Tag Archives: Professional Development

Is Your Fear of Raising Your Fees Stifling Your Growth?

What excuses are you using for not raising your fees?

  • The economy is too weak?
  • People aren’t buying anything but necessities these days?
  • I’ll lose more business than I’ll gain?

I’ve heard them all. I’ve even heard them come out of my own mouth in the past.

Watch this Michael Jordan video and then tell me what you think.

“Become Legendary”

What would it take for YOU to become legendary?

I can tell you one thing, it’s not waiting for the economy to recover.

I think there are five specific things that need to happen on the road to being legendary.

While being legendary isn’t my end goal, I believe that the discipline it takes to walk (or run) on that path is what being legendary is really about.

I had to grapple with one of them this week in order to develop the largest proposal I’ve ever written. I knew I could help this corporate client solve their problem, but it took more than a few deep breaths and a leap of faith on my part to put it all on paper and price it.

Here the five things I believe are critical to the pursuit of being legendary our lives and our businesses.

1. Recognize your gift(s)
So often we dismiss as ordinary the very things that make us unique.  Being legendary requires that we honor and treasure our gifts; that we hold them in special regard. We must nurture or they will whither away and die.

2. Be guided by a higher power
When we live ‘alone’, it’s easy to be frightened or swayed from our calling. Whether you believe in God or your internal guide, connecting with something beyond your worldly ego which will respond to stimuli from a place of defensiveness and fear or power (and not the productive kind).

3.  Do the work
Honoring your gifts means putting them to work.  Expressing them.  Doing what it takes to ensure that they fully unfold. This is a step beyond nurturing them.  Doing the work actually fortifies them. Do the bench presses. Study.  Take classes. Use discipline to get better at your craft.

4.  Stretch your limits
Human bodies & beings gravitate to the state of homeostasis (sameness).  Our brain and muscles tend to want to stay comfortable, in familiar surroundings. Step out. Do things you haven’t done before. Do more than you think you can do. Do it before you think you’re ready.

5.  Measure your impact
Another way we stay small is by ignoring the impact of our presence, words and actions.  Start to notice what happens for your clients when you work your magic.  Ask them to describe for you how your product or service has changed their lives.

Implement these 5 practices consistently and you will transform your experience of yourself. When your sense of self expands, so will your self-worth.

When you know your value, your clients will value you more. Find the courage, confidence and pathway to act on the ideas in your head and the dreams in your heart.

Be unstoppable.  Become legendary. Exceed your dreams.

3 Ways to Keep Your Past from Living Your Future

Let’s face it.  As human beings, we can be creatures of habit.  For that matter, most every living creature I can think of is either a creature of habit or instinct.  The advantage we enjoy is having access to judgment and choice. But how often to we access that advantage?

It serves us to leverage our past learnings.  Without that continuity, we would be ‘reinventing the wheel’ every moment of every day. We wouldn’t get much done.

The difficulty arises when we allow the past to dictate (even unconsciously) what we can do in the present. Our belief in the past limits our perspective. It constrains our actions.  It stymies our ability to conceive of what’s possible.

Here are three concrete, specific things you can do to expand your consciousness and live on the edge of possibility. Use them to soar to new heights, accomplish forsaken dreams, live life more fully, enjoy your time on earth more.

Click here now to read (and comment on) these exciting ideas on my blog

1. Dream of and set big scary goals
When you look toward the future, you disengage from the past – sometimes. You may need to challenge yourself not to be constrained by what you think is possible.  Your sense of ‘possible’ is likely all past-based taking into account what your brain ‘knows’ you can do. Don’t succumb to that.

2. Take a course that requires to express your creativity
Several years ago, I purchased a book titled, Drawing with the Right Side of the Brain. Reading it and doing the exercises within, forced me out of my habitual way of seeing the world. It encouraged me to focus on new things, new perspectives of items that were right in front of me.

3. Consult with people who will challenge you
Surround yourself with people who are out to accomplish the impossible themselves.  The fleeting life we are given is wasted watching endless characters on TV play out scripted or artificial ‘reality’  lives.  Set your own destiny.  Make your own mark. Vow to do more than survive.

You can break out of being a creature of habit.  It takes making a choice to live outside of your box then taking actions consistent with that choice.

How to Create More Energy, Happiness & Prosperity

One of the big mistakes some people make is waiting for energy, happiness and prosperity to descend upon them.  Someday, things will be better, they muse.

Well, I’m here to let you know that you control how soon ‘someday’ arrives.

dredgeI was out on my morning walk the other day and spotted this dredging machine cleaning out a water canal of one of the local utilities. Over time, dust, leaves and trash accumulate in the canals and slow the flow of water. These ‘routers’ remove the debris so the water flows more easily.

This cleaning process made me wonder how often we rid ourselves of our debris in life.

If you want to create more ‘flow’ in your life, here are seven simple things you can do.

1. Set and communicate boundaries
We get resentful when people’s behavior doesn’t meet our expectations. Yet, we’re often guilty of not communicating those expectations. (They should just know, we righteously tell ourselves.) You have to let people know what makes you happy or not and what you need from them.

2. Un-volunteer from activities that have become a burden
If you’re involved in activities or responsibilities that leave you feeling unhappy or anxious, graciously remove yourself.  Don’t just run away.  Turn things over in a responsible manner.  Identify ‘next steps’, find someone to replace you, train them and step away.

3. Renegotiate relationships
Years ago, I realized that one of my best friends couldn’t keep her mouth shut.  I would share things with her as good friends do, but then learn that she had shared them with someone else.  I started specifying that this item is confidential, but even those disclosures got repeated.  I finally decided to only tell her things I wanted everyone to know. I never felt violated or disappointed in her again!

4.  Donate or sell your stuff
Our neighborhood organized a community garage sale this past weekend.  We didn’t participate but it did remind me to deliver that bag of items I had set aside for Goodwill or Salvation Army.  If you have things lying around ‘just in case’, get rid of them.  eBay is another good option that allows you to make a little money from your purge.

Stuff accumulates in our homes.  It becomes invisible to us but still drains the flow of ‘chi’, that life force energy that surrounds us and that blockage eventually drains our spirit.

5. List (and finish) your incomplete projects or items
Our soul gets burdened by the accumulation of ‘someday I’ll finish xyz‘ thoughts. Whether you’re afraid to tackle it or it’s just not high on your to-do list, it’s existence is weighing you down.

Empty your head of all of your ideas.  Write them down on paper.  Attach completion dates to them, even if the date is “Never”. Then get to work.  If you start with the scariest, you’ll feel amazing once it’s done.  If you start with something easy, you’ll feel successful too.  Just start somewhere and keep going.

6. Delegate
I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.  If your to-do list is too long, give some of the items away.  Even though you might do it best, it may not be best for you to do.  Give it to someone who can get it done well enough. It will get done faster and you’ll be relieved of one more burden.

7.  Deliver undelivered communications
One of the biggest thieves of our souls is stuffing important communications and tolerating unpleasant situations.  They consume our mind and energy.  They rob us of important progress we could make in our lives. Find a gentle way to broach the touchy subject,  get it off your chest and come to some sort of resolution with the other person.

Do these seven simple steps and you’ll discover energy, confidence and opportunities you didn’t know you had!

Top 10 Tips for Surviving Anything

I’ve learned a lot of lessons having survived 10 years in business plus 30 years in Corporate America. I’m sure you have too. Here are some of the top tips that come to mind as I reflect back on my happy and not-so-happy days.

10. Admit your mistakes

This can be hard to do, especially if you’re the boss. However, people will respect you more when you show the courage to own up to your humanity. You will endear yourself to them in ways you can’t if you present yourself as infallible.

9. Make people feel important

I know there are a lot of egos out there and it’s tempting to not ‘fan the (already- inflated ego) flame’. However, it really doesn’t cost you much to be appreciative. People will love you all the more when you place them on what feels like a pedestal to them. I’m not saying to undervalue yourself nor ignore your own needs. Just put a little love in your heart and share it.

8. Take control of your own career

Time was, when you took a job, your future seemed to be controlled by the bosses. The employment ‘deal’ changed a few years ago. Career ladders aren’t what they used to be. Nothing is a given. Set your sights on where you want to be, experience and learn what you need to in order to best prepare yourself. Stretch yourself. Try new things.

Don’t blame ‘the system’ for your lack of progress. Take aim and steadily move forward (whether sideways or out). My husband, Karl has sometimes said ‘That person doesn’t have 20 years of experience. (S)he’s had 1 year of experience 20 times.’ Don’t be one of those people.

7. Ask for help

People are often afraid to admit they need help because they think it will make them appear weak. If you whine all of the time, that definitely won’t reflect on you well. But when working on something critical, in an emergency or when you just don’t know what to do, asking for advice or help could save your company or business a lot of money. The key is to ask the right person/people and to ask in a way that they see the benefit to them for honoring your request. Don’t make it about you. Make it about them and the business.

6. Have fun

If you’re not having fun, you’re in the wrong job or business. I realized decades ago that I spent too much time working not to enjoy it. So I’ve left a couple of ‘good’ jobs that I hated and let my personality out at work in the jobs I stayed in. (Encourage your team/staff to do the same.)

5. Stand up for what you believe in

Your perspective is important. What makes teams produce incredible results is harvesting the wisdom of everyone in the group. If you tend to be quiet, speak up more. Your voice needs to be heard. If you’re one of the ‘loud mouths’ your perspective is still important. Just don’t cry ‘wolf’ too much or you’ll lose your credibility.

4. Ask your clients / bosses / employees what they need, then give it to them

I fundamentally believe that most people are doing the best they can with what they have. If you want to be successful, the people around you have to be succeeding too. It’s hard to be a rock star with no fans or roadies. When you invest in others, you’ll gain dividends and rewards you were never expecting.

3. Keep your eyes on the prize

This presumes that you have a ‘prize’ – the reason you’re working or in business in the first place. When you’re clear about your purpose in being there, you’ll make better choices, set stronger boundaries about what you’ll tolerate or not and be less affected by the little things that don’t go the way you’d like them to.

2. Remember, this too shall pass

Whether it’s a bad economy, an intolerable boss or a project from Hades, it won’t last forever. Someone once said to me “Never take or leave a job because of the boss. They won’t be there forever”. (That may be less comforting in the public domain where I hear people can stay in jobs a really long time.) In any event, take heed of the earlier tips, do your best and remember you’re in charge of your life.

And the #1 tip for surviving anything…

1. To thine own self be true

I harp on this a lot. You have a purpose. You’re on the planet for a particular reason. You may not be entirely clear about your purpose just yet. If that’s the case, stay true to your values. They will point you in the right direction. (I presume you know what’s important to you. If not, take some time to figure that out.) Don’t engage in behaviors that compromise your integrity.

If something feels inherently wrong, don’t stand by and suffer in silence. Express yourself or extract yourself.

Your life is too important to waste your talents, time or passion.

Getting Maximum ROI on Training

When corporate revenues are down, budgets shrink.  Executives look for ways to cut costs and ‘ride out the storm’.

Cutting training altogether can be a risky proposition.  The question shouldn’t be ‘What training expense can we eliminate?” but rather “What training can we provide that would increase our ‘top line’ or reduce our other expenses?”

When one evaluates training from this perspective, the criteria for success and effectiveness become more apparent.  Train sales people to be more strategic or more relationship oriented in their approach and revenues should increase.

Train employees on proper procedures and processes and error rates (and therefore waste) go down improving profitability.

Improve their communication skills and time-draining conflicts decrease.  Various studies show that almost 85% of employees report conflict on the job.  If an employee earning $30K/year wastes just 1 hour a week on a conflict, that’s $721 (assuming no conflict happened during the 2 weeks they spent on vacation.)  How many hours do you think employees are losing each week dealing with conflict in your organization?

Managers spend 40 – 60% of their time arbitrating conflict.  A manager earning $60K/yr is ‘investing’ about $30K of that salary dealing with disputes. Imagine if that time were instead invested in improving processes, uncovering new opportunities.

Communication problems can be avoided or at least minimized with proper training, yet execs somehow don’t recognize the true cost of conflict because they don’t take the time (or don’t know how) to measure it.

Train managers on workplace harassment and future lawsuits could be avoided.  (Avoided costs are harder to measure, but workplace harassment training is required so ignoring it gets even more expensive.)

So, how can money-smart managers and executives continue their training efforts without breaking the bank?

Look for new models to deliver training.

  1. Rather than flying people in for meetings, use webinars or video broadcasts.  Technology is improving and becoming more cost-effective.
  2. Transition to e-learning, just in time, learn at  your desk training.  Employees select (or are given) specific modules to help them improve on the job.
  3. Conduct a workshop using video with a remote speaker/trainer and even dispersed participants saving travel costs.
  4. Host frequent, short teleconferences to impart information and engage masterminding/problem solving sessions.
  5. Use social networking Web 2.0 technology to enable knowledge sharing across departments and locations decreasing ‘ramp up’ time, building repositories of solutions from which employees can draw to solve their problems and improving productivity…and profitability.
  6. Tie learning outcomes to desired business results – and measure them.

Especially in this economy, it is critical that we develop new ways to improve our people, our operations and our profitability.

Training and knowledge sharing are critical roads toward that goal and cannot be abandoned without jeopardizing the future our enterprises.

Don’t squander your upside potential.  Invest today.