Would the world be different if we took the time to practice more gratitude and appreciation? If we sent a little “Thank You” note to the neighbor who helped us out, or to the friend who was there for us in an hour of need; if we sent a “thinking of you” note to someone we have not connected with in a while.
Do you smell the roses? Do you take time, a minute here and a minute there, to inhale the beauty around us, and to digest our beautiful world in which every single creature has its own, important place?
I read about a film called “365 Grateful” that is being produced. It has a website; in the introductory video, Hailey, a young woman, is smiling, laughing, and full of happiness and gratitude. The first thing to notice about it is a big, huge smile, and the sounds of a good belly laugh!
In 2008, Hailey was fighting depression. She was wondering how she could help herself, and decided to look at life positively, one day at a time. For 365 days, on each day, she took a photograph of something she felt grateful for, a beautiful bird, a book she was given, a picture, a flower, the beach. Can you imagine how difficult this must have been for her to do while she was suffering from depression?
Over the following months, Hailey slowly became better; not only did she improve physically, her entire life changed!
When I was sitting on the pub’s patio, enjoying an evening of talk, good food and a nice, cold beer one evening, a bit further on, a couple, both of them ignorant of their surroundings, was typing on their Blackberry’s. It looked as if they were texting each other. I was inclined to think that they had lost the ability to speak. Even after their dinner arrived, one of them continued texting.
Many of us have made phone calls while sitting in a restaurant, or sent text messages; I admit it, I am guilty too. We race through life in a constant bubble of noise: cars tooting their horns, music everywhere … boom, boom, boom; people shouting. We hammer on our phones’ keyboards as if our life depended on it; so many obligations, and we are conditioned to respond to all demands – immediately please!
Our world is not going to fall apart if we take time for ourselves, just a wee bit every day. Let’s sit in the garden, deeply inhaling the smell of a beautiful flower; listen to a bird chirping a song for us, or give a big smile to someone we don’t know. Let’s open our hearts to our beautiful world in gratefulness.
We are the designers of our own life; let’s live it consciously, with appreciation of the beauty that is around us, and compassion.
I would love to hear how you escape the hectic of your life. Do you take time to smell the roses?
Where is your business headed this year? What are your goals, and how are you planning to achieve them?
I attended a networking event at e-Spot the other day. These events usually attract anywhere from 4 to around 20 people. I love such small group events, which allow us to learn so much about each other’s business. Every time Grace Attard, coach, owner and proud founder of e-Spot, comes prepared with an exercise for us.
This time we were asked to do a ‘Visioning Structure.’ The exercise left me with a strong vision of my business, and my goals. Grace has graciously allowed me to share the visioning structure with you.
Think about each of the following sentences and fill in the blanks (not every sentence is necessarily applicable to your business.)
- …my company is known for
- …my organization is doing
- …my clients are saying
- …my suppliers are saying
- …the market the company serves counts on my company for
- …my company is changing lives by
Once you have completed the sentences, choose ONE business action that you have not been doing, and which would help you realize our vision. Then, commit to doing this one action repeatedly.
My action for this year is to invest in continuous education.
What is your ONE action that would bring your business close to your vision?
I admit it, I am guilty. I am a very organized person when it comes to anything work-related. But …. my personal filing, bookkeeping, and organization leave a lot to be desired. It’s been like this for years, and my husband keeps on asking what’s wrong and why can I not apply the same principles to my personal affairs that I apply to my business.
I think I finally got it figured out. See, I am a member at e-Spot, a local networking place with a twist. E-Spot offers not only networking, but an office away from home for anyone who needs to work in peace. Free WiFi, tables to spread papers out on, comfy chairs, ready-made coffee invite us to come on out. Or, if the lone business owner working from home is wanting contact, e-Spot is the place to go for a chat, a laugh, or to attend one of the many wokshops and groups offered.
I joined one of these groups a few weeks back, the ‘Accountability Group For Business.’ There were about eight of us, and founder/owner of e-Spot, Grace Attard. Everyone in the group talked about a challenge he or she is facing, and when it came to be my turn, I brought up my business/personal organization mismatch. Lots of advice poured from the members of the group, but what really had an impact was the advice to ‘become your own client.’ I realized then that it’s a matter of my mindset.
As small business owners we do not look at our personal/private to do list as being important. Anything to do with business is much more important as that’s what brings in the money. Consequently, bank statements pile up without being reconciled, mail that arrives gets opened but not dealt with etc. What happens is that our offices get cluttered, and at some point we start feeling totally overwhelmed by the pile of papers that needs to be dealt with. That’s exactly what happened to me.
I followed the group’s advice and have started adding ‘client Beatrice’ to my agenda. Looking at myself as a client generated a shift in my thinking and makes me look at the necessity of organizing my ‘stuff’ as important as work for my clients. This new mindset helps me plan my day in a more productive way. So far I have cleaned out and re-organized my closet, threw out one full garbage bag of ‘stuff’ that is not needed, and next items on the list are (1) filing of all papers that do not need any action followed by (2) updating my personal bookkeeping with reconciliations and filing of statements. It doesn’t sound much, but believe you me, it’s quite a bit.
I have committed to having this done by the end of the year and I cannot wait. I feel so much better already. The actions I have finished already made space for new things to come into my life. I wonder what’ll happen once I am done with updating and have cleaned and cleared out.
How do you keep track of your personal to do list, do you assign time slots, or are you like I was and put everything at the end of the list?
A few weeks ago, I attended a group coaching call with the famous Stacy Brice, entrepreneur and founder of AssistU. I enjoy these calls tremendously, and Stacy’s insights and advice are very genuine, and informative. Many questions were asked, and one area that was talked about was how to attract and reach our target markets.
When I reflected on the call later, networking came to my mind. I love networking, and am involved in various networking groups.
What do we need to do in order for someone to remember us as a person, what we do, and what we are looking for?
Our networking associates can only generate good referrals if they have in-depth knowledge of our businesses. I learned just recently that, statistically, 88% of our networks do not know enough about our businesses in order to create a good referral. Only the remaining 12% have the mindset to do so.
What defines this mindset? The answer is that we, as business owners, do not express our message clearly. People do not understand what we do, how we do it, and what we need. We do not ask for help.
People love to help, but we need to express our need to them. We need to state very clearly what we are looking for to grow our business.