s highly effective. It’s also not as expensive as you might think.

Having a great mentor or coach makes all the difference in the world. It’s what accelerates your development and growth. They are your encouragement, teacher and supporter. Grab my tip sheet on choosing the right person to work with.

Most important of all…you unlock your own truth so there’s no room for procrastination.

The truth can sometimes be a challenge to deal with, but if you’re serious about moving ahead…it needs to be faced.

If you’re struggling to move to the next level we specialize in offering actionable, momentum building support to help you….

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

PS – check out this article by Brad Stulberg – 8 rules to do everything better.

Success…being successful – what does it take?

Success and being successful, whether it is in life or in business, means having a mindset that enables you to move ahead towards your goals.

A bunch of obstacles will always put themselves in your way. That’s life. What separates those who achieve success from those who don’t is how obstacles are handled.

In my experience, one of the biggest obstacles is often of our own making.

It’s called procrastination.

Procrastination presents itself in many different guises. The secret to avoiding being caught by this sneaky little disease is…

Being organised and….being disciplined!

This applies to both your personal and professional life.

Controls need to be in place to help maximise your time. This way you’re moving forward toward the results you want.

By being 100% honest you can easily pinpoint where you can cut down, chop out or build up your schedule.

When you truly want something you make time for it.

How much time do you spend on social media or watching TV, YouTube clips etc?

Ask yourself these two questions and be HONEST with your answers:

1)   Is it really necessary?

2)   Is my business really benefitting from this?

Sure we all need to have time out to refresh, reframe and relax BUT…

Spending a bunch of time watching and reading about what others are doing to move their businesses forward is not really helping you.

Think of it like this…they are telling you what they have achieved, persuading you to buy from them…their business is moving forward, but is yours?

Taking Action

Unless you are actively taking ACTION, rather than just consuming content, you are wasting your precious time.

When I started my career, many moons ago, there were no social media channels online.

Yep, I’m a dinosaur.

Instead, there were hard copy newsletters, conferences and key business events where there would be some top quality speakers. They were expensive – very expensive – so it was important to choose wisely.

BUT…here’s the thing…

Once the event was over, there was no Googling more information, listening to more Podcasts, watching more YouTube clips and more experts.

The conference, the piece you read in the newsletter or the event you attended would inspire you to take ACTION.

And that my friend, is the secret of success…taking momentum building steps each and every day that moves you forward towards your goals. Watching and listening is not ACTION!

This is why being organised and disciplined is so very crucial.

Getting organised

This means knowing what you need to do and when you need to do it.

In the early days of my career, I had a young family at home. Today I have adults in my life that I am caring for. My schedule needs to accommodate the time to go shopping for them, to spent time engaging in meaningful conversation and to take care of my own health.

Unless I am able to organise my work time, family time and “Me Time” there is no chance of everything getting done.

My secret weapon? It’s not exactly a secret…

Creating a plan and then using a MAP – measurable, achievable and progressive steps.

Having a MAP helps you keep on track.

It’s easy to meander – and hey, we all do this from time to time. That’s where the power of the MAP lies – getting you back on track after a meandering moment.

Just like all journeys, you need to plan your route. You need to know how you will get to your destination. By mapping out the key milestones, rest points, the quick look around and linger longer stays on your personal MAP you’ll be able to achieve your goals.

It doesn’t need to be highly complicated. Simple is best. The key is following that MAP once you have laid it out.

Time Management

Unless time is used wisely it slips away unnoticed – just like when you’re driving along and not paying attention. It’s so easy to miss a turn-off, especially if you’re on a busy highway with all the hustle and bustle of traffic flying past. You get in the zone and before you know it…

Darn! Missed your turn-off. You end up travelling further down the wrong road before you can come back in the right direction.

There’s a myriad of different tools and methods to choose from depending on what aspects of your time you are needing to manage. Different systems work for different people.

100-day blocks

One of my favourite methods is working in 100-day blocks.

Why?

Because it is enough to make sure things get done, and not too long that I am able to procrastinate – at least not for too long!

It means deciding in which blocks of time I’ll be implementing ideas and actions identified in my business journal.

It’s quite amazing what pops out of that journal. It’s my incubation spot.  Ideas pop into our heads very regularly.  If you’re like me, then you may not always have the time to implement them, but when you’ve  written them down, they are never lost.

Writing them down gets them out of your mind. It leaves you free to concentrate on tasks at hand. Writing your ideas in a business journal keeps them all in one place. Saves you losing them or having to hunt through a bunch of sticky notes or notebooks.

Concentrating in the present moment not only affords great productivity but allows you to fully focus on what you’re working on at any given moment.

When you focus on one particular aspect it’s very rewarding to see exactly how much you start achieving in a very short space of time.

What Success Looks Like

It’s really important to identify what success looks like to you. The reason being is that unless you know what it is that you want to achieve you will never be able to tell if you have got there.

You need to be able to measure and to identify when you have reached the goals you set for yourself.

And yes, goals can and do change over time.

It’s perfectly okay to set new goals but you must keep track of the ones you have already set, rather than dash off on another tangent. One step at a time is the key.

Life is very frustrating if you keep chasing something that always lies over the rainbow. You must enjoy the moment you are in. By embracing small successes along your journey you’ll start feeling so much more fulfilled, motivated and inspired.

A 360-degree successful life, to me, means being able to have the time to enjoy precious moments.

Moments to spend time with my elderly parents discussing garden plans and reminiscing. Time spent in conversation with my adult son. Girls sessions with my daughter. Going paddling, walking the dog and short sojourns devoted exclusively to me – that’s 360-degree success.

Having happy clients and feeling fulfilled by my work is integral to that life.  The fact I’ve received great testimonials, awards and recognition for my work is just the icing on the cake.

What does success look like to you? Let me know in the comments.

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

PS You may like to join my private Facebook group The SMART Circle – a place dedicated to helping each other by sharing our knowledge and experiences. It is not a place where there are things for sale or a course to push. It’s simply about authentic connections.

 

Why Reviewing Is Essential For Your Confidence

Does the word reviewing send you into a spin? Do visions of being hauled over the coals or worse…being let go, dance before your eyes?

Hang on a sec. Let me explain.

The word review is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as meaning a formal assessment of something with the intention of instituting change if necessary, a critical appraisal of a book, play, film.

When you look at something in a formal way, it means you take the time to really LOOK.

To be considered and measured.

You are focussed.

This means you can often see something that is in plain sight but has been missed in your day to day routine.

Taking time out to review where you’re heading and how you’re tracking tends to be something that is not always given the priority treatment it should be.

Let’s be honest, life gets pretty hectic – both in the personal and professional sense. We’re living in a fast-paced world.

I’ll fess up and say that reviewing my progress is not my favourite activity. BUT…I mean, how do you know where you are going if you are not measuring and reviewing?

I manage a pretty packed schedule; juggling business commitments, taking my turn looking after my Dad (he’s got Alzheimer’s so we can’t leave him alone for long), and making sure to spend quality time with the rest of my family, as well as plugging in some “Me Time.”

It’s one big juggle, BUT….the way business works has changed heaps since I started my career, so it’s actually easier to keep all the balls in the air.

Note I said easier, not easy!

Approaching our 10th Birthday (27th October) means time to do a deep review of Dragon Sisters. We’re looking at how we are working, who we work with, what tools we use and most important of all what results we are getting.

We began with looking at where we came from – I’ll be talking about that in another post.

When Yvonne (the other Dragon Sister) and I first started working…..

Telex machines – Shock! Horror!

Yes, we are “that” era! – ran hot, zapping messages to offices on the other side of the globe. If we needed to speak to someone, the phone costs were horrendous, but, hey, we worked for big corporates so finances were never an issue.

Tea ladies, doormen, receptionists, secretaries and typists (woe betide those who confuse the two!) were a part of our daily working environment.

Fast forward to 2017

Things we never even dreamed of …smart phones, tablets, laptops, Skype, WhatsApp, Trello, Dropbox, LinkedIn and…

…the Nespresso machine is part of our daily toolkit.

No doorman, no secretary anywhere in sight. Instead, we have virtual assistants and independent freelance experts.

One thing jumps out at me …

Despite all the changes and the new technologies at our fingertips, there is one thing that never changes.

One thing that never changes

The need for strong communication skills remains as vital today as it ever was BECAUSE this is the way to connect.

If you cannot make the connection then you cannot move forward, in life and in business.

As an example, you want something done – perhaps you want your kids to clean their room, or staff members to adopt new initiatives. How you connect them with your message, how you present the instruction is going to shape the results you get.

As I think back, I now realise all my successes were achieved because of my ability to connect. In other words, to communicate with my team, donors, my board, managers, and clients.

Communication methods have changed

Most things are electronic; hard copy letters or invitations are pretty rare.

The way we write has also changed.

Let me ask you…how many times do you just skim through correspondence?

I’m a fast reader. I need to be because of the nature of my work. When it comes to unsolicited mail, I am a skimmer, and so are most people I know.

There is just so much that makes it way into our inboxes that unless we skim, we’ll never get to the end.

The new way of writing means lots of white space replaces block paragraphs. It makes things easier to skim and scan through to pick out key parts of the content that are of interest to you.

I have had to learn how to write for this new era.

Everyone types these days, and not because of typing class. Technology has made us all typists – even if you are of the two finger or flying thumb variety!

And that has made me realise that although almost everyone can use electronic communication tools, not everyone has the ability to communicate well. And some are really uncomfortable with the new mediums.

So as the 10th Birthday review for Dragon Sisters is underway, we’ve come across some very interesting data. It’s informing the direction the business will head… and no one is being let go.

Phew!

Services will be changing slightly, but the one thing that is standing out loud and clear is the need to once again be adding to the Wordsmith Wonders team, which has tripled in the last 12 months.

The first surprise for us is that our biggest client base is the young male, senior-level executives/entrepreneurs who are absolute stars when it comes to heading up their teams. Being thought leaders that are so self-aware, they recognise a little confidential support on the communications front goes a long way.

So how does a review boost your confidence?

In its very simplest form, a review gives you confidence by either demonstrating you are on track or off-roading!

Regardless of what the outcome is, you can then be confident that you are either on the right path for your career/business or you know 100% that you are not.

Knowledge is power. You have the information in your hands and this provides the confidence to make the decision on what your next steps will be.

A review gives me the confidence to keep going in the same direction or to cut my losses and change direction.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Fly like a dragon,

Michelle

Need help choosing the right consultant or coach to work with? We’ve got a tip sheet that just might help. Click reply and ask for a copy.

On the edge of my seat

I’m a bit like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Seriously, so far I have drunk 3 cups of coffee, munched my way through a chicken leg, an apple and a tub of yoghurt. If there was a bag of chips around I would have eaten those too!

Hanging out for the election results is nerve wracking!

I was Campaign Manager for Katrina Fong Lim who has once again run for the office of Lord Mayor.

Election Day was last Saturday and what a day it was.  Long, hot and exhausting but our team of volunteers smiled through it all despite, at times, challenging situations.

Overwhelmed to have such a diverse range of people all supporting Katrina. It speaks volumes for her standing in the community.

Vote Counting

When the votes were counted, Katrina was in the lead by 1307 votes. Not enough to be declared the winner as here in Australia we have a fully preferential system. First past the post is not enough.

This week the Electoral Commission has continued the counting.  Katrina is now 1408 votes ahead. But it is still not enough and the gap is not wide enough for my liking.

Nerve wracking to say the least!

The postal votes closed at noon today. More counting this afternoon and the Electoral Commission will update their website later today.

I am not sure when later today is and it’s driving me crackers!

Waiting for Results

I’ve been hitting the refresh button with regularity and watching the Facebook feed.

Nothing!

My phone keeps ringing with supporters wanting to know if there is an update.

Katrina has done the smart thing and headed off to Kakadu, so not in mobile contact range – maybe I should have done the same!

Will we know the final results today? I sincerely hope so.

But…. the official annoucment will be made by the Electoral Commssion at 10 am on Monday morning.

I hope my girl wins. I firmly believe she is the BEST for the job. We’ve run a very clean campaign. Our volunteers were courteous at all times and we never bagged other candidates who were running.

We chose not to make any preference deals because Katrina is independent. Her platform – practical, positive and independent – politics do not belong at Council level.

I am very proud to have been her Campaign Manager, and honoured she chose to work with me again this election.

Now…what can I eat next while I hit that refresh button again!

Michelle

 

 

The next big thing in marketing?

The next big thing in marketing may just be happening on LinkedIn.

In the digital age, everything happens super fast.

Why Video Marketing?

The demands on our time are excessive and often, immediate.

Which is understandable. In the digital age, everything happens super fast.

Could this be why video and live feeds rate so highly on social media
and are given preferential (at the moment) positioning by those platforms?

That means that e.g. the way Facebook sets its algorithms determines what you see on your newsfeed.

But we do our best to flag what’s going on to our networks.

Marketing via LinkedIn Video

For instance, did you know that LinkedIn is rolling out their video offering?

I got the heads up from a connection on that platform.

Another good example of how we can all help one another ?.

Different Ponds for different marketing

It immediately occurred to me that I know of at least two SMEs who have fabulously successful businesses with business to consumer markets, and who, are positioning themselves to sell their businesses.

There’s another business ready to move to the next level and needs investors.

Suddenly, they need to be in a different pond to attract the right buyer/investor.

The business to business pond.

They’re more likely to find good leverage for their new goal from the LinkedIn network, than from Facebook business pages.

A lot of us are saying that LinkedIn has been slow coming to the visual party. Way behind Facebook for instance.

We all know how phenomenal Facebook Live has been for reaching and engaging target markets. But, hey LinkedIn, better late than never, right?

So far as Michelle and I are concerned, we strongly recommend that no one dismisses such new offerings.

You may not need it now. But like the businesses I’ve referred to, neither did they 12 months ago.

Now, it’s a whole new ball game.

You never know what the next opportunity might be! Or where, or from which platform.

So, it’s a really good idea, to maintain a presence across two or so key ones, and keep an eye on the others.

Here’s a great piece that explains what the LinkedIn offering will mean for businesses and for marketing those businesses:

LinkedIn’s new feature has the potential to be a game changer in B2B.

Fly like a dragon!

Yvonne

The Truth About Being Your Own Boss

Maybe you’re already your own boss, or maybe it’s something you aspire to be in the not too distant future.

Unless you’re totally cut off from the online world and social media, then you’ve no doubt read stories or seen ads popping up in your social media feeds featuring “successful” entrepreneurs posing in fancy cars, jets or sitting on a beach sipping cocktails.

The internet is overflowing with these kinds of success stories – they are everywhere – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and the list goes on.

Are they true? Maybe. But that’s not the point.

My point is this…the stories are all about chucking in boring jobs, starting their own business, making millions and sitting on a beach watching the money roll in.

Sounds like a dream life. Right?

It’s absolutely true that when you start your own business and work for yourself you have the freedom to do as you like.

You have no one else to answer to except yourself. Total freedom.

Hmmm, …idyllic BUT not quite that simple.

Even for those who are at the very top of the tree, there’s still a ton of work to be done behind the scenes.

Yes, it’s definitely true that you have freedom in the sense you get to choose what to do and when to do it. But… only to a certain extent.

I currently have my own business and have owned a couple of others prior to starting Dragon Sisters 10 years ago. I do, on the surface, have freedom and flexibility to do as I like.

The Truth

However, the reality of being your own boss is a little different.

The bottom line is this … It all comes down to your own efforts to succeed. You are in the driver’s seat and 100% responsible.

You are your own hero.

The truth is, as someone who runs their own business, the onus always lies on you to bring in the $$.

Of course, the more successful you are, the less pressure there is on bringing in the basics to cover the day-to-day essentials.

However, here’s the thing…

No matter how successful you are, you still need to be out there smarketing.

You need to be paying attention to your strategy, sales and marketing.

For instance, coming back to my own example, even when I’m fully booked up I’m still out there adding in workshop dates, interacting on social media and attending a couple of face to face events.

I’m actively keeping my brand out there.

Why do you need to do this?

No matter what your product or service is unless you continue to pay attention to your profile in the marketplace, you cannot stay front of mind.

This is why all the top names spend time and money doing tours, running workshops, marketing via social media and much more. They are constantly on the lookout for ways to stay ahead of the game, to be at the forefront.

When you stop and think about this, it makes absolute sense. The world moves at a fast pace today and there is so much competition for attention.

The Danger Zone

As you start to get ahead you begin to feel confident. That’s a great feeling. Things are going in the direction you want, so you start to relax a bit. After all, you’ve done the hard work.

This is the danger point.

Unless you have robust systems in place, you cannot expect to just take off and leave your business to tick along.

I’ve seen this happen all too often. Good people going down the tubes because they’ve failed to famine proof the business by having systems in place. Their radars are not alert to nuances of change or to opportunities for growth.

NOOO! I want to scream out. Sure, take a little break to refresh and relax, but you must also reframe your thinking.

Yes, take a holiday. Yes, take time for yourself, but have a plan in place for things to be managed while you are away.

Make sure you are personally looking over reports, check in on your own social media channels and keep your radar alert for anything that is out of the ordinary.

It makes me want to cry when I see people who have spent months, perhaps years, building businesses to a point of success and then taking their foot off the accelerator when the pressure to succeed eases.

I have made this very mistake myself, and I speak from experience and lessons learnt.

Keep the focus on your business no matter what.

It’s the old adage “momentum flows where attention goes.”

If your attention is not on your business then it loses momentum.

Notice I used the word ON rather than in?

This is a really important differential.

When you work ON your business, you’re taking a helicopter perspective. You have a vision, you see opportunity and you maximise wherever you can.

Working in your business means your head is down, occupied with the detail and minutia. You cannot see the woods for the trees.

As your business grows, it is vital to take the time to work ON the business, as opposed to in it. This is what those highly successful people sitting on the beach are doing. They’re working on their business – always.

The being your own boss formula is simple. Put in the time and your business will grow.

If you love what you do and have a real passion for it, then it no longer seems like work.

6 Tips for Working ON Your Business

1) Set aside 20 minutes a day (5 days a week) dedicated to your personal marketing activities.

This does not mean pushing out brand messages. It means interacting. Remember, people buy people so you need to maintain your presence to stay front of mind.

2) Be consistently attentive

People remember those who bother to respond personally. Don’t fall into the trap of only responding or reaching out when you want something.

3) Regularly view your business revenue streams.

What can you tweak? What should you ditch? What can you add?

4) Delegate/Outsource.

Consider what tasks can be handled by others freeing you up to concentrate on what you do best.  This FREE tip sheet may be helpful when it comes to choosing a consultant to outsource to.

5) Actively listen to your marketplace.

Be truly attentive to what they are saying in order to meet their needs. It’s not about selling your product or service, it’s about offering a solution to their problem.

6) Set aside time for yourself each day – to refresh, reframe and relax.

This is not an indulgence but essential to your personal well being. Time for yourself means you have a chance to allow still the chatter in your mind. Meditation, journalling and walking are some of my personal favourite ways of grabbing “me time” each day.

Nurturing your success

Starting your own business is an adventure. One that comes with many ups, and downs, but brings with it many rewards.

Your ongoing nurturing will ensure your business continues to thrive.  You’ll be able to sit on the beach and your efforts in working on the business are helping it become famine proof.

If you want the freedom to follow your passion, then owning your own business and being your own boss is fantastic. I have never looked back. Sure there are hurdles to overcome at times, but I love what I do.

The photograph I’ve used for this post was taken with fellow Telstra Business Women’s Awards alumni – Denise Dunn from Slappa’s Thongs and Nathalie Hernandez from Ella Bache Palmerston .

To your success,

Michelle

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