10 Simple Ways to Recharge Your Business Brain

by Ali Brown

If the end of the year has your brain blinking in and out as often as your holiday décor, it’s time to infuse your workday with a few mental rechargers. Despite your best efforts, putting in more hours at your desk is usually NOT the solution. Stop banging your head against your laptop and try one of these quick solutions to reboot your business brain!

1. Reconnect with nature. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I drop everything and take a walk along the beach. The fresh air makes me feel more grounded and at peace. Take your dog for a short walk around the block, or just walk to the mailbox if that’s all you feel you have time for. Experiencing the sights and sounds of nature can spark our creativity and that’s where our best ideas come from!

2. Shut down your computer and grab a pen. Sometimes you just need to take things old school with a good old pen and paper. Many writers say their best work comes from the tactile process of putting pen to paper, and we entrepreneurs can tap into this mode just as easily. Want even better results? Use colored pens or markers and draw what you're thinking, too!

3. Take a siesta. Short periods of shuteye are a proven way to help you stay sharp. I take at least one nap per day -- sometimes two if it's a crammed work week. Naps not only improve your performance, but I find that I often wake up with new ideas or solutions to problems!

4. Go shopping! Not for retail therapy, but to look for fresh marketing and sales ideas. Once when I was at Whole Foods, I noticed some CDs on display and found myself adding two of them to my cart. These are called “point of sale” purchases, and they're an effective way to boost your bottom line. Go see what strategies other stores are using and see how you can work them into your business.

5. Hit the classroom. This is one of the best ways to jumpstart your business. Every day, there are countless seminars, workshops, and classes going on. If you can't leave the office or your house, explore online classes and teleseminars.

6. Make your dream list. To pull yourself out of a rut, find a quiet place and list your dreams. Also think about why you decided to work for yourself in the first place. Was it to achieve a better lifestyle? Have greater flexibility to travel?

7. Read a biography. I regularly read biographies of successful entrepreneurs to remind me that everyone has ups and downs in their businesses. I also try to learn how they think so I can model them.

8. Change your scene. Go work in a different room, out on the patio, or at a local library or a coffee shop. Get out of town, if you can. Once, when I just could not seem to finish a large writing project at home, I booked myself a week at an affordable spa resort, brought my laptop, and shut off my phone. Worked like a charm!

9. Hire a coach or mentor. Having access to someone who's been through the ups and downs of business before and has succeeded removes all the guesswork and brings out your best.

10. Join a mastermind group. The idea behind mastermind groups is that two minds are better than one.  Aligning yourself with a group of successful entrepreneurs helps you move forward quickly and confidently.

© 2010 Ali International, LLC
Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow a profitable business that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD “Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women” at www.AliBrown.com.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Epic Recognition Fail

by Matt Heller

Please tell me I didn’t just see that.

Yesterday I was at a local office store, waiting to pick something up from the copy/print center.  Behind the counter, two employees, Dustin and Tina, where feverishly working to complete the orders of the people in line in front of me.

I had worked with Tina before, and she is a true rock star.  Any business would be happy to employ her. She’s knowledgeable, friendly, efficient, and just a pleasure to work with.  Maybe that’s why this recognition fail was so profound to me.  Tina deserves SO much better.

Tina had come up to the computer at the front counter.  She was working on something for one of the other customers. You could tell by the look on her face that she was deep in thought and concentration.

At that moment, a young man in Manager-type clothes walks up to Tina with a piece of paper.  He starts talking to her with little regard for the work she was already doing. I was standing pretty close, so it was pretty easy to hear what was being said.

Manager – “Have you seen this?” (showing the paper to Tina)

Tina – (while still trying to work) “no, what is it?”

Manager – “You were mentioned personally on the President’s list.”

Tina – (1/2 looking at the paper, 1/2 looking at the computer screen) “Oh, uh, okay.”

Manager – (as he walks away) “You can keep that one, I’ve got another one for the break room.”

Do you feel that knot in your stomach?  That’s a completely wasted recognition opportunity.  Kinda makes me sick even to think about it.

Even more so, as I observed Tina just after that, she looked confused and a little annoyed.  Last time I checked, those were NOT the emotions people should feel when they’ve been recognized.

Then again, I cannot really qualify this as recognition. At best, it was a drive-by-manager-doing-his-duty.  I don’t know what the “President’s List” is, but I bet the recipient deserves better than a photo copy and an interruption.

Probably the hardest part for me to fathom, was the look on the Manager’s face as he walked away – the look of total managerial satisfaction. Yes, it does feel good to recognize others and to praise their accomplishments, but he did neither.

He failed.

But he doesn’t know he failed, at least not yet.  My guess is that it will be years before he has the managerial maturity to know that what he just did was about as far from effective recognition as you can get.  Even if Tina’s performance fades or she leaves, he probably won’t equate that to his actions.  And that’s too bad.

So what would you have done differently?  If you were this manager, how would you have recognized Tina for appearing on the President’s List?  Leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!

About the author:
Along with his business partner, Scott Brown, Matt has helped develop and launch Lessons In Fun – an all-new business training seminar where the world’s greatest theme parks become your classroom. Click here for more information. Registration for our session in Feb. 2015 is now open!

The Most Important Principle to Great Leadership

by Jack Canfield

In my book, The Success Principles, I teach 64 lessons that help people achieve what they want out of life. From taking nothing less than 100 percent responsibility for your life to empowering others, these are the fundamentals to success—and to great leadership.

When people ask me for the single most important principle, I share a simple formula. For years I've been teaching top leaders and thinkers in our world this formula that helps guide their decision-making and pathway to success. I don't know any successful leader who doesn't keep this on the mind daily:

E + R = O
(Events + Responses = Outcome)

The basic idea is that every outcome you experience in life (whether it's success or failure, wealth or poverty, wellness or illness, intimacy or estrangement, joy or frustration) is the result of how you have responded to an earlier event (or events) in your life. Great leaders don't just know this instinctively, but they make it a habit to respond in ways that generate the outcomes they want, even during extremely tough experiences or events seemingly beyond their control.

If you don't like the outcomes you are currently experiencing, there are two basic choices you can make:

Choice #1: You can blame the event (E) for your lack of results (O).

In other words, you can blame the economy, the lack of money, lack of education, racism, gender bias, your wife or husband, your Board's attitude, your employees and colleagues, the lack of support, the current administration in Washington, and so on.

No doubt all these factors exist, but if they were the deciding factor, nobody would ever succeed. And we'd have leaders without direction, focus, and solutions.

For every reason it's not possible, there are hundreds of people who have faced the same circumstances and have succeeded.

Choice #2: You can instead simply change your responses (R) to the events (E) until you get the outcomes (O) you want.

You can change your thinking, change your communication, change the pictures you hold in your head (your images of the world) and you can change your behavior (the things you do.) That's all you really have any control over anyway.

Unfortunately, most of us are so engrained in our habits that we never change our behavior.

We get stuck in our conditioned responses—to our spouses and children, to our colleagues and employees at work, to our customers and our clients, to our students, and to the world at large.

You have to gain control of your thoughts, your images, your dreams and daydreams, and your behavior. Then you will realize measurable results that you want.

If you don't like your outcomes, change your responses!

Make It a Habit to Ask for Feedback

Leaders cannot work in a vacuum. They may take on larger, seemingly more important roles in an organization but this does not exclude them from asking for and using feedback. In fact, a leader arguably needs feedback more so than anyone else. It's what helps a leader respond appropriately to events in pursuit of successful outcomes.

If you want to have a wonderful supportive relationship with your team at work, but they are angry with you for neglecting their needs as loyal employees, what do you do? Get mad at them for being upset? You can either see it as an opportunity to improve yourself and correct your behavior, or you can see it as the world ganging up on you and insulting you. Your goal of having a supportive relationship is telling you that you may have gone off course. To get back on course you listen and take the appropriate action. Open up those communication lines and act like a true leader.

So how can you become successful in dealing with feedback? The answer is to ask for it and to create a safe space for people to tell you what they are seeing. Don't be vague about what kind of information you want. Ask for it in specific terms. Ask how you are limiting yourself, how you can improve, and what it will take to get back on course. Trust your gut feeling about things, listen to what others are saying, and look at the results of your actions. Once you know the truth, you can set about taking action to improve. Everyone will be better for it.

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com.

Be a Solo Pro Beacon to Build Your Business

by Barbara Saunders

We live in a very image-centric society. We’re filled with preconceptions about how we should look or dress in order to be taken seriously.

As a Solo Pro, we may try even harder to fit those preconceptions since we’re on our own and don’t have a big ‘corporate’ identity to give us credibility.

Blending in with the crowd is comfortable. Just going along with the crowd means you don’t have to take responsibility for where you end up.

Of course, that’s how a lot of Solo Pros end up working for themselves…

Here are a few Mindset Adjustments for you:

  •     Consumers’ TRUST of big corporations are at an all time LOW. They want to do business with real people not faceless corporations.
  •     You cannot stand out from the crowd if you’re busying trying to blend in with the crowd.
  •     People are different – why wouldn’t you be too?
  •     You are uniquely brilliant – stop hiding your light. Your potential clients are searching in darkness for YOUR light.

Right now, there’s another issue working against you. We’re moving into Autumn which is a natural time for us to dig in and hide out. That can cost our business. I love social media and do a lot of connecting online, but the fact is that 80% of your income-producing connects tend to be off line. So let’s dig into some ways to help you step our and step up.

Tips to Become a Solo Pro Beacon to Build Your Business:

  •     Be brief and believable. The more concisely you can express what you do, the more credible you are. In addition, you MUST be clear about who you are talking to. Do your home work and know who your niche is intimately. Don’t allow yourself to give one of those long, rambling, “everything but the kitchen sink” types of introductions. Keep it simple, don’t use big words or get ‘fluffy’. Concentrate on breathing as you speak. Your confidence in communicating this important message will go a long way towards impressing your listener.
  •     Slow down. Force yourself to speak slowly and to enunciate more clearly than you normally would. Especially, when you give the URL of your website. When we feel stressed, we tend to speak much faster than we usually do. Slowing down will allow your listener to absorb what you’re saying AND give them a chance to ask questions. Tip: When they ask questions, they’re interested…
  •     Start with a goal. Have an intention for every event you attend. Do you want referrals, be interviewed, be noticed by the event host to be asked to speak? Tip: DO NOT come to a networking event with flyers or aggressively promoting something. You’re there you develop relationships. Save the selling for later.
  •     Follow up. The fortune is in the follow up. Develop a system to follow up with specific people you meet at the event. Tip: It DOES NOT always have to be in-person sit down visits. That can suck tons of travel time. Phone calls are gold.

Business Building Beacon Bonuses:

  •     Step up to speaking. You know your topic. By being the speaker, you get to be the center of attention. You can make an offer to the room – or just send them to your website for a freebie (to build your list). It’s been documented that speaking is one of the BEST way for consultants to build their business AND get higher paying clients.
  •     Invitation Only Private Event. Have your own small private event where you invite a select group of people with a juicy topic that you can do a short presentation and maybe a qiuck workshop. Provide yummy treats – make it special and elite.
  •     Elevate yourself. Polish your business card design, website, and think about talking with a personal stylist and give your wardrobe a boost. The little things really do count. You want to appear to be – not only a professional – but a leader in your industry.

Let’s make this fun. I’m going to challenge you and me to become a Solo Pro Beacon this quarter. Share your adventures with us in the comments section below.

Author Info: Barbara Saunders is a publication designer and has run a successful solo pro business for more than a decade. She is the Solo Pro Success Coach and the Director of the International Association of Self-Employed Communication Professionals and the Solo Pro Academy. She also hosts the Solo Pro Radio show everyday at 10am Pacific and 1pm Eastern It’s our mission to build community and help creative solo pros build and run successful businesses by providing support, innovation, tools, and strategies. Our goal is to liberate our members from the feast and famine cycle.

Over-delivering? A Quick Trick To Offering Value Without Burning Out In The Process

by Kendall SummerHawk

If you’re an over-delivering type of personality, you probably find it painful to cut back on giving your clients everything you know (or that you think they need) in order to be successful.

For years, I was the same way. The idea of cutting back went completely against my nature of generosity, giving and caring.

But at the same time, over-delivering has its downside, and that can cost you in many big ways, such as clients not re-enrolling in your programs, or even worse, failing to implement what you’ve worked so hard to give them.

I knew there had to be a solution (Remember one of the mindsets I teach? It’s, "Every problem has a solution, and every solution will cause you to grow in new, exciting ways").

When I took a fresh look at the problem of over-delivering, I discovered a solution that’s perfect if you care about your clients and you want to see them become successful as a result of your work together. And, you don’t want to burn out in the process of growing your business.

Even better, the solution I discovered eliminated the angst I used to feel when trying to lighten my programs, stripping out content that in my heart, I really wanted my clients to get their hands on.

I also discovered I could embrace my core personal value of generosity — and say "YES" to my core business value of over-delivering to delight clients — without risking overwhelm for me or my clients.

The secret? Chunk your content down into 3 simple sections that you deliver in different programs.

#1: Basic – Stick With Simple First

This is where your content should accomplish 3 simple things for your client. First, it helps them identify the specific problems keeping them from success. Second, your content gives them simple tips, ideas and how-to’s to solve those specific problems. And third, your content wraps it all up for your client by giving them ways of implementing what you’re teaching or keys to getting started.

Be sure to include a few simple checklists or templates and you have an awesome package that will help get your clients into action, quickly.

Will your client be an expert yet? No. But that’s not their goal. They just want to get started taking action on a topic you’re an expert in.

#2: Expert – Take Your Clients To Their Next Level

Not everyone wants to be an expert but the ones who do, will jump at the chance to pay for your help. This is where you include more specific how-to training and coaching, plus more done-for-you materials that help your clients take action quickly. If you’re offering a group program, this is where including private coaching with you to help your client customize what they’re learning really pays off in both them accelerating their results, and with you being able to charge more for the 1-on-1 attention.

#3: Mastery – The Ultimate In What Your Clients Learn From You

Whether you choose to call your program mastery or use a different name, this is the level where you go into richer depth with your content. It’s also where you hold a high expectation for your clients as to what they can achieve. And while including accountability is key at all levels of your content, at the mastery level, it’s crucial so that your clients feel both challenged and championed.

Bonus Tip: Over-deliver The Right Things

Looking for permission to over-deliver? Here’s how to make it work: Rather than filling up your programs with tons of content, instead, focus on over-delivering in the areas that can make or break your clients’ success with you.

For example, what tips can you turn into an easy reference checklist? What scripts or templates can you prepare in advance that make it easy for your clients to implement your teaching and coaching? Would a simple flow chart make a concept easy to understand?

Or maybe you can include a get-started module, or a handy list of resources.

The point is to make your clients feel they received more than their money’s worth in terms of value…without you (or them!) getting burned out in the process.

Would you like to learn simple ways you can brand, package and price your services, quickly move away from 'dollars-for-hours work' and create more money, time, and freedom in you business? Check out my web site, http://www.KendallSummerHawk.com, for free articles, resources and to sign up for my free audio mini-seminar "Money Blocks & Breakthroughs.

Award-winning, million dollar marketing coach Kendall SummerHawk is the leading expert in women entrepreneurs and money.


How She Does It: Elizabeth Kraus, Co-Founder of MergeLane

Elizabeth Kraus is co-founder of MergeLane (along with CEO & Co-Founder, Sue Heilbronner), which discovers, accelerates and invests in exceptional women and the companies they run.

She's an entrepreneur and angel investor, and founder of the Impact Angel Group, a group of investors equally dedicated to making a difference and realizing a return.

Prior to founding the Impact Angel Group, Elizabeth ran her own startup, myUsearch.com, and has been founding, working for and consulting for startups for her entire career.

She is an active angel investor, startup mentor and advisor, and she has been very active in the state and national effort to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem and mobilize angel investors. Elizabeth earned her B.A. in Marketing from the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business.

Designed to increase the number of women-led startups and to activate female leaders, the MergeLane accelerator program is structured to meet the needs and interests of companies with diverse management teams.

Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, MergeLane is a 12-week program. Companies must be physically present in Boulder for the first two weeks and last week of the program. MergeLane companies also are required to participate in virtual workshops, mentor meetings and leadership coaching sessions throughout the program.

*The first MergeLane class begins in February of 2015.  The deadline for application is December 15th.*

Deb: Thanks so much for stopping by the blog, Elizabeth. So, how did get started as an entrepreneur?

Elizabeth: I'm glad to be here, Deb. How did I get started? Well, every personality test I've ever taken has told me that I should be an entrepreneur. I am just wired that way. However, the way I actually became an entrepreneur was happenstance. My husband had started a business, and he needed someone with the skills that I had. I started working with him on an as-needed basis, and before I knew it, I was knee-deep in the business.

As the company started to grow, my husband found that he was better-suited for growing companies from 20 to 200 employees, rather than from 1 to 5. I found that I loved the 1-to-5 stage. As we figured this out, he got a great job offer from a well-funded, venture-backed company with twenty employees.  I stepped in to grow the company he had founded. From that point forward, I was hooked."

Deb: What was the inspiration for MergeLane?  

Elizabeth: We grew weary of being the only women in the room. We also both like to invest in women, both because we tend to meet extraordinary entrepreneurs who happen to be women and because the statistics overwhelmingly show that women-led and gender-diverse businesses perform better.  We decided we wanted to develop an accelerator that is backed by a diverse group of male and female investors and mentors, and is uniquely designed to activate female leaders.

MergeLane was created to broaden the on-ramp for women-led companies.  Not only are we passionate about investing in women-led startups, it’s a strategic decision with profits in mind. Statistically, venture-backed women-led businesses achieve 12% higher revenue.   If we can impact the gender gap, while doing what we love, we think it’s a win-win.

Deb: That's terrific and really needed. Who would be the ideal entrepreneur for your upcoming program?

Elizabeth: An extraordinary female leader that is passionate about her business. Her business would have a clear model for scale and it would be beyond the idea stage. This hypothetical entrepreneur would be is looking to grow. She has the energy and gumption to do it, but she may not have had the opportunity to do so present itself.

There isn't a specific industry sector we are looking for - it could be anything from natural foods to consumer web to medical devices.  We prefer startups that have raised less than $2 million of outside capital. The company doesn't necessarily have to be only female–run, but it must have at least one woman serving in an executive role with equity interest. 

Deb: What would you say are the top challenges for women seeking business funding?

Elizabeth:  The majority of VC opportunities aren't set up to benefit entrepreneurs with families. Most accelerators demand that the companies be in-residence for months in the location of the program.

MergeLane has a reduced residency requirement that enables entrepreneurs with a broad range of other commitments to participate. Remote mentoring, virtual curriculum sessions and possible connections to mentors in the entrepreneurs’ place of residence ensure program continuity.

After speaking with over 150 female entrepreneurs, we believe that women as a generalization frequently (a) have challenges in asking for help; (b) are less willing to go live, seek funding, or take risks until everything is “ready” or even more than ready; (c) tend to shoulder all of the responsibility versus sharing it with others and creating a support network; (d) undersell, think small, raise too little money in a fundraising round, etc.  These are major generalizations. Many women do not see these dynamics and many men do see them.

MergeLane caters to meet the leaders right where they are, but we are going to be willing to be in dialog on these unique issues that we see commonly in the women leaders we encounter (and…candidly…in ourselves).

Deb: What’s your vision for MergeLane?

Elizabeth: Our vision in the first year is to prove our business model by discovering, accelerating and investing in eight outstanding female-run startups.

We feel that this model not only fits our passions, but is a proven model in terms of returns.

Overall we hope that while growing these companies, we also help to strengthen and promote our female leaders in a way that meaningfully affects the gender gap in VC funding and startups.

Deb: I'm so glad you could share this exciting program with my readers. Please let everyone know where to find you online. 

Elizabeth: Thanks, Deb. This was great. Here's our website and social media links:

Website:  http://mergelane.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mergelaneaccelerator
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MergeLane


5 Most Effective Holiday Marketing Ideas for Your Online Business

by Donna Gunter

The holidays are just around the corner, which means holiday marketing opportunities abound!

Here in the U.S., the sales made in November and December represent the highest sales months for most brick and mortar retailers.  Now online businesses are getting into the holiday shopping game, creating their own version of “Black Friday” with “Cyber Monday,” the first Monday following the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.  As an online business owner, you need to be creating your own holiday marketing plans.

Here are the 5 most effective holiday marketing ideas you can implement during the holiday shopping season:

1.  Hold a sale.  Whether you send out coupons, hold a “buy one, get one free” opportunity, create special year-end packages, or simply slash prices, everyone is accustomed to participating in sales during the holiday season. Perhaps you create a new email list with a “Deal of the Day” promotion and offer these new list subscribers a special deal that is valid for only 24 hours.  Whatever tactic you choose, make your sale memorable.

2.  Tell your customers “thank you.” Perhaps you send them a little token of your appreciation via snail mail if you have their mailing address.  Or, you send out an email or a snail mail card telling them how much you appreciate them.  If you want to keep your token of thanks electronic, create a special PDF report to email to your customers and ezine and blog subscribers.  Offer a complimentary Q&A call to all of your social networking peeps and answer any question they might have in your area of expertise.  Make sure your customers know that you appreciate them, and be unique in your thanking efforts — don’t choose to send the same old lame holiday card.

3.  Tap into year-end budgets and last-minute tax deductions. Do you market to companies that have budgeted funds that must be used prior to the end of the year? Many times these monies focus on staff or client gifts, employee training, or business development and planning for the new year.  Moreover, these companies may be seeking some year-end tax deductions to reduce their tax burden for the year.  What services or products do you offer to help them meet their budget and year-end goals?

4. Special PR opportunities. I’ve heard many in the media say that one of the slowest times of the year for newsworthy stories is during the holiday season.  So, that leaves the media with no recourse other than to head out to the mall to cover the influx of holiday shoppers. Instead, take this opportunity to pitch your newsworthy story to your local media, or submit online press releases if your business is completely virtual. And, if you can tie in your story with the holiday season, all the better!

5.  Ask for feedback. The end of the year is the ideal time to ask your customers and clients how you’re doing, and what else you can do to help them.  Create a short survey to gain their input, and create some reward for participating. You’ll get some great ideas on what’s working and what’s missing, which will help you with your business plans for the upcoming year accordingly.

Your Authority Action Challenge:

Don’t let this year’s holiday season pass you by without implementing some unique holiday marketing activity. Choose one or more of these holiday marketing strategies to boost your holiday revenues and give you a strong start in the new year.

Want to quickly learn how to position yourself as an authority in your industry? Get Your "Authority Domination Toolkit" to discover 5 essential tools you can use to quickly expedite your authority status at http://www.AuthorityDominationTools.com.

Multi-Published Author Patricia Saunders on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™

Patricia A. Saunders was born and raised in Waterbury, Connecticut before relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area nearly 20 years ago. She received her Master's in Management from the University of Phoenix in 2011.

After the passing of her mother who had Alzheimer's, Patricia decided that all the words that she kept to herself were to be released.

She released her first published book Through the Fire (March 2012) which covered situations, circumstances, and life lessons that have influenced her over her lifetime.

Last year, the book was featured on a Coast to Coast Book Tour at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Tucson Book Festival, Miami International Festival of Books and AARP Life@50+ Spring Convention.

On a mission to complete a book a year she released her second book Loving Me which is was published and covers poetry on topics of self image, self esteem, bullying, and discovery of self-love by Author House Publishing.

Her work has been featured on In the Company of Poet, Women Owned Business Club Magazine, and Alysha Live! Radio Show and Coach Deb Bailey's Women Entrepreneurs - the Secrets of Success Talk Radio. She performs locally at spoken word events and Capital Jazz SuperCruise Open Mic with Grammy Award Winner Eric Roberson. Ms. Saunders was selected by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., to be panelist of authors for a discussion on Speak Out at the San Francisco Main Library.

Patricia has contributed to the book Sistah's with Ink Voices which is a compilations of work from over 300 women authors around the world. This September her work will be featured among 25 other women authors in another book called Behind the Mask! The Many Faces of Bullying by Professional Woman Publishing

She is a monthly guest blogger for Author House Author's Digest Blog as well as writes for her own blog called Blessed & Curvy.

Patricia just released her third book of poetry called Let It Rain that is also poetry that a span taking saying when it rains it pours in a different perspective. Though there might be rough patches to look for good to come around the corner. Poems dedicated to Maya Angelou and will make you laugh, cry, and affirm that you ready for the next chapter of life.

She works as a supervisor for a corporate financial organization. In her spare time, Patricia enjoys writing poetry, traveling, spending time with family and wine tasting.

Her books are available at your local book retailers, at www.patriciaasaunders.com and www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 8pm EST


Saying No to Others is Saying YES to Yourself

by Jack Canfield

There are only two words that will always lead you to success.  Those words are yes and no.  Undoubtedly, you’ve mastered saying yes.  So start practicing saying no.  Your goals depend on it!

If you are constantly saying yes to other people, then you are constantly saying no to yourself and your goals.   Ask yourself if what is being requested of you is in line with your goals, will it benefit you in some way and bring you closer to your success, or will you simply be spending your time on someone else’s good opportunity?

How much time do you waste with projects and activities that you really don’t want to do simply because you are uncomfortable saying no?

Success depends on getting good at saying no without feeling guilty.  You cannot get ahead with your own goals if you are always saying yes to someone else’s projects and agendas.

What a simple concept this is, yet you’d be surprised how frequently even the world’s top entrepreneurs, professionals, educators and civic leaders get caught up in projects, situations and opportunities that are merely good, while the great is left out in the cold—waiting for them to make room in their lives.  In fact, concentrating on merely the “good” often prevents the “great” from showing up, simply because there’s no time left in our schedules to take advantage of any additional opportunity.

Is this your situation—constantly chasing after mediocre prospects or pursuing misguided schemes for success, when you could be holding at bay opportunities for astounding achievement?

If saying “No” is so important, then why is it so hard to say?

Why do we find it so hard to say no to everybody’s requests? As children, many of us learned that “no” was an unacceptable answer. Responding with “no” was cause for discipline. Later, in our careers, “no” may have been the reason for a poor evaluation or failing to move up the corporate ladder.

Yet, highly successful people say “no” all the time—to projects, to crazy deadlines, to questionable priorities and to other people’s crises. In fact, they view the decision to say “no” equally acceptable as the decision to say “yes.”

Others say no, but will offer to refer you to someone else for help.  Still others claim their calendar, family obligations, deadlines and even finances as reasons why they must decline requests.  At the office, achievers find other solutions to their co-workers’ repeated emergencies, rather than becoming a victim of someone else’s lack of organization and poor time management.

“It’s not against you, it’s for me…”

One response that I have found helpful in saying “no” to crisis appeals or time-robbing requests from people is… It’s not against you; it’s for me.

When the chairman calls with yet another fund-raising event that needs your dedication, you can say, “You know, my saying no to you is not against you, or what you are trying to do. It’s a very worthy cause, but recently I realized I’ve been over committing myself. So even though I support what you’re doing, the fact is I’ve made a commitment to spend more time with my family. It’s not against you; it’s for us.”

Few people can get angry at you for making and standing by a higher commitment. In fact, they’ll respect you for your clarity and your strength.

So, how can you determine what’s truly great, so you can say no to what’s merely good?

Start by listing your opportunities—one side of the page for good and the other side for great.  Seeing options in writing will help crystallize your thinking and determine what questions to ask, what information to gather, what your plan of attack might be, and so on.  It will help you decide if an opportunity truly fits with our overall life purpose and passion, or if it’s just life taking you down a side road.

Talk to advisors about this potential new pursuit.  People who have traveled the road before you have vast experience to share and hard-headed questions to ask about any new life opportunity you might be contemplating.  They can talk to you about expected challenges and help you evaluate the “Hassle Factor”—that is, how much time, money, effort, stress and commitment will be required.

Test the waters.  Rather than take a leap of faith that the new opportunity will proceed as you expect, conduct a small test, spending a limited amount of time and money.  If it’s a new career you’re interested in, first seek part-time work or independent consulting contracts in that field. If it’s a major move or volunteer project you’re excited about, see if you can travel for a few months to your dream locale or find ways to immerse yourself in the volunteer work for several weeks.

And finally, look where you spend your time.  Determine if those activities truly serve your goals or if saying “no” would free up your schedule for more focused pursuits.

Be brave in saying no to good opportunities, stay focused on your higher goals and let people know that you are committed to those goals.  People will respect your clarity and drive.

Remember, just as you are in control of your feelings and attitudes, other people are in control of theirs, so if they do get upset with you for saying no…well that is a choice they make for themselves.
© 2010 The Canfield Training Group
All Rights Reserved.

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Back to Top