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Leaders Cry Too

Leaders are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, spouses, lovers, partners, daughters, sons, friends and neighbors. When you are a leader, and have been chosen or deemed as “the one”, often that title comes with some hefty spoken and unspoken expectations.

One is expected to be:
Calm, generous, innovative, supportive,
honest, empathic, non-judgmental, a good listener, willing to work with others, resilient, motivated, courageous, and most importantly, don’t let them see you sweat.

Well, that’s a very tall order for even the most in tune, turned on, and tapped in leader. Leaders sometimes need the same support from followers that is expected of them.

The sad part is that many leaders don’t have the internal or external support systems needed to effectively be okay with failure. Okay, yes, I said the F word, failure.

Recently, I had to ask friends for money to help with my business expenses (rent, gas, pocket money). It was a humbling experience. I am use to being the one coming to the rescue, not the one being rescued.

All of those leadership words and mantras came into my head: be strong, be resilient, and be creative. The truth was that at that time, I just needed to be still, feel the pain of my set back, and recognize that I am complete and whole despite my circumstances.

Believe me, that is not how it felt.  I am grateful and thankful that my friends came through for me.

Yes, I am a leader and I possess the qualities of leadership, but I am also a human being. I make mistakes; have failures, disappointments, and heartbreaks.

I am learning to be comfortable in my uncomfortability even when others are not and expect me to be and feel differently.

Leadership is about owning your feelings and emotions. One doesn’t have to stay stuck in the rain, but must recognize that rainy days exist.

Leaders cry too.

We Need Creative Business Leaders

Today, more than ever before, there’s a need for strong leadership. There’s a call for leaders in our country and the world to break the mode of conformity and embrace and merge the theories of emotional intelligence with creativity in a way that will change how we do business.

Creativity is the ability to invent new ideas, solutions and processes that are original or that build upon existing ideas for the purpose of improving and innovating them. The shift from industrialism and workplace theories based upon the philosophy of production and strict adherence to standardization has taken place. Today’s workforce requires and demands an entirely new set of skills and mindset. Creativity, critical thinking, collaborative team building, and communication competencies are the new characteristics and traits of leaders.

Ken Robinson* offers nine principles of leadership to bring out the best skills and talents of a workforce. His principles also work as strategies for recruiting and retaining the best and brightest minds.  Of his nine, the three principles that resonate the most with me are…

Principle 1: Everyone has creative potential. No longer is it expected that ideas are only generated from top management. In today’s leading edge and competitive markets, everyone in the company is expected to be a source of innovation and creativity. From mail room employees, front desk office staff, production teams, middle management and executive leadership, companies that understand the value of human capital are developing opportunities for their workforce to activate and launch great ideas.

Principle 3: We can all learn to be more creative. Creativity is a characteristic that requires practical skill building and as a result can be taught and nurtured. This principle can provide opportunities and reasons to mentor staff and ensure that each staff is performing the tasks which are a right fit for them. Creating an atmosphere and philosophy of creativity can build a trust and self-efficacy that encourages everyone to do their best and contribute to the betterment of the team.

Principle 4: Creativity thrives on diversity. This principle reiterates the idea that it takes a group of individuals who have individual differences yet share a common goal to create teams that lessen the chance of group think and stagnation. Diversity consists of many factors such as gender, age, sexual orientation, cultural background, ethnicity, nationality, personal background, work experience, education, expertise and other factors. This principle is: Diversity is the mother of invention, and Fortune 100 companies such as Google, Pixar, and Facebook continue to lead by example.

These leadership principles are useful for me in my business coaching practice. As I interact with staff, clients and peers, I’m able to incorporate ideas and concepts that enhance creativity and flow for them. As a consultant and workshop facilitator (and in group work), I’m able to incorporate creativity, cultural diversity, collaboration, and leadership into my presentations. Most importantly, I’m able to becoming a more effective change agent and educator because of the knowledge and resources I’m incorporating daily into both my personal and professional life.

* Robinson, Ken; Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative; Westford, MA: Capstone Publishing Ltd. (2011).

If you’re ready to make positive changes in your business or career, I recommend that you give coaching a try.

Creating Stress-Free Holidays

Learning to Create Stress-Free Holiday Seasons

This time of year with retailers chiming their cash registers and holiday music playing, expectations are high for a Merry Christmas.  It is so easy to get distracted if we are not focused on who we are or why we are here.

We want Christmas to look like it does on TV shows, to favor all the Christmas songs we hear on the radio, and to reflect what we see on the movie screen.  The reality for many can be different than the expectation.  For some odd reason, this time of year is supposed to magically transform us from mundane, ordinary, routine individuals into warm, caring, generous people who love everyone we meet.

News flash… If those characteristics of love, warmth, caring and generosity are not a part of what we represent throughout the year, they won’t magically appear around Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve.  No matter how much tinsel, glitter and sparkle we display, if our spirit and heart are not filled with love all the time then the holidays are just a show.  And, as a result, they will likely create more stress in our lives.

So I have a few questions and tips that will help you create a stress-free holiday season.  Begin by asking yourself these questions:

  • What are my goals and expectations for the holidays?
  • Are they realistic?
  • Am I or are those in my circle feeling pressured to spend money I or they don’t have?
  • Do material items equal caring?

When evaluating stress, here are 10 tips to consider:

  1. Don’t expect people to be who they are not.  If they’re a grouch during the year, they are probably going to remain a grouch during the holidays.
  2. Keep realistic expectations of how you manage your time and money during the holidays.  Take care of yourself.
  3. Is your focus on building relationships? If so, write down some steps you willing to take to be more loving or caring.
  4. Be aware of who the retailers are marketing to and why.  This is their biggest season to make money but it Beat Holiday Stressdoesn’t need to be your season to spend.
  5. Don’t keep up with the Jones’.  Just because someone else has the latest and greatest gadget doesn’t mean that you need to have it, too.  Jones may be mortgaging their home to keep up appearances or their finances may be different from yours.  Match your intentions to your short and long-term goals.
  6. Be grateful for what you have is one of the quickest ways to reduce stress and elevate your sense of peace.  Pay attention to your feelings by asking the question, “Is what I’m doing or thinking of doing making me feel good or making me feel stressed?”  If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.
  7. Find a support group where people will validate the authentic you and allow you to work on yourself at your own pace.  This is helpful throughout the year.  It helps build self-esteem while you’re able to work out difficult situations in a safe and loving environment.  You’re able to develop skills for reducing stress and increasing happiness.
  8. Remember that happiness is what we all want in our lives and that it’s an inside job.  This means it’s important to find quiet-time to let go of worries and problems of the day.  Reserve 10, 30 or 45 minutes a day… find what works for you.  Some people call this meditation time or prayer but it doesn’t matter what you call it, only that you take the time to develop the practice of it.  Set clear and deliberate intentions or goals.  Believe that they can happen.  We we say we believe they can happen, it means that we have a passion or desire that matches our energy level.  Move out of the way and allow the universe, God, the creator to allow your dreams to manifest.
  9. When we understand that we are deliberate co-creators with the universe, then and only then can we truly begin to feel at peace with our past, present and future life situations.  Holidays become symbols and representations of how we live our lives throughout the year.  No unrealistic expectations have to develop because we understand that life is about the relationships we develop and the love we allow to flourish in our lives and in the lives of others around us.
  10. Focus on being healthy.  Love yourself throughout the holiday season and every day because when you don’t feel good about yourself and your situation, it will be difficult to be happy and loving to others.

 

With coaching, you can better explore the possibilities in your life and career, I recommend that you give life coaching a try.

 

 

Outside Your Comfort Zone?

Are You Willing to Come Outside Your Comfort Zone?

 

I had two interesting experiences this week.  I was at the shopping mall with my oldest daughter to take care of some business regarding the purchase of a generic-brand refrigerator that didn’t work.  We were at the store making arrangements to have the defective refrigerator picked up, and to trade up to a name-brand model.  I didn’t want a replacement.

While the appliance store was processing our order through their corporate department, we were told it would take about 20 minutes and that we could walk around the mall. For several months, my daughter had been complaining of discomfort and pain when wearing her fashionable tennis shoes to walk or run.  I thought this would be a great time to check out a few sporting goods stores that sell shoes, and she agreed.

We went to three sports stores.  She was looking for a certain brand and each store had different selections of this brand.  She was surprised at how much the shoes cost at each store.

She usually shops at thrift stores and discount chains.  My daughter is a mother-of-two and is truly on a budget.  I’m very proud of her management skills.  She and her children are always well-dressed.

I told her I would purchase the shoes for her.  She then told me all the reasons why I should not pay so much money for a pair of shoes.  Then the moment came when she put her feet into the shoes… it was truly a camera-shot moment.  She immediately felt the difference between the discount shoes that she wore for fashion’s sake and the all-purpose sport shoes that were designed for walking and running:  “Oh, they make my feet feel so good!!!”

“There are times when we must take care of ourselves and pay the price” for comfort, good health and well-being, I replied.

I meet many people who want to feel better, want to change their lives, want to learn new skills for improving their relationships.  But they don’t want to pay the price.  They’re stuck in their comfort zones and would rather stay in the pain of their current realities than risk doing anything differently.

How willing are you to come out of your comfort zone to try something new that may bring you years of satisfaction and contentment?  Life coaching is a process that challenges and guides individuals to get to the heart of what’s not working, and it helps you develop tools to change and to create the life you want.

The question that bears repeating is, “How willing are you to come outside of your comfort zone?”  Give coaching a try by clicking the red “Appointment” tab on the right of your screen.

By the way, my daughter is pain-free and enjoying her better shoes; and we’re enjoying the name-brand refrigerator which works like a charm.

 

If you’re ready to make positive changes in your life, I recommend that you give life coaching a try.

Must-Have iPhone Apps for Small Businesses

What Are the Must-Have iPhone Apps for Small Businesses?  Why?

by Guest Contributor Carlo Pandian

 

As you may have noticed, business and the world in general has gone decidedly mobile.  Never in the history of entrepreneurial competition has it been quite so easy to operate and manage a small or large business while on the move.

Gone are the days when entrepreneurs had to carry shoe-sized “mobile” phones around in suitcases or queue up outside of phone booths to make crucial calls.  Smartphones have changed everything, and business-oriented apps designed for the iPhone have had a particularly large impact.  Check out these iPhone apps and see how your own small business can be made more effective with these magic applications.

Dropbox is a completely free service which when installed on your iPhone will allow you to share files instantly with any other PCs or hand-held devices you specify by simply dragging them into the box.  It’s an effective replacement for emailing files, cutting out all the hassle of texting and attaching, and is one step closer to the telepathic ideal for sharing information of every kind instantly.

Business Card Reader: Business cards fly around when you’re out networking and they’re liable to get lost or jumbled up.  In any case, storing dozens of squares of paper in your wallet doesn’t quite fit in with the sleek modern business practice.  Enter Business Card Reader, a nifty and extremely convenient app that recognizes business cards and immediately stores all the contact details to your iOS address book.  It integrates easily with existing CRM software and LinkedIn.

My Biztracker is a completely free mobile app that lets users record details of business expenses and income as well as keep an eye on the progress of every invoice and receipt.  It was developed by Intuit to make business record-keeping easier for small business owners and freelancers.

KayakPro for the iPhone, is an especially useful app for business travelers, allowing them to quickly and effortlessly compare hotel, car rental and flight deals around the world.  Hotels can be booked straight into the app, flight statuses tracked, trip itineraries viewed and managed, and baggage fees checked.  It also includes a car and flight search function along with booking and flight-tracker capabilities.  It’s integrated with the My Trips app to place full business itineraries at the busy executive’s fingertips.

Feeddler is a powerful Google Reader, full customizable and fast, that syncs seamlessly with Google and uses a simple interface to present RSS feeds, enabling users to stay ahead of the game.

Other useful apps: Other handy iPhone applications include Evernote to ensure that you never forget anything; Calengoo for quick access to your Google calendar; and OmniFocus to grab your very thoughts and process them into can-do actions.

There’s also the innovative Documents To Go office suite for mobile devices, which allows the user to perform all the functionality — including PowerPoint, Word and sync tools — which were once the exclusive preserve of desktop PCs.

Carlo Pandian is a keen observer of the start-up world and has previously written for business blogs such as New Startups, Small Businesses Do It Better, and Under30CEO. Connect with him on Twitter @carlopandian

 

 

Your Life: Happiness is an Inside Job

This is Your Life

Finding happiness in this life can often be like finding a needle in a haystack.  Among the stress, pressure, daily activities and distractions that life brings, it can be difficult to know what happiness is.  Discovering what brings you joy can easily be placed on the bottom of your to-do list.  It is our responsibility to maintain our life balance and peace, and tranquility.  No other person or thing has the power to make us happy.

Happiness is an inside job.  This means that we have to do some serious work in our lives if we want to emerge and transform into our best selves.  Here are a few suggestions that have worked for me and for many of my clients who I have coached.

1.  Set an intention on how you want your day to unfold.

When your day begins, say out loud or silently to  yourself, “Today will be the best day of my life” or “I expect and receive miracles today and everyday” or “I believe that God wants the best for me and I accept all the good that life has to offer.”  Affirm greatness and positivity for your day and your life.

2.  Say a prayer or meditation of gratitude each and every day and night.

Prayer is a way of talking to God or the universe and declaring what it is you want.  Meditation is a way of listening for the answers.If you knew that you only had six months to live, what would you do?  Who are the people you would want to be around?  Answering these questions can give you a good idea of core values that may be important to you.  Being able to consciously recognize the people, places and things that make you happy, bring you joy, and make your life better is essential to living a happy life.

3.  Choose to focus on only the positive aspects of others you encounter, no matter how challenging it may be.

It can be very hard to deal with people and situations we perceive as negative and difficult.  It can make you feel vulnerable, powerless and sometimes insecure.  Developing emotional security is being able to recognize that we are all doing the best we can with the mental and spiritual resources we have.  We’re all at different levels in our growth and development.

As we work on ourselves and practice becoming the type of people we want to be around, negative people and situations begin to remove themselves from our lives and we develop healthier coping styles.

4.  Visualize your dreams, hopes and aspirations.  When you dream, make sure that your place your heart and soul into your belief that it can happen.

Visualization is the ability to give yourself permission to daydream about the things you want to become realities in your life.  Daydreaming is important because it lifts your energy and vibration to a higher frequency of manifestation.  It’s also a way to practice focusing on what you want more of, and less on what you don’t want.

It allows you to affirm what you want in picture form.

We learn by hearing, seeing, doing and feeling.  When we affirm our dreams, we speak them into existence with our words, we visualize them with our mind’s eye, we write them out with our hands, and we feel the sensation of what it’s like to have our dreams come true.  With practice, practice, practice, you are on your way to having the life you want.


With the help of a life coach, you can better explore your dreams and discover what makes you happy in your life and career.  You may want to give life coaching a try.  If you know you’re ready to make a positive change in your life or career, click the red “Appointment” button to the right to schedule your appointment with Certified Coach Katrina Jones.

Best Format for a Business Proposal?

What’s the Best Format for Your Proposal?

by Carlo Pandian

 

When it comes to a business proposal, you only have one chance to make a great first impression.  Your business proposal must win over the attention, minds and hearts of the clients, investors or partners you are pitching to.  It is crucial that you take the time to craft the perfect proposal so that they will not be able to resist.

Business-Proposal-Prosperity-Life-Coach-Katrina-Jones-Carlo-PandianWhat is the best format for your business proposal?  Should you present it on a website as a PDF or PowerPoint presentation?  What information should you include?  You want the proposal to really convince your audience, so what sort of details will make it stand out from the rest?

Do Something Original

One thing to keep in mind is that you want your business proposal to stand out from the rest.  Figure out what the conventionally accepted way of making a proposal is and then give yourself creative license to deviate from the norm.  Having a different approach will help you stand out and make people take notice.

However, it’s not enough to simply be weird and different for the sake of it.  You need to stand out and be bold in a way that’s memorable and that makes sense for the personality of your company.  Your bold and unique format might not work, but it’s better to try something original than playing it safe by making the same proposal as everyone else.

Whichever Format You Choose, Do It Well!

When you’re choosing a format for your business proposal, it’s less important which format you choose but rather how proficient you are at using it.  Some might say that PowerPoint is better than PDF, but a well-designed PDF is much better than a terrible PowerPoint presentation.

If you don’t have a lot of experience with a certain format, your business proposal will look clumsy and awkward, and it will not reflect well on your business.  Either hire someone who’s an expert in that medium or choose a format you know you can express yourself well in.

Perfect the Basics

No matter what format you use, the most important part of the business proposal is the meat inside.  Don’t get too caught up in thinking about the format of the proposal and forgetting about its purpose, which is to establish a dialogue with your readers.

Your business proposal needs to let the viewer know who you are, what your product is, why it meets their needs, why it will be beneficial, how much it costs and all other important details to back up your claims.  The right business proposal will establish all of this with your viewers, no matter what format it’s wrapped in.

What Should It Include?

When you make that killer business proposal, what should it put across to your audience?  Here are a few of the most important points that your business proposal should include:

  • Something amazing and exciting that grabs the reader’s attention and explains why your business is special.
  • Highlight the problem that your product or service addresses.  It should be a real problem that everyone in the room can relate to.
  • Once you’ve identified the problem, you need to explain to the audience how you’ve come up with the perfect solution to the problem.
  • Your business proposal should also include statistics that elaborate on the problem, in order to illustrate it in detail.
  • What is your USP or Unique Selling Proposition?  This is what gives your product or service an edge over everyone else and makes you stand out.
  • You should also include information about your management team, to show your investors that they can trust your experience and skills.
  • A crucial ingredient to include is your financial projections.  You should be able to show how your money will be managed.  You could use small business accounting software, like QuickBooks by Intuit, to make these sort of projections.
  • Last but not least, you’ll want to make a clear request, whether it’s a sale, investment, loan or some other type of partnership you’re seeking.

Contributed by Carlo Pandian, freelance writer interested in small business and start-ups.  You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

 

If you’re ready to make positive changes for your future, I recommend that you give business or life coaching a try.

Wealth Building by Changing

Does money slip through your hands like water? If you’re like millions of others, money seems to leave you faster than it comes. You get your paycheck and before you know it, the money is gone and you don’t have anything to show for it. 

There are many reasons that can lead to feeling like your money is not working for you.  To name a few, it could be:

  • ·         Lack of discipline
  • ·         Feelings of entitlement
  • ·         Values
  • ·         Unexpected expenses
  • ·         Feelings of despair
  • ·         Irresponsibility
  • ·         Loss of income
  • ·         Poor impulse control
  • ·         Lack of knowledge
  • ·         Learned behavior

These are just a few suggestions that might lead to change:

  • ·         Learn to prioritize
  • ·         Ask for help
  • ·         Take responsibility for your choices
  • ·         Change the way you think
  • ·         Credit counseling
  • ·         Direct deposit (savings)
  • ·         Mentoring (get one)
  • ·         Pray (connect to a higher power)
  • ·         Get out of denial
  • ·         Coaching (get a coach for accountability)
  • ·         Be humble
  • ·         Apply what you learn

Debt, credit and money management problems don’t happen overnight and they won’t go away overnight.  Take the time and make the investment for coaching, mentoring, and credit counseling…  because knowledge is power and once you have it, no one can take it from you.   There’s a saying that goes “if you want something different, you have to do something different.”  Learning how to think, act and produce prosperous results in your life is a skill and art. 

Make a decision to do what it takes to change your world and have the life you want.

With coaching, you can better explore the possibilities in your life and career, I recommend that you give life coaching a try.

Leaders Dilemma: Stress or Not

To Stress or Not to Stress. That is the Question.

 

As a business owner — responsible for the bottom line of my business’ growth, performance and profits — it has often been difficult for me to stay balanced, hold my composure and let things go.

As a business leader — creating a healthy sense of self-efficacy, vision and released momentum — it has been a journey. I have often needed to go within to face my fears, encourage myself, move forward (not knowing what’s ahead), and to do an inventory of my strengths and weaknesses.

I have chosen to focus on what I consider to be my strengths.  I am learning to be honest about my weaknesses and when necessary I collaborate, partner and hire others who excel in areas I do not.

How I feel about myself and my situation, how I perceive going forward, and my ability to pick and choose what I will let go of (and the lessons I take with me) will determine my success.  These are 10 tips that help me along my journey and I offer them to you:

  1. Find reasons in the present to be grateful.  Don’t focus on what’s wrong, but focus on what’s right and what needs to happen to increase what is working.
  2. Ask yourself, “What’s within my control? My behavior? How I plan?”
  3. Take time out for self-care.  Exercise three to four times a week, meditate or go to your favorite peaceful place weekly.  This helps decrease stress and increases your oxygen flow and natural energy levels.
  4. Create a plan (personal and professional) on paper, then refer to it often (weekly, monthly and quarterly).  Your plan will keep you on task and motivated when things get hectic and your vision gets cloudy.
  5. Be flexible.  Always remember that things change, people change, situations change.
  6. Don’t beat yourself up for making decisions that don’t work out.  The best plans sometimes fail.  Failure isn’t a permanent condition unless you make it so.
  7. Keep your intentions pure.  People listen to your heart as well as your words, and watch your actions.  When your intentions are pure, you’re better equipped to use words of wisdom like, “I appreciate you, I’m sorry, thank you, you’re welcome.”  Also, you’re more mindful about what comes out of your mouth as well as what you choose to meditate upon.  This is Emotional Intelligence.
  8. Respond to yourself and others in love.  What you put out in energy will come back to you in equal force.  Step back and take time out when necessary.  Sometimes saying Yes to yourself requires saying No to others.
  9. When things don’t work out (and it happens), allow yourself to grieve your losses.
  10. Stress causes an inability to think clearly.  Our emotional gauge stays on flight or fight.  Over time, this can cause its own set of problems.  Remember that letting go is not a sign of weakness but is character strength.  It is in letting go that we allow healing to begin.

With guided, professional coaching, you can better explore the possibilities in your life and career.  Consider giving life coaching a try.

My McLeod Interview: Perceptionology is Reality

I recently interviewed Donald Wayne McLeod of Perceptionology on my radio program. He is an incredible speaker, business man and person.  His lectures capture the nuances that are quintessential for building sincere lasting relationships that will develop your network, grow your business, and benefit you personally, professionally and financially.

During our interview, Donald stressed the importance of building interpersonal relationships. I believe he has developed a blueprint that will engage and inspire others, and that will help you excel.

How you are perceived is your reality. Listen to my “Positively Affirmative” program, as we learn how to make friends and influence people using Perceptionology:

Listen to internet radio with KatrinaJones on BlogTalkRadio

With coaching, you can better explore the possibilities in your life and career, I recommend that you give life coaching a try.