Your Vision Is Your Vision

Picture property of L. Davis

Picture property of L. Davis

Earlier this year I discovered that the number 13 means Transition and Rebellion, I thought it funny that the theme of year (as chosen by my pastors) was Transformation so I couldn’t help but think to myself, well isn’t this ironic.

My word for the year is Confidence which I’ve begun to see that in order to build this confidence I was required to transform my thinking so that I could ready myself for transition into a new phase in life and business. In a sense I’m rebelling against myself; I’m challenging my fears, my resistance, and all of the negative stigmas I’ve set up to keep myself from being the very best me I could I be.

And in my rebellion I’ve become freer, fiercer, and more determined, which inadvertently meant rebelling against the terms of success others were still trying to define for me, because my big picture that I could see so clearly didn’t line up with their comfortable.

And so, let me share this bit of wisdom I received since the last time I posted….

Your Vision is Your Own

The world didn’t give it to you, so don’t let the world take it away, (Whatever that world may be for you).

I like what CEO Mama Tamyka shared the other day, “I have no time for dream snatchers or limited thinkers clouding my atmosphere!”as we talked about how deal with folks who didn’t want to understand nor respect those of us who are self-employed.  And to that I say, Right on!

Everyone will not understand your journey.  Everyone will not accept the boundaries you establish especially as you discipline yourself to establish them. Everyone will not be comfortable with you embracing your discovery of your true self. Heck you might even be called crazy or weird or strange.

But I encourage you to press on. And I won’t be unrealistic and say keep dreaming when your lights are being shut off, you handle your handle but you don’t quit on yourself.

I love this quote by Michael Jordan:

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.

It’s real talk, as well a very motivating for the rebel that still resides inside you.

Until Next Time….

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What To Do When You Don’t Bring Your A-Game into an Important Meeting

"If this town. Is just an apple. Then let me take a bite. If they say, Why, why, tell 'em that it's human nature"

“If this town. Is just an apple. Then let me take a bite. If they say, Why, why, tell ’em that it’s human nature” M. Jackson

I swear I should have a specific name for my own personal journey with entrepreneurship because I feel my awkwardness is in a league all its own. I’ve shared with you different tips for networking when you’re an introvert. I even shared with you a handy dandy list of questions to ask during a one on one business meeting. Yet sometimes, the prep work gets thrown out the window because your head isn’t always in the game. Gasp! Surely, an entrepreneur always has it all together, especially when it’s Go Time. If you’re not the fearless CEO of you for shame, for shame… but let’s be honest, life can get complicated; typos occur, and miscommunication can lead to mix messages, mix messages can lead to bad impressions…the list goes on.

So how do you compensate for being human? How do clean up spilled ink marks on a blank and open canvas? What do you do when you don’t bring you’re A-Game into the sales meeting, the one-on-one business meeting, that coaching call you’ve been on a waiting list for, (you get the picture)?

1)      Own it: Excuses legitimate or not are always seen as just that, excuses. If you didn’t come prepared, admit it, if you were emotional, be honest with yourself, if you were tired, grumpy, anxious, or even feeling intimidated, these are all things you have control over. After all, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.-E. Roosevelt  And better time management would afford you proper rest and preparation. Self- improvement and personal development is a process not a destination. (And luckily some professional development weaknesses can simply be outsourced in time). So take the 1st step and recognize your own role in your mistakes.

2)      Thank the person for their time: After you’re done agonizing over what you think was worst impression of yourself you ever left with someone, (and it probably wasn’t even that bad). Don’t run and hide, someone gave you their time, and we all know how precious a commodity time is. In the process of expressing gratitude for a persons’ time, try to leave a better impression without being too much of kiss up. Oh, and don’t forget to apologize if you made an offense. A hand-written letter of apology if you really screwed up.

Also, even if it was your investment of money for their time, thank them. I’ve been hired for work later down the line after consulting or coaching sessions I paid for. Why? Because even though I was seeking their help I still brought my own unique skills to the table. These skills were something they remembered and needed in time. You never know!

3)      Learn The Lesson of the moment: If there is a lesson to be learned, seek it out when analyzing what went wrong. And try to come up with ways to prevent yourself from making the same mishaps. Start with simple questions Do you need to work on your confidence? Do you need to get more sleep? Do you need to do more research so that you can ask better questions? Then move onto bigger questions,  And here’s a truth nugget, if you noticed I said if, while I like to believe everything is oh so educational, sometimes, the only lesson to be learned is that there isn’t one. For instance Sometimes no matter if you were prepared or not, you may not be liked, or simply not vibe with the person and depending on how obvious the reasons, there’s just nothing you can do about that.

4)      Don’t harbor on it: I’ll keep this point short and sweet. There’s no use in crying over spilled milk. What’s done is done. You owned up to your mess up, you apologized, you thanked the person for their time, you tried to make amends, you reflected. Life goes on and so must you. Which brings me to my next point…

5)     Keep it moving: Like I said life gets messy sometimes. Sometimes you will get the sale, sometimes you will not. Sometimes, you will have an awesome business meeting, sometimes within 5 minutes of the conversation your new contact will tell you they have somewhere else to be and give you the “good luck chuck” sign off. Sometimes you will invest in a coach and realize you are not prepared to work with one because you’re not willing or able to put in the work they require. Life is in motion, and while it’s good to stand still every now and then to pull yourself together, you have to keep it moving, with or without anyone else’s approval, acceptance, good graces, or well wishes.

Would you like to add to this list? I would love to hear about lessons you learned when meetings don’t as well as you would’ve liked please share below in the comments!

Flickr Credit

Do what you have to do, even when you don’t feel like it

the tortoise and the hare

the tortoise and the hare

As I was power walking my way to toned legs nirvana, I had a clumsy moment; I decided to embrace the teaching moment nature had given me, and translate it into a lesson about running a business.

Funny things happen when you begin walking around your neighborhood to get the simplest form of exercising in. Besides noticing that you should probably cut your grass because everyone else’s lawn is putting yours to shame, or potentially attracting a stalker, (switch up your habitual routines ladies) what you begin to notice over time is results. Sometimes the path you take is a pleasant walk, and sometimes if you don’t know where you’re going, you end up on a dead end street. Sometimes you never lose weight because the walking speed and time you put in don’t match the goals you’re trying to reach.  Sometimes, you just choose the wrong direction. Every now and then you run into other walkers and joggers, some may say hi, some may ignore you, heck, some may even make for new friends.  

But on this day, I stumbled on unleveled ground and injured my toe. I already had a brace on the one knee which was now pulsing, (the knee that is) and now the big toe on my “good” side was all jacked up. I didn’t have a car to just hop in, forgot my cell, and had no money to pay anybody to help me get to my destination, and my walking peeps were busy trying to meet their own goals. All of a sudden the neighborhood was a chilling ghost town with no one in sight.  My targeted destination (home) was just ahead even though I couldn’t see it, I felt exhausted and hurt.

What did I do? I took a breather, stretched out my leg cramps, remembered that the path I had chosen had a clearly defined end goal and destination which was just up ahead, I sucked it up and took my butt home. That’s right, I went limping down the street tired, frustrated, and doubtful about my abilities and the path I chose, I mean who the heck trips on a routine walk and injures themselves? Still, I pressed on and got to my destination.

What does this have to do with running a business?

Running a business is a part of your journey; it’s a path you choose to walk. It’s a path that takes a lot of energy and hard work before you see the fruit of your labor.  Some people try to run it as if it were a sprint; to the top of the mountain they go before they look ahead to see what possible dangers await them. They tumble down without good bearing. Every business leader I respect, never said it was easy. It’s not. Some days it’s sunny and it can feel like a beach party, you catch momentum and ride the waves.Other times it could feel like the coldest winter ever and you hope you have enough to hold over and weather the storm. Sometimes, you may have to work a job and on your business even though you wonder if you have enough time in the day to accomplish both.

But if you’re serious about running and growing a business you’re going to have to treat it like one. If you’re feeling tired, unmotivated, uninspired you still have to do what you have to do in order to go where you’re trying to go. There are employees who have no problem fulfilling the vision of the one who put them to work. Heck, they go in ill; they don’t want to waste a sick day on a sick day!

You make time for Scandal and Game of Thrones; and don’t hesitate to pull your credit card out to add to your shoe collection.

So why then would we not give ourselves that same kind of fighting chance to invest in and grow our business, tired, injured toes and all?

Flickr credit

10 Questions You Can Ask During A One on One Business Meeting

Lately, I’ve been putting in a better effort to initiate and establish relationships with business professionals within my local network. This effort affords us both an opportunity to be more than another business card collected, or another random fan/follower/commenter etc. in turn we could learn more about what each other brings to the table and catch a glimpse of each others underlying intentions.  Depending on who I was meeting, I could get a better understanding of what it really meant to be a small business owner from someone who’s been in the trenches. As much as I believe that online social networking is more than enough to make authentic connections especially with video conferencing platforms like Google+ hangouts and Skype; I’m fully aware that many people, business owners and personal acquaintances alike want to feel connected in such a way that technology can’t seem to replace. Honestly, this is still a hard concept for me to understand (probably because I’m an introvert and a loner by nature) but I’m learning and adapting as much as I can.

It still takes me a lot of courage to attend networking events but I seem more at ease when I meet others in one to one and small group settings. In the process of learning how to better present myself during local offline networking, I realized I wasn’t very prepared for one to one meetings and wanted to be more confident in my approach rather than winging it and hoping for the best. I began researching questions to help me not waste the time of the person who was gracious enough to sit and chat with me, (nor my own for that matter).

Here’s a list of 10 Questions You Can Ask During A One on One Business Meeting 

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. What are your areas of expertise?
  3. What’s your Unique Selling Proposition?
  4. Who are your clients and what kind of work do you do for them?
  5. Describe your ideal client?
  6. What conferences do you attend?
  7. Who are your best referral sources?
  8. What efforts have given you the best marketing results?
  9. What is one of your most proud moments in running your business?
  10. How would I describe you to someone else if I were to refer you?

There you have it- a handy dandy list of questions to take with you during your next most important one on one meeting.

Would you like to add to this list? I would love to hear your suggestions on how to better my time during these one on one business meetings.

 

Flickr Credit: thetaxhaven

Why Do We Settle For Scraps (Vlog)

This month I “thought out loud” about why some of us settle for whatever scraps life hands us and why some of us are better prepared to strive for a full-course meal – a fulfilling life we create for ourselves. Would love to hear your feedback 🙂

Here’s the 2nd video in my I Know The Pieces Fit: