Posts Tagged ‘business’

[Spotlight] Change Agent #44 Dossier – Stephanie Gunning Changing the World…One Book at a Time!

May 19, 2010

Maria:  Stephanie thanks for being part of this series highlighting people who are out there being a Change Agent in the world.  This segment is really about helping people meet and understand how others are actively being a catalyst for change in the world by the way they working; either in a very direct way or simply by the way they are “being” in the world.  My intention for this series of [Spotlight] segments is to share how everyday people can and do make a difference!

You are a book consultant, editor and peace activist. An amazing combination of ingredients!  Can you tell me a little bit about how this all came about?

Stephanie: I always had a love of books: as adventures, experiences and expressions.  Books have been my friends, my companion and inspiration for years. No matter what is happening currently in the publishing world, there is nothing like opening up a book and smelling the print, opening the spine and entering into the experience that the author offers you.  I just loved them and still do.

The point being when I was 8 years old I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t know any writers and I certainly didn’t know anything about editing. I grew up and that was always my dream. I went to college and still didn’t know any editors. – I was still to shy to write for the newspaper. I wrote one article for the newspapers. I was confused when I graduated.  I had a job working with autistic kids for the last 2 summer in college.

Maria: So what was the turning point for you?

Stephanie: Eventually, I ended up getting offered a job at Harper Collins – Harper & Row at the time. That job was very entry level. There was something very fantastic about it. I was hired as the assistant to the managing editor. That hub of the wheel includes production, editorial and business. This woman was the traffic cop between all departments. This was prior to computers being introduced to publishing in a modest way.

I was this shy super intelligent girl who people would forget I was in the room. So people would say stuff around me.  They would always say the most amazing things.  I learned about inventory systems, budgets, production management and cover design. When I was finally promoted to work with an executive editor who is renounced editors in the field. I worked for him for 9 years.

Maria:  This sounds like an incredibly opportunity to really get a solid foundation for your work!

Stephanie:
Yes! I took all the attitudes I’ve developed in my first job and used it to frame my work. I began with this more global thought of editing than others had and advanced rapidly.  I left HC in 1995 when I was head hunted by Bantam Double Day Dell because I put a previously self published book on the best seller list “Mutant Messages Down Under” by Marlow Morgan.  It was a book that followed on the heels of “Celestine Prophecy”.

Having seen this massive marketing successful campaign that hit 4 or 5 on the best seller.  I was a rising star and recruited to start a list of health and spirituality books at Dell at age 32. Which is very young!

Maria:  Amazing Steph! So what caused you to leave your glamorous career with prestigious traditional publishing houses and venture out on your own?

I saw that publishers would entice authors with promises of all kinds of marketing. It wasn’t that marketing wasn’t done. But it felt that the author was a secondary author in the process. I felt so personally aligned with the writers and creates. They were the people that excited me. Discussing with me what they are doing for marketing.  I was already consulting my authors on the inside, rather than on the outside.

It was the sensibility of the authors that I wanted to improve.  I had an epiphany.  I realized that I would “Love this idea, love this author” and there’s something they cannot do for themselves that I can do!  I became a ghostwriter then I became a marketing expert.  It was through wanting to market my own projects that I discovered I was really good at it.

Maria:  Now you’re working with people as a book consultant and editor.  What kind of material/projects do you enjoy working on and why”?

I work with spirituality, new thought, complimentary or integrative medicine and self-help.  My bestseller authors are Greg Braden (“The Spontaneous Healing of Beliefs” and the “Divine Matrix”) and Hal Dwoskins (“The Sedona Method” also Hal appeared in “The Secret”).  People in those categories gravitate to me because of my past experience and they understand my personal interests related to spirituality.

One of the defining points for me to say YES to working on a project has to do with very much it’s originality and also with the sense of that person having a clear mission in the world: to contribute something of lasting value.

Maria: Why is that mission and need for lasting value important?

I believe we’re all called to something and you know you’re calling because it lights a fire in your belly. You feel more excited and happy when you think about it.  It’s pretty much effortless for you. It’s your talent and calls forth from you what you’re to do. I have an ability that is innate to me, to look at a person and know their higher potential. And even to see some of the steps in between that are blocking them.  To hold that vision for that person.  To be their companion as they step forward to their calling. I believe my calling is creative.  When I say creative I mean I believe life and everything in the world is a creative process and if you remove obstacles all you get is creativity and expansion.

Maria:  We’re talking about books that change the world.

Yes, which means you move beyond the problem. If disease, poverty or hatred were eliminated n the other side of these problems would be the state of interactive dynamic web of life, which we’d all be participants and our full value, would be expressed. With each person living on their purpose.

If I can affect 1 writer then I can affect millions.  I see that as my work, as a powerful influencer…on a good day. LOL

Maria:  You’re basically interweaving this personal growth and development in order to create peace in the world.  But you also have a specific peace project that you developed with millionaire entrepreneur Richard Aronow called “Stop Thinking Now”.

This is an annual program that we developed to be held on Gandhi’s birthday.

In 2006 I met a capital investor named Richard Aronow, who runs his business according to spiritual principles, we decided we wanted to do a book together. Every time we spoke we just laughed and laughed and felt uplifted. And we realized that both of us had the same kind of conversation with other people. There are certain kinds of conversation that uplift people. It occurred to us that we could create a certain kind of conversation to uplift the world. The way to do that is to uplift people one at a time.

Drawing on my vast contacts in publishing we put together a free 30 day home study course on the internet http://www.stopthinkingnow.com to teach people different tools and tech by which they could be more peaceful within themselves. Mediation is one way. It’s not the only thing we teach.

Maria: So this becomes your way of bringing profound change and peace into the world.

Yes to live beyond the problems.

Now I have a vision of gathering a thousand or more writers who are changing the world for the better. To gather these people together for a common purpose: peace and creativity in the world.

Maria:  What’s coming up?

My new book “You Are a Spirit” is coming out on May 19th: http://www.stephaniegunning.com/booklaunch/ With the launch comes a lot of really amazing gifts for people who purchase the book on the launch date. So I suggest people take advantage of this right away.  I’m extremely excited about this project! There will be a series of events and workshops.  I will be in Denver and Massachusetts to talk about “Think Out” and spiritual publishing.

Maria: You spoke at the UN recently! I was honored to be there!  What was that like for you?

It was great!
I realized that I have a lot to say and offer. It helped me to organize my thoughts.  It felt like an affirmation that I was on the right track in combining research on brain science with quantum science and metaphysics. I felt like I was really getting at the heart of what I am here to do and teach people.

Maria: If people want to learn more about you and follow you how do they do that?

GetaBookDealCoach.com
StopThinkingNow.com
StephanieGunning.com
@audaciouseditor on Twitter
Fan page on FB: Get A Book Deal

Something people might be interested to know if that my spiritual practice of the moment is tango! LOL

Maria: Why?

For the sense of connection to another person. For the sense of presence. You always know your current condition when you’re dancing with a partner. Because you can’t actually stay on balances and move fluidly in connection with another person unless you’ve found your center.

Maria: That’s a great metaphor! LOL

Stephanie thank-you for sharing what you do, why you do it and HOW you do it with everyone here today.  You’re truly inspirational to many people out there in the world.

It’s my pleasure!

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A Lesson from Winnie Ho: The Art of “Being” in Business

February 15, 2010

Winnie Ho is a petite Chinese woman in her late forties who works for a large company in Hong Kong.  I would regularly go to Hong Kong to work with our vendor base – Winnie was my partner at these meetings helping me to navigate language and business pitfalls.

On one particular trip I was in a fully distorted arrogant state.  Just 31 and doing my best to pretend I knew it all.  We’d been given the bad news that something I had wanted to do with a specific vendor was no longer possible at the price that had been agreed to. In front of the vendors management team I simply said “no, the price is nonnegotiable” and walked away from the bargaining table.  I was the customer after all.  Full of my own self-importance I refused to budge an inch.

Later in the office that evening Winnie, her boss Estella and I were going over the situation.  I was really mad.  I couldn’t go back to the head office with this news. It would cost us a lot of money.  I continued to explain this to Winnie & Estella.  Then Winnie tells me that they are willing to hold the price if I am willing to accept an increase on another project that had not been confirmed as yet.  That would help both of us to get what we wanted. Fair enough.

I was livid.  There was no way I was going to do that and let her know in my very animated manner that this was completely unacceptable. Allowing me time to express myself, she then quietly and gently walked up to me and placed her hand on my forearm.  Which caused me to quiet down immediately.

She tilted her head and said “Maria, the world is round.” Smiling at me. “Do you understand?”

“What is she talking about?” I thought.

I paused and responded “Do you mean to say that what goes around comes around?”

Winnie shakes her head no. “The world is a circular place Maria. Where you choose to enter the circle is a reflection of your character.”

This made the pit of my stomach fall to the ground.  My mouth gaped open. “Where do you choose to enter the circle here?” She smiled and walked away.

The lesson that Winnie taught me is that one must look at who we are being in the world and enter from a point of giving, understanding and compassion.  Rather than only thinking about getting what we want. It is the ability to enter the circle from an attitude of abundance being on the “offensive” rather than entering the circle in a state of lack and self-serving which is a “defensive” stance.  No partnerships or relationships can be built on defensive sand. If they are, they are unhealthy and lack stability.

This bit of wisdom has stayed with me for more than 15 years.  I hear her sweet words and feel her warm smile.  It is at those times I am reminded to consider who I am being in the world.  Realizing that the words I choose and the actions I take are a reflection of my character.  In the Chinese culture the word “character” means values and the metal of which you are made.

Where do you choose to enter the circle today?

All That Glitters is Not Gold: Bright Shiny Object Syndrome

January 21, 2010

Have you ever felt like there was a landslide of opportunities that all of a sudden appeared?  You look left and you can choose to take the opportunities on that pathway.  Then you look right and there are other choices.  But in front of you, just in front of your nose, there is a basket full of other opportunities.  They all look exciting – each is a beautiful shiny gem.  Each gleam with possibility!  You are blinded for a moment in sheer amazement at what’s before you.

This can be especially powerful if you have just come out of a dry spell when nothing in your world seemed to be moving.  We’ve all experienced being in what I like to call the “incubation” period where you are regrouping and reconsidering much of your business and personal life.  This is the precursor to having a major shift.  It’s the time when you are making decision about what you really want and desire.

During a session with a client recently, she was saying things such as:

“This door has opened for me….
That person called me to be on a TV show….
I have an editor banging on my door….
There is an opportunity for a new product off shoot and packaging idea….
But I also have this chance to collaborate with another professional woman to launch another arm of my business…..
I was thinking I could do…..and maybe I could also start…”

After a deep breathe, we both laughed.

“Wow” I said, “you’re going to be really busy again. “Again” being the operative word, as her previous pace nearly put her in an early grave at 38 years old.

Is this what you want?”  There was a long pause.
“No, I want my life.  But I also want professional success. I love my work! How do I balance this?  How do I choose when I want to do all of them?”

The most important thing to know is that there are always a lot of opportunities in front of you.  It’s just a matter of being open to seeing them.  There is never a shortage.

There may be times the PAUSE button may be on while you regroup and rest.  As a culture we underestimate the importance of this period. So you will never miss out on anything – really truly, you can’t miss out! The opportunity may reappear in a different form later down the line. It’s all about being courageous enough to take it when it arrives.  So stop rushing around like a chicken with your head cut off.  That’s just a scarcity mindset rearing its ugly head.

However, what’s important is that you’re ruthless about how you decide to spend your time.  Be sure what you choose to do is in alignment with your goals – short term and long term.  But prioritize!

While some projects may seem fun or interesting if they are not in alignment with your end goal you might want to pass on them and focus on what will get you where you want to go.  The only exception to this is if your gut is telling you it’s something you really need to take a look at.  You never know what can come of it.

Keep dreaming but stay focused on your goals otherwise you’re liable to get distracted by all those bright shiny objects around you!

Truth, Transparency & New Values for Business in 2010

January 7, 2010

Over the New Years holiday I was able to watch some TV.  Not a favorite pastime of mine but occasionally I will watch.  Truth be told the thing I enjoy most about it are the commercials.  Yes, it’s true.  I absolutely love a great commercial!

I’ve noticed a trend.  Have you?

Dominos Pizza launched a new campaign showing the feedback from a real life focus group.  One woman scrunches up her nose and says “the crust tastes like cardboard” and another comments included “the sauce tastes like ketchup” and “there’s no love in Dominos pizza.” The CEO Patrick Doyle appears and basically says ok, this isn’t easy to hear but there comes a point when change is necessary.  The rest of the commercial outlines what they are doing to upgrade the good ole pizza pie and ultimately take back their market share.

Here’s the long version posted on You Tube: http://snipurl.com/tzgwh

Is the commercial only about taking back their market share or is something bigger going on here?  Before I answer that let’s look at HSBC Bank.

Depending upon where you live, you may or may not have seen the HSBC “Soapbox Baby” campaign. This commercial talks about the values of their clients.  Perched directly behind the speakers is a large picture of a baby and a very obvious connection to a person’s value of family coming first.  “Helping understand peoples values helps better meet their needs” is the closing statement.

There is a shift is the consciousness today.  And the advertising world is picking up on this. The kind of “heavy hitting marketing, fear based yet paint it all rosy, smile when the world is falling apart and their product stinks” is over.  Yes, I am being very direct.  The era of misleading advertising and misaligned values are over. Now people are asking a much deeper question: What’s important and what do I really need/want?

Leaders of business are being asked to realign their values with the values of their clientele (and within the organization) Somewhere we lost that.  Somewhere we got stuck in the 80’s notion of greed being good and nothing and no one but the bottom line is king.  Somewhere along the way we forgot that our families are important.  Our relationship with others are key.  In the light of the past 2 years that has all changed.  Even a pizza company is coming forward and saying “we have a problem, we hear you and this is what we’re going to do to solve it.” They did not sweep the negative comments under the rug.  They were transparent. The call from the public during the past scandals has been about the cry for transparency.  Now a pizza company is taking that stand.

The rules of business have changed.

The individual’s level of awareness has opened up.

The values of business are shifting.

Nothing is ever going to be the same.

We’re returning to a consciousness of truth, transparency, integrity and well, an infusion of the realignment of the values we care about. This is the blessing of the past 2 years.  We’ve all found out what’s really important to us.  Now we vote with our money based on these values. We choose to work for organizations because of them.  We seek communities with greater intention of this commonality.

How are you purchasing products and services these days?

Is it more important for you to resonate with the company or the person you’ll work with than in the past?

Do you look for signs of truth, integrity and transparency?

Are their social causes important to you?

Could this be a sign of a spiritual revolution in business?

Or perhaps the evolution and return back to our true selves as people connected to one another on a deeper level?

Look beyond the surface and there you will find the truth.

What’s Real? A Nor’easter of Perception & Meaning

December 1, 2009

A long time mentor once gave me a piece of priceless wisdom, which I will never forget.  “A persons perception is powerful.  It is the set of glasses with which they view the world through.  It doesn’t matter what you say or mean to say, they can only interpret it based on those glasses.” The glasses he’s talking about are core beliefs.

How many times has conflict amongst co-workers, collaborative partners or spouses all erupted because of a misunderstanding of what was said, meant, implied or otherwise communicated to another person? How many times have you witnessed an argument yet could see so clearly that the way it “landed” for one party was not at all the intention of the other party.  But in that moment those 2 players could not see or hear that?

It happens so often and is the cause of so much pain and anxiety in our world. We all carry a set of beliefs that become the “glasses” with which we give all meaning.  If you believe that you are a victim then no matter what constructive criticism or guidance is offered there is a knee jerk reaction to blame others for whatever is going on.  If you believe that people are inherently dishonest then most of your dealings in life will be perceived as suspicious or not to be trusted.  Why? Because we assigned a meaning to an event long ago that now has set up those beliefs.

Any situation is merely an orchestration of exchanges.  However they have no meaning, none what so ever until we assign the meaning. I used to have a mentor that would ask me “Why are you getting so upset? Those events have no meaning” and I just wanted to throttle him! (Hey, transparency here!)  It would make me even more upset at what was going on.  But then I really got clear on this point.  The best way to explain this is to give you a simple example.

When I was 16 years old I finally earned my drivers license. I was thrilled beyond belief to have this newfound freedom.  I felt like a grown up and took my responsibility with having the use of the family car – a chocolate brown Thunderbird – very seriously.  My parents imparted the importance of being responsible to us constantly.

One snowy winters day I was allowed to drive the Thunderbird to school.  It wasn’t snowing much in the morning but by lunchtime a nor’easter rolled in and school was let out early.  I stood in the High School parking lot looking at the car and looking at the buses.  I had to make a decision: drive home in the snow or take the bus home.  Thinking that I would be deemed irresponsible if I left the car, I opted to drive home.  Up and down the hilly slopes I drove slowly and cautiously.  Then it happened, I went into a full slide, eased off the breaks and did my best to maneuver the car.  Instead, I ended up crashing into the guardrail right in front of the State Troopers barracks.

My mother picked me up and did her best to comfort.  When we got home my extremely irate father greeted me.  I had completely totaled the front end of the car.  Our bad ass T-bird was cooked.  I started to cry and felt awful.  I immediately turned to my mother and said; “Does he care that I’m not hurt? Doesn’t he care that I’m not dead?!”  I interpreted his actions, his words to mean that he didn’t care about anything, especially me, except the car. In truth, what I had interpreted was really not the truth.  I assigned the meaning to his words and actions.

What would be another acceptable interpretation of this situation or his actions and words?  There are many.

  • “He was so scared that I could have been killed that he couldn’t express that fear in the moment.  He deflected his fear by focusing on the car.”
  • “He was worried about his family as a whole and was struggling with how we would get around without this car and how he could finance another one.”
  • “He did the physical inventory the minute he saw me: 2 arms, 2 legs, no blood, nothing broken.  He knew I was ok.”

We never know what a person is really thinking or what they truly mean. It’s all about how we interpret and assign meaning to any given situation.  Did my father really not care if I was ok?  I highly doubt it.  But in that moment, in my young mind I had assigned that meaning to the experience as well as not feeling loved or responsible.

You know what?  None of that is real unless one makes it real in their mind.  There are many ways any situation can be given meaning.  The challenge is not to.  Not to make something it’s not.  Not to fuel something that doesn’t really exist.  To avoid conflict and misunderstanding by practicing this art form daily.

I offer you this now so that you can reflect on this principle as we close 2009.

  • Where are you giving meaning that causes you conflict and pain in your life?
  • What is causing you to hold grievances against another person?
  • How have these meanings that created a story you keep playing in your mind stopped you short of your dreams?

Let it go.  You’ll be happier for it.

When you realize that you are the author of the pain in your life you will stop.  The greatest compassion you can show is to release yourself from the illusions you’ve created and live a more constructive life without them.

When Gurus Become Gods

November 12, 2009

Yesterday I was pretty restless so I spent several hours in the middle of the day perusing the social media world, updating my tweets and being part of the discussions that were going on.  Personally I love this aspect of social media because it helps me to see what’s really top of mind at the moment. “Great market research” as a dear friend of mine always reminds me.

I’ve noticed is that there are a lot of blog posts and articles being written about teachers, leaders and other note worthy gurus.  I guess that’s fair enough.  When you become more public and are in a position of power you ultimately open yourself up to criticism, comment and others opinions.  After all we are in a country that protects 1st amendment rights.  Free speech and all that.

What I’m seeing are a lot of people “naming names” and criticizing these people openly. They have paid fees to work with some of them.  Others have attended their educational live events or participated in some other program of one sort or another.  So there is  the element of free-will and participation in the exchange.  Actually giving permission to the teacher or leader to impart their particular form of wisdom to the attendee.  Rather than expressing any level of gratitude or appreciation I have witness some pretty severe and sometimes outlandish slamming .

Listen, I’ve paid for these types of services too and found myself less than satisfied but you know what? I made the choice to participate by handing over my credit card.  So it’s my choice. My free will. My money.  Sometimes I wish I hadn’t.  But who is to blame?  No one but me.  It was a choice that I made.

Often times we make these Gurus into Gods.  Hanging on every word. Wishing for them to impart the perfect solution to whatever is going on.  Is that realistic? I think not.  So I offer these 7 things to keep in mind about any guru, teach, mentor, coach or leader in your life.

1. When a person stands in front of you and professes their truth it is their truth. Their wisdom.  From their point of view and life experience.  It does not mean that it is “the truth” or “the only truth” that exists.

2.   Everyone is entitled to an opinion. When an opinion become a need to “be right” and to make others “wrong” that’s a competitive signal. Meaning “I’m better than her/him”.

3.   Take what you need from this person and forget the rest. Not everything they say and do will resonate with you.  Nor should it.  You’re your own person.  It’s like saying everyone likes vanilla ice cream.  (I personally prefer gelato not ice cream and the flavor of choice is nocciola)

4.   No one Guru has the end all be all answer to your problem.

5.   They WILL say something you don’t like or want to hear. It’s inevitable. Sometimes that’s actually why they are in your life.

6.   They cannot always control their guests, staff statements or opinions. People are people and are unpredictable at times.

7.   Any and every teacher makes mistakes or missteps.  Usually at one point or another they may make a correction or amend a previous error.  They are human and should be permitted for possessing a less-than-perfect character.

Ultimately it is up to you to make decisions for yourself. It is about taking personal responsibility for your actions and outcomes. You are not a victim unless you choose to be.

When you make a Guru a God, that means to ask them to perfect, to have every solution to every problem you’ve given away your personal power and choice.

If you are not in alignment with any Guru, teacher, mentor, coach or leader in your life then move on.

If you do not resonate with what they teach, move on.

And most of all, if you really find what they offer so outlandish then stop supporting them with your attendance and credit card swipes.

“The $10 Million Dollar Question”

November 7, 2009

Recently I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine and she asked me “If someone rang your doorbell and gave you a $10 million dollar check what would you do with it?”  Initially I would have exclaimed “buy a new pair of shoes and a sassy new purse!”  But, instead I paused and thought long and hard about this.  I mean, I really really thought about what I would do with that money.

I began to wonder what other people would do with it too.
 
I realize this isn’t the normal article I’d write.  But I think it’s worth exploring and sharing what happened when I posted the question on my Facebook account and in several of my Linked In groups.  In the recently economic chaos our values have changed.  The responses I received were all overwhelmingly glaring in pattern.
 
 
The number one thing people wanted was security.  After all, who can blame them!  It’s been a rollercoaster ride for the past 2 years, hasn’t it?  But what’s different here is that the context of security has shifted and gone beyond what’s right in front of them.  They expressed not just wanting security for themselves and their families but also for other people close to them; friends, co-workers and neighbors.
 
The second most common response was that they wanted to create a foundation, charity or some other type of support and help to the greater community.  Everything from agricultural, educational, health and wellness projects listed.  Some with very specific heartstrings attached to them as a personal way of resolving a challenge they’ve faced and would like to ease the process for those who are to come after them.
Both answers were extremely touching to me.  Why?
 
It shows that the consciousness around us is shifting and moving from a self-absorbed narcissistic focus of “me and me alone” to a “we” mentality.  It’s subtle, that’s for sure.  But when a society begins to change it’s focus, to realize that we all must help one another on a very basic primal level of survival can the behaviors of business and commerce in general be far behind?
 
Probably not.
 
When any group shifts it’s consciousness everything around it must follow.  Including how entrepreneurs and business executives operate.  Now it’s time to learn some new tools and skills to meet that expectation!  Move from breakdown to breakthrough by embracing these new values and incorporate them into everything you do.
A new breed of leadership must emerge that’s for sure.
 
 
© 2009 NMS Communications, LLC All Rights Reserve

Month Journal Entry from Maria – October

October 30, 2009

October has been a month of connections and happy, unexpected opportunities. I had the great honor of being able to spend a little quality time with Greg Reid, author of “Three Feet From Gold” recently.  He reminded me of the power of persistence.  Especially in these economic times!  I had to ask myself – where are you stopping short?  Are you willing to give up just three feet from YOUR gold? Now that’s something to ponder! It’s truly worth it to consider this and make the necessary adjustments going into the new year – starting with newfound conviction and focus.

Additionally, I had a very interesting and unexpected conversation with powerhouse Les Brown last week.  It’s an amazing thing when the Universe sends these little unexpected gifts.  The question usually is “Are you really ready to speak your truth?  Oh yeah? Well go girl go, he’s right in front of you!” And so I did!  But more than anything the point I want to share with you about this surprise encounter were his words to me.  “Maria, it is my honor and a blessing to be in your presence”. So I ask you this….do you feel that way when you are with others?  Do you and can you express that level of generosity to others you know and those you don’t each and every day? I was so touched by his level of wealth.  Yes, that IS a version of true wealth! The ability to acknowledge, to see and recognize another human being is so precious and generous.  We keep forgetting that wealth goes beyond money, dinero and cash.

Now, dove tail into spending a day in Caroline Myss’ workshop here in NYC at the Jacob Javits Center.  I just love Caroline!  She’s been my constant teacher and inspiration for the past 13 or more years.  There were so many amazing things that came from that experience. Going back to an earlier work – “Invisible Acts of Power” she reminded all of us that random, discreet acts of kindness and generosity cost nothing. Absolutely nothing.  There is no need for fan fare or a 3 piece band to herald in your “niceness”. (By the way, I consider this to be the handbook for being a human being.  So if you haven’t read it, please do!) It is your duty as a participant in this human race to touch others; in words, deeds and/or gestures. That’s exactly what people like Les Brown and Greg Reid have done for me this month.

My last musing for this month is simply this.

Am I perfect at being kind and generous all the time?  Not a chance!

I didn’t much like it or feel exceptionally kind when someone hopped into the cab ahead of me that I hailed the other day during a rainstorm.  My words and thoughts were not “nice”. In truth they were quite colorful shall we say.  But…I’m learning, growing and changing.  Just like you.

Don’t give up!

You’re only three feet from your own vein of gold!

Is Your Business Evolving or Facing Extinction?

September 15, 2009

I’ve often stated this before “we are living in a time of great opportunity, we are living in a time where the ability to create new business, methods and delivery systems are plentiful”. The beauty of the entrepreneurial spirit is that this segment of our culture; they ones that will actually reignite the economy. How? Newness!

Anyone can be revolutionary inside any structured business; you just need to have enough conviction to make it happen. All business leaders need the courage to say “I’m going to do something different NOW!”

One thing I know for sure from my 20 plus years in corporate America is that without newness there is no real business growth. Any good business practice includes a core program of products or services, which is the meat and potatoes foundation to build upon; the guaranteed revenue stream.

However without reaching for new business with innovation and creativity you’re stuck in neutral – along with everyone else languishing in the status quo.

I invite you to put your thinking caps on and imagine. Play. And consider, if you could create anything or improve something you have, what would you do?

Got an idea that just popped into your mind? Yes, yes, I can feel it percolating up inside of you.

Does it fit into your current business model? No?

Is that thwarting your ability to even talk about the idea? Probably.

Here’s what’s true. Business is a natural organism.

In nature all things must Change. Adapt and Grow or risk extinction. That means that business models and methods must also Change, Adapt and Grow to better serve others.

A great example of this is the drive through window.  Many years ago this method of delivering products and services was deployed by the banking industry. You would drive up to the window, slip your deposit slips and payments into a slick silver drawer and the teller on the other side would process your payments, slide the receipts back through the drawer all without you having to get out of your car! Ahh fabulous! Convienent! And so fast!

Mc Donalds saw the brilliance in this delivery system method and adapted it to suit their needs. They rolled the drive through window out to their franchises and thus birth a new value added component to their simple product – the hamburger and fries! Brilliant! It sparked a renaissance in the fast food world. Is there a fast food establishment that you know of that does not have a drive through window? It’s now part of the basic set up for this type of business.

I am often poo-pooed when I tell others that I am bored with so many business models today. I watch video after video or read irate articles blasting business models and methods that no longer work. It makes me shake my head.

No one business model is going to work forever. What was once deployed and was successful was successful for a reason – it was revolutionary at the time. But now, it’s time to Change, Adapt and Grow.

Createsomething new.
Offer something exciting.
Or be revolutionary!
Have the courage to step outside the norm!

Put your frustration and anger aside and get moving! Be the catalyst you know that you’re supposed to be.

 

© 2009 NMS Communications, LLC All Rights Reserve

Are You “Popping the Clutch” on Your Success?

September 8, 2009

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you’ve set a clear goal with a great deal of excitement and intent only to find that several days you’re feeling fearful and apprehensive?  Your intention was very clear in your mind. You started out with such conviction only to find the seeds of doubt and fear seeping into your mind not to long after. You grind to a halt. Sounds familiar, right?

When I was 16 my father taught me how to drive.  It was mandatory in our house that we all knew how to drive both an automatic and a manual.  If we couldn’t do both we were not allowed to take our drivers test.  Driving a stick shift was really tough and my father was elected to be my teacher. 

He would take me to the steep intersection of Rye Hill Road in our baby blue Datsun B210 and talked me through the process. Ease off the clutch, give it a little gas release the break and go.  It took precision, timing and without a doubt lots of focus when I first learned. If I was unsure or scared I wouldn’t gauge the balance between easing off the clutch with the gas, the B210 would buck, stall and roll backwards.

Over and over again I would put that little car into convulsions and nearly gave the both of us whiplash.  Finally my father said to me “This is because you are unsure of yourself Maria.  You need to stay focused.  You’re getting scared and going in reverse. Don’t be afraid. Just feel it and you’ll know when to let go.”

Those words could not have been a better metaphor for life.  Or for how being unfocused or in a state of fear will cause you to simply roll backwards.  Because in life; if you’re not growing you’re dying.  Fear is your subconscious mind throwing up barriers of doubt in your abilities and your choices.  Usually to the detriment of what your next right action should be. 

Every successful person learns that the best way to move forward is to follow their intuition – which is exactly opposite of that subconscious mind.  Each person is born with a natural intuition.  The root of this word in Latin is tuere.  Which means “to guard or to protect.” 

Intuition is your compass point for your life and your decisions.  Learning to rely on this internal gift will help you to move past the fear and stop rolling backwards in your life.  It’s pretty simple!  You just need to practice and trust this guidance system within.

© 2009 NMS Communications, LLC All Rights Reserve