By Michelle Porchia
Now that the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, visiting, stressing, over-eating is over --what do you do with yourself?
Are you a person who makes New Year’s resolutions or sets goals that are rarely fulfilled? Do you have high hopes for a better 2014? Let’s look at some overall skills that can help you with entering 2014 in a good space. First, INHALE/EXHALE. Secondly, be still. Third, reflect.
It is important that you breathe. Inhale peace and exhale stress. We tend to breathe shallow and breathing is life to our body. So take time to breathe fully and completely
We are told to “be still.” You’ve heard me say this before. We’ve become human doers and we were created as human beings. We need to learn to simply BE. Yet we feel living is about being in constant motion. Not so. Try this exercise: turn out the lights, light a candle or use a battery-operated candle and just be still. Focus on the flame. Listen to your inner voice. Try this for at least 5 minutes.
Reflect. Try journaling your thoughts. How was 2013 for you? What went well and would you have liked to have done differently? Did you spend time with the people who are important to you – including YOU? Did you spend your time when and where you wanted? This is also where you can address the questions above. Don’t beat up on yourself. Simply listen as you reflect and then decide “now what”?
My suggestions for 2014:
· Set SMART goals. (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timed). Goals are usually personal, professional, spiritual, etc. Whatever is important to you and usually not all in one area. Write them down. Break the goals down into small pieces and then make them part of your daily action list. Example: Rather than saying, “I want to lose weight”. A more realistic goal is I want to live healthy. I will: work out 3-5 days a week. I will drink at least 6 glasses of water a day, eat 2-3 vegetables a day (corn is not a vegetable), and eat 1-2 fruits a day. I will go to bed at a reasonable time (set the time and your alarm – yes to go to bed). I will spend at least 15 minutes a day being still.
Clear out clutter. Mental clutter. Physical clutter. Emotional clutter. Get help. It’s hard to receive if you are full. The season may be up for some relationships, for some of our “stuff”. During these times, people could use that coat, suit, coffee maker that you haven’t used in years. Donate them to the church store or other organizations. Do a swap.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2014.
Your Comments Are Welcome
by Debra Gould, MS
When times are tough, it's tempting for managers and business owners alike, to hunker down and wait it out. Competition increases, and tempers can get strained.
Instead of focusing on scarcity (scarcity of profits, customers, suppliers, etc.), there is another option: we could focus on confidence. We could reach out instead of pulling back.
Here are a few ideas to help get you started:
1. Form Strategic Alliances
Chances are your business is loosely related to other businesses in your area, servicing the same customers. For instance, customers who use a CPA probably enlist the services of a professional investment counselor, or a lawyer. The people in these industries could form a strategic alliance and offer customers a reduced rate if they bought "package" services.
Strategic alliances can equally be used in the workplace. Make sure to identify other people in roles that complement yours. This way, you can service clients (or even your employer) by using a tag-team approach. This can dramatically impact your or your business in a positive way.
2. Develop Joint Ventures
A joint venture is when two companies agree to share resources and capital in order to succeed as a team.
Why think about a joint venture? Well, joint ventures can be a wonderful way to increase your market share and revenues, develop new technology, reduce costs or eliminate barriers of entry into your market.
Most of the time joint ventures work much like strategic alliances. Often, however, competitors will form a joint venture if they can both bring unique skills or technology to the table.
The idea behind the joint venture? Don't reinvent the wheel, connect with the one who has!
3. Take Referrals to the Next Level
Are you acting on your referrals? It's surprising how many people let those gold mines go to waste, or don't actively try to get referrals.
Now's the time to take your referrals to the next level. As a business owner, offer incentives to your colleagues and customers to get referrals, and make sure you follow up within 24 hours once they start coming in. Make sure all your customers have your marketing materials to hand out, and make it a goal to provide exceptional customer service so that you keep getting those referrals.
As a manager or employee, keep up with performance reviews (especially the positive feedback). Encourage managers and peers that speak highly of you to document their feedback. Keep a file of your 'testimonials' for present and future opportunities. You never know when a better opportunity may arise, so it's best to dig your well before you're thirsty.
It can be tempting to think that there aren't enough opportunities to go around. But when you approach business and marketing from a "scarcity" mindset, that's exactly what you're going to get. Move forward and take action with confidence instead, and see what happens!
By Nancy J. Lewis, MS, PHR, RCC
Christmas is a time of love, joy, peace, and happiness. It brings to mind memories of family and friends from past days where we have shared time over eggnog, cookies, and holiday treats. This year I challenge you to give the gift of yourself in creative ways. It is important not to stress out because you can’t give the gifts you desire to give. Give the gift of yourself because that’s the gift that means the most. Enjoy the eggnog, cookies, family gatherings, and the love that you feel from loved ones and friends, but don’t get consumed with feeling you have to buy something to make Christmas meaningful. The following tips are things you can do this Christmas season to bring a smile to the faces of family and friends.
These are just a few of the ideas you can use. The key factor to remember is give of yourself and when you do watching the smiles, hearing the laughter, and feeling the love that runs from heart to heart is priceless. Have a wonderful Christmas and a New Year filled with peace beyond measure, joy unspeakable, and love that fills your heart.
Nancy J. Lewis is the president of Progressive Techniques, Inc. based in Fayetteville, Georgia where the theme of her organization is "Developing a Better You!" Nancy is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success. Nancy can be reached at: (404) 559-7614, email: email@example.com and website: www.progressivetechniquesinc.com.
Your Comments Are Welcome.
Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Seasons Greetings To You And Your Family
Throughout The Holiday Season!
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.