How to Get What You Need to Get Out of Your Box

stuck_in_the_box_by_misseyez-d30jnccThere are a number of things you can do to support the unfoldment of your goals and desires, even those aspirations you’re not sure you can really pull off.  One of the things you can do is find someone who has successfully walked the path ahead of you.  Mentors can be invaluable in shining a light on your path, supporting you in navigating obstacles and talking through with you, issues encountered.

If the word “MENTOR” were an acronym, here’s what I say it would mean.

Magnanimous: Mentors are giving and kind. They have walked their talk and generously share the wealth of their wisdom & experience.

Expansive thinkers.  Great mentors think outside the box & constantly challenge you to expand your vision. I attended a National Speakers Association meeting last week and heard a wonderful concept. That is, as leader, I can only take you as far as I’m willing to go myself. Great mentors continually step outside their own comfort zones.

Networked. Effective mentors have connections in the right places that can help you advance your career of business. They make introductions that lead to needed resources and ideally, new revenue sources.

Truth-teller. While it’s always nice to work with people we like, the last thing you need is a mentor who is only concerned about making you feel good. Mentors talk straight. They get to heart of the matter on issues of importance. They are more committed to your long term effectiveness than to your short term peacefulness.

Optimistic.  Mentors are able to see your bright future and reflect it back to you on those days when you you’ve forgotten what that future looks like or why you cared about it in the first place.

Respectful They mentor you as a full partner, capable of gutsy, courageous acts of faith, not someone who is ‘less-than’ or somehow diminished.

I will leave you with final quote from Neale Donald Walsch, author of the Conversations with God series, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Great mentors live at the edge of theirs and keep you at the edge of yours.

Are You an Ostrich Or an Eagle in Your Marketing?

ostrich-head-in-sandThe ostrich is the world’s largest bird.  It can run at speeds up to 43 mph.

Contrary to popular belief (and apparently contrary to this photo), ostriches do not hide their heads in the sand at the first sign of trouble. According to the National Geographic, ostriches lie low and press their long necks to the ground in an attempt to become less visible.

soaring_eagleEagles on the other hand, tend to cause trouble for others.  They get many of their meals from fishing, scavenging or even stealing their meals from other predators.

Are you striving to lie low and wait for the economic rebound to take hold? Or are you on the hunt for opportunities?  I’m not suggesting you steal from others, but do recommend you become more proactive at seeking out your next client.

Here are some simple actions you can take to create more revenue opportunities for your business:

1. Stay in touch with prospects and clients. Even though they may not be buying from you right now, they are more likely to reach out to you when they do start spending if they remember that you exist.  People are bombarded with messages all day long through the media, email and face-to-face interactions.   If your name, face or logo aren’t in the mix, it will disappear into the background and you’ll lose out on potential future business.

2. Create partnerships with kindred spirits. Find people/businesses that sell to the same market that you serve and package your services in unique ways that others can’t match.

3. Upgrade/update your offer. F ind out what specific problems your market is suffering from right now that you can help with.  Design something new to meet the current trends and issues of the day.

Simple targeted acts can make a big difference.  It’s action that matters.  Jay Conrad Levinson, Guerrilla Marketing, said “Consistency and persistence will pay off better than occasional brilliance“.

Take consistent action even if it’s not the perfectly though-out mega plan in your head.

How Inbred Is Your ‘Tribe’?

McCainYou’ve probably heard the phrase, “People do business with people they know, like and trust”.  It makes sense.  When we’re comfortable with people, we’re more willing to hang around them and more willing to fork over money to them believing they ‘get’ us and can help us.

The challenge arises when we get and stay too comfortable, surrounding ourselves with people who are just like us.  It makes life easier perhaps, but also limits our learning.  We get caught up in “Group Think” and we believe the entire world feels what we feel and believes what we believe.

From a professional standpoint, it’s important to hang out with your industry kindred.  You’ll learn more about your craft, be able to tap into the wisdom and experiences of people who’ve walked the trail ahead of you.

But again, if your professional kindred are ALL you hang out with, your perspective will likely narrow.  Your problem-solving abilities could become limited by what’s already been tried before.

What might you learn if you spent time with people from different industries, professions or persuasions?  What new skills might you add to enhance your career?  What new marketing tactics might you uncover for your business? What new and valuable clients or connections might you make?

It’s important that we step outside of our comfort circles and meet and learn from people in new arenas who bring fresh perspectives to our world views.

I don’t know the political affiliations of  many of my friends and very few of my clients.  I tend to avoid having political conversations in social or professional settings.

While I don’t mean to draw lines in the sand, I do want to use the experiences of the week to make a point.  I’ve been a registered Green Party member for about 20 years now.  I do tend to vote along Democratic lines although not blindly.

I have to recognize though that I live in a predominantly Republican state.  My Governor is Republican; my U.S. Senator is Republican.  I need to hear from them.  They need to hear from me.

Today, I represented the Phoenix Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) as the Chapter’s President, at a Meet & Greet for Senators John McCain and Scott Brown, recently elected to fill Senator Kennedy’s vacated seat for Massachusetts.   After Senators McCain and Brown spoke, I (along with most everyone else in the room), gathered around them to shake hands, express sentiments and take pictures.  I had a message I wanted to deliver to Senator McCain on behalf of NAWBO, so moved with the crowd until I got close to him.

There were a few people still between us, yet he reached past them and grabbed my hand to thank me for being there.  OK, I did stand out in the crowd, but I was still impressed that he so intentionally acted to connect with me.

I made my pitch for affordable health care and gave him my hand-written note which mentioned a few other things of import to our association and me personally, snagged the photo above, thanked him and headed for pizza.

Do you insulate yourself from people who have opinions that differ from yours or do you reach out to them and try to connect and influence?  Do you allow yourself to be touched by people who are different from you?  Do learn from your encounters or do you stay with your ‘tribe’ and lay blame on the state of the word?

Reach out.  Take action. Step across the ‘aisle’ and discover new shores.