Tag Archives: mind-set

Rediscovering Your Purpose In Work

Imagine a 3-question pop-quiz:

  • (Daily) What are your responsibilities as a business owner: Hah. Many.
  • (Longer-term) What is your responsibility as a business owner: To ensure the success of the business.
  • (Lifetime)What is your main focus as someone living in this time, in this era, in your culture, doing the things you do?

These questions may seem kind of unconnected, first asking about the business then becoming sort of metaphysical, but in light of all that we’ve seen happen when the internet (and the new communication technologies that followed) revolutionized the ways we can talk and share with each other.

We’re always connected, and yet feel disconnected at times.
We share a lot of our lives online, but feel like nobody really knows who we are.
And sometimes we feel there is more for us to do ‘out there’, yet we feel aimless, detached and unmotivated ‘in here’ (points to self).

 

The cost of doing something with intent is becoming lost in it. As paradoxical as it may sound, we often look for Big Things for ourselves: a cause to devote yourself to, something bigger than you. A vocation, a calling, a reason for being. We want to lose ourselves in a grand undertaking–and in doing so find our reason for being here.

We are also afraid of getting lost — which is why we do so much stuff, to prove to ourselves and others that we got things going on. Important things, you know? We’re not aimless drifters. We get stuff done.
We also burn out, or get bogged down. Continue reading Rediscovering Your Purpose In Work

Finding the Right Metrics For Your Success

  • When you find yourself breaking even for the first time since you started your business venture, does that mean you’re doing well?
  • If you receive fewer customer complaints this month than last month, does that mean you can relax?
  • When your click-through rate rises after a new site design, does that mean you can go through with the new marketing scheme and thoroughly overhaul your processes?

When it comes to making anything a success — your business, your work, your projects, yourself, the question itself, “How do you measure success?” just opens the door to an overwhelming number of choices.

Success is a complex event, and is made up of many factors. Focusing on just symbols or thresholds for success, when you’re running a businessĀ  there are three kinds of markers right off the bat.

  • There are financial markers: I will be successful when I’m making enough money at my side-venture to leave my main job. I will be successful when I’m making $100,000 a year.
  • There are physical markers: I will be successful when I have expanded my operations to 5 new locations within the year.
  • There are emotional markers: I will be successful when I can stop worrying about making this business get off the ground.

In the question itself, “How do you measure success?” the parts “You” and “measure” should be pointed out as critically important.

For you to really feel the success, attaining it should be personal to you: there are too many accounts of people who, after looking back at their ‘successful’ lives and realizing they fulfilled the goals they were expected to have, were left feeling bereft and like personal failures when they realized those goals weren’t really their goals, they just sort of… slid into them.

In this vein, you need to dig deep and find out what matters to you enough that you would freely put in the labor for it, engaging and wrestling with all the details and activities involved in making the work a success. A success stands out because it demands more from you. Continue reading Finding the Right Metrics For Your Success

3 Tips To A Better Business Mindset

As a business owner you aren’t given any guarantees by your market, your customers or your clients. Your business survives and thrives from the strength of the connections and the relationships you cultivate with your business partners, with your on-line community and with the people you work to supply solutions to.

In the unspoken social contracts of on-line business, expectations are set and managed. You market your product as being capable of doing certain things better than your competitors, or being able to supply exactly what your target market needs.

Then you have to deliver, and the processes involved in providing quality products and customer satisfaction requires you to do things often covered by cliches: tackling the roadblocks, doing the drudgework, ironing out the details and smoothing out the obstacles, making things presentable, etc.

You know, the small details and repetitive tasks involved in running a business.

 

As someone who owns and runs their own business, by this time you must’ve already experienced the gut-wrenching anxiety that comes with facing all the demands that your brainchild, your creation, generates.

In the years to come new technologies and their ensuing social impact will come that can change the way you do things, or eliminate the need for your product entirely. You need to be able to focus on your core competencies and practices that will help you adjust to and change with the times.

 

You head your own business. You report to no one but yourself. As an independent entity, your business has no guarantees except for the projects, contracts and commitments you have right now.

Compared to people who work in companies and spend their workweek in cubicles or offices, you do exercise and have a greater degree of freedom: your schedule each day isn’t handed to you from on high, and where you spend your labor and time isn’t controlled by corporate.

On the other hand, this also means you’re responsible for ensuring the business survives and that you make a living off of it for as long as you want to run with it. Your ever-renewing goal then, is to look for and develop ways to prepare to thrive in an uncertain future without a crystal ball at your side. Continue reading 3 Tips To A Better Business Mindset

Getting People To Buy Into Change

You’ve probably had moments in your life when you stopped to take a good look at where you were going, then shook your head and picked another direction. Let’s talk about what happens after you pick a heading.

When you want to move in a new direction, who else will be affected?
You’ve seen the signs and did the research. If things don’t change, if you don’t make things change, you’ll end up a long way away from where you want to be.

  • Something’s been eating at you and you need to make things better. It’s change or get run over, change or be left behind.
  • Something needs to change, and you’re planning to take charge of the process. You’re doing this for very important reasons.

If you built a business all by your merry lonesome, well, hey, congratulations. But there are two things to consider when you’re fixing to make changes.

  • Are you really doing it alone?
  • Who else will be affected by the intended change?

A business not just a legal entity. Anything involving people brings relationships into the picture: When you’re planning changes like shifting directions, it’s not as easy as turning the steering wheel. All the parts need to work together to move a car where you want to go, and it’s the same with business.

  • What about reactions from family, partners or employees?
  • You also have people you work for and with– suppliers, for example, and customers/clients, for sure. What about them?

 

Even if you’re a sole proprietor, you work in a network of friends, family, partners, suppliers, clients, advisors and customers. You’re a member of several social groups withing your business network. You are influenced and have more influence than you think, and actions ripple out in consequences, in the networks you’re a part of.

When you want to make a change in the organization you created, you won’t be the only one affected by the change. To make it easier for everyone involved, you can to have them buy into your intended changes. But how? Continue reading Getting People To Buy Into Change

Start As You Mean To Go On

Welcome back! It’s been a while, how are you doing? Good, not so good, so-so?

Maybe you’re edging towards being down in the dumps because you already slipped up with your resolutions. Perhaps you feel just a bit ragged around the edges from finalizing the little things that come after the end of a year… a little run-down chasing after the trickles of grunt work and red tape, and snipping loose threads threatening to snarl your work flow.

Frustration mounts. Resentment ignites. “This is a new year, it’s supposed to be different. It’s just the same old problems, popping up like weeds! It’s no use.” *gives up*

First, walk off the defeatist attitude. Don’t rag on yourself too, it’s already hard enough out there.

“I tried,” is a good start, but just leaving things there without any resumption of effort lessens it. “I tried, it didn’t work, so there,” doesn’t get anything done, either. Thinking like this cheats you. It also cheapens you. “I finished this today,” is better. It’s done. You did it. Tomorrow is another day.

When a decision sputters off in a ‘so there!‘ you need to understand that no one else but you will live in the aftermath of your none-efforts. When you honestly want things to change for yourself, you have to make sincere, sustained actions to change them. No one else will give a damn, they’ve got their own problems. And even if they care, caring won’t do things for you.

You have to walk towards your goal under your own power. Things don’t change by themselves. You have to get the ball rolling, and keep it in motion until it gets to where you want it to go. You just need to do it one day at a time. Just today. Continue reading Start As You Mean To Go On

Things Don’t Happen In A Vacuum: The New Year And You

27 December 2013, by A. Cedilla

Let’s start with a little visualization: Think of how movement in space influences other things sharing the same space.

A few of the most basic examples are: a circular ripple effect, from a pebble thrown into a pond, with rings moving out from the center. Ripples going downstream are affected by the condition of the stream bed and any rocks big enough to present interruptions to the flow. And for an absolute lovely visual representation of ripples in virtual space — complete with sound effects — go spend some time on Hatnote’s Listen To Wikipedia.

You act, work and live in a lattice-work of systems. Go back to those science classes and sociology lectures and remember all the various terms they used — kin groups, eco-systems, social networks, virtual communities. Think of your work environment and your work relationships. Think of where you live and your community relationship. Think, and connect-the-dots.

(Want to go wild with the visualization? Visit Hatnote’s other Wikipedia visualization projects.)

“The world is not in your books and maps. It’s out there.” – Gandalf The Grey, The Hobbit

If you’ve planned with a bit of daring, you’re going to go beyond what you know now, and you have a very good idea of what you want to happen next. That means you’re prepared to go beyond what you’re familiar with, and you’re okay with feeling lost at times, or completely out of your depth. The way it works is, information and inspiration can be found in books and maps, but the glory in true experience lies in going out and doing new things — which can have side effects of perspiration, vexation and indignation.

If you’re the nature-loving type and have a garden, or live close to nature, you’ll be familiar with the seasons and the effect they have on you and the environment. Think of living with your own garden. How do you prepare for and live with the seasons via your garden? Avid green-thumbs know that good gardens don’t sprout overnight. They need planning, good preparation, and consistent care so they can reach their full potential, whether it’s sweetly scented blooms, a riot of color, or food for your table.

Imagine a garden mentally…what do you want in it? What do you want from it? Continue reading Things Don’t Happen In A Vacuum: The New Year And You

Getting Ready for Next Year: Mapping Your Course

20 December 2013, by A. Cedilla

Have you written down your plans for next year?

Having a plan in mind is better than having no plan at all.

Even better is writing it down — doing that sets your mind free; you’re free to work things out and play with how the different factors and players could work together for the best outcome, and free to aim for the best results while planning back-ups (just in case things fall through at certain weak points). If you have a good idea of what you want and need to make happen in 2014, write it down. You need a map to navigate next year. And by ‘map’ I don’t mean a to-do list. Those are relatives, the close cousins of what I’m talking about.

By ‘map’ I really mean goals. With no goals and no direction, your chances of influencing events to your favor go down, and you’ll likely get what you’re getting now. Are you truly okay with what you have now?

Things won’t change on their own. Situations may develop differently, but if you don’t actively take charge to protect your own interests and make the change, if you don’t act to change the situation you’re in, it won’t happen.

In connection with last week’s article and your plans for a whole new year, drawing up a map means getting your bearing and your direction. ‘Bearing’ is where you are in relation to something else. In travel terms, this means knowing where you are, and marking that down as a starting point. As in a place to start from. Getting your bearing gives you Point A. Direction is where you want to be at the end of the process.

You decide the points B,C, D, etc. from there until you hit your intended goal, which is a better place for you– that may or may not include improved Points A, B,C, D, etc. — or a better situation for you still at Point A. It’s your map, it’s your choice. Continue reading Getting Ready for Next Year: Mapping Your Course

Planning The Year Ahead: Use Good Questions to Get Good Results

13 December 2013, by A. Cedilla

One way to getting good results is, oddly enough, to ask good questions. You can easily start off with the simplest ones: the answers to what, why, when, how and where bridges the gap between good intentions and actual results.

Try to remember what your New Year’s resolutions were from last year. Did any of them make it, and if they did, how did you go about it?

  • What were the things that you aimed for? How many did you get?
  • Why did you choose those things? Towards what end did getting these things change your life? What aspects of your life were they concerned with? (i.e financial, physical, educational, relationships, self-improvement, etc.)
  • When did you want them, time-wise? How realistically did you allot time towards each goal, and what did your estimates show you about yourself?
  • How was the experience like? How did you keep going until you made it? What resources and support did you use or get?
  • Where are you in your life now with these things? How did you measure the improvement before and after you attained your goals? How much did it make a difference for you? Are you willing to do it again with the new skills you’ve learned for next year?

Seeing what you did this year, what about next year? What new way of scaring yourself are you willing to try so you can push yourself past old boundaries and the limits of what you think you can do? Continue reading Planning The Year Ahead: Use Good Questions to Get Good Results

Looking Back While Planning Forward

10 July 2013, by A. Cedilla

It’s been quite a while since the start of the year — heck, even the start of the second quarter– so it’s definitely about time to take a few steps back, set aside a few hours or an afternoon, and see how you’re really doing, and perhaps getting some pen and paper handy for catching ideas.

So…what’s up? Have you accomplished significant changes in your life at this point? Paid off debts, got certified, made more contacts in the industry, got your blood pressure down, or fulfilled a significant personal goal?

Take a look at what you’ve been doing for the past half-year. In the daily rush it’s often difficult to pay attention to the direction things are going unless we take time to step back and assess the bigger picture. We need time to pass before we can get enough data-points, or tally up enough events, or get enough real-life information on which to make an accurate, contextually-based assessment of what’s going on.

(And you do this how?) Continue reading Looking Back While Planning Forward

What Are You Building With Your Actions?

26 April 2013, by A. Cedilla

Why do you do the things you do?

You have your own particular interests, goals and desires. You believe that what you’re doing with what you have right now is the best option you have to get you most of what you need, and at least some of what you want.

What makes you do you do the things you do in a particular way?

Your personal history, character and experiences: each of us have our own preferences, dislikes, abilities and priorities, which affect how we carry on with our lives. Energy levels and moods can influence us as well.

When you take the time to think about it, what are you actually building with your chosen actions?

A safety net, a solid foundation, a launch-pad towards a better future…or maybe something to do to get by until a better option comes along? All those things are different ways to describe you growing your life, really.

 

Life isn’t never as neat and easy as 1-2-3 or A-B-C. We do stuff, and stuff also happens. X, P, Q and T get thrown in unexpectedly. Someone throws in (x-y)3 over (y+r) and screws up the nicely plotted equation for yourself that meant X years at Y job equals OK, or Z months doing PX90 equals YOWZA.

Aside from that, you juggle a lot of plates, all depending on the roles you occupy in your life. Dad, student, CEO, teacher, aunt, cousin, friend, mentor, leader…

Simply put, we do things our own way for our own reasons. The commonality though, is that we all do things to gain or build something: A sense of security. An emergency fund. Feelings of victory, meaning and accomplishment. Financial ease and freedom. You work to improve your skills and better your circumstances. A lot of times it’s to explore your passions. These actions layer on one another much like different colors in a painting, or the myriad pieces that complete a mosaic. Take a few steps back and get a good look: Are you okay with the bigger picture?
Continue reading What Are You Building With Your Actions?