Posts Tagged ‘entreprenuer’

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.

“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

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

Are You A Lipstick Bully?

September 4, 2009

Most believe that competitiveness in business is an activity associated with the male population.  Women, the loving, nurturing souls that we are couldn’t possibly take part in this activity, right? This is, in fact not so.  You might be surprised to learn that in a recent study 40% of the bullies in the professional arena are women.  Their target? 70% of the time it’s other women!  Shocking, isn’t it?!

As the perception of the current economic situation tightens the level of competitiveness has skyrocketed.  In general people have been feeling that there simply isn’t enough to go around and that they must fight and compete to keep their position.

The correct interpretation of “competition” is to take something away from another person before they can get it.  However, the caveat of competitiveness is that if you are someone who is doing the utmost to “take” from another then be warned, it will ultimately be “taken” from you.  This is an example of how the Law of Cause and Effect can operate in a negative manner.

This is the vicious cycle of competition.  Once you’re in it, it literally feeds on itself as the fear to win at any cost by pummeling your opponent takes over.  This is the ego in full force driving you to compromise your values and take actions that you may not, on a normal day participate in.  It is the belief that there is not enough to go around and you must get yours before someone else does.

While there are some very obvious behaviors of a bully whose goal it is to squash their competition, women have a very special, almost soft way of delivering the blows;

  1. Implying gender stereotypes
  2. Glaring at one another in a hostile manner
  3. Giving others the silent treatment
  4. Rude or disrespectful treatment
  5. Perpetuating false rumors

Other more direct manifestations are blatant threats to destroy another persons credibility and a very obvious aggressive approach in delivering any point they are making.

When one engages in the competitive cycle they literally spend more time looking over their shoulder rather than looking forward to creating and collaborating together. It is a waste of time and energy for all parties.

We are asked to spend more time creating rather than competing with one another.  When one is in the creative process, more opportunities arise, not less.  Doors begin to open and something new and magical can come of joint efforts. 

Collaboration is the kryptonite for competitiveness. This is applicable for all genders.
© 2009 NMS Communications, LLC All Rights Reserve

Where Have All The Bright Ideas Gone?

August 24, 2009

Why Innovation is More Important Today Than Ever Before!

Business Week just issued its report on “The 25 Most Innovative Companies” for 2009 in April.  I found this article particularly interesting because innovation is something that I continue to pound home to entrepreneurs and business professionals on a daily basis.  It is probably one of the most important elements that will drive business out of its current slump. 

Customers are smarter today than ever before.  They recognize a marketing/selling spin faster than you can say “RING ME UP”.  They are savvy enough to cross comparison shop to get the best deal but are willing to spend more of their dollars with people they like and brands they feel loyal to.  However, much of that traditional customer behavior is changing.  People want something new.  They want creativity.  They want “ddifferent” in a world where everything has turned into a homogenized bland pudding. People are B-O-R-E-D with the same ole same ole and are less likely to buy yet another version of the same old thing.

A healthy profitable business can be reflected in the universal law of nature.  The law of nature says that it is a constant generation and regeneration to create new life at all times.  Currently in our culture we are being asked to be more resourceful: to look at new ways and means to do things.  But not how you may initially think.

Often times businesses take a cut-back and slash and burn philosophy during harsh economic times. Samuel Palmisana the CEO of IBM offers:  “Some may be tempted to hunker down, to scale back their investments in innovation. While that might make sense during a cyclical downturn, it’s a mistake when you’re going through a major shift in the global economy.”

We are being asked to be contrarians at the moment.  To embrace the creative, innovative part of our selves, which is our higher self, and create new businesses, industries and opportunities.  Without doing so, business will not continue to grow (generate) and replace all that has gone by the way side (regenerate).  This is why innovation is so critical at the moment.

You might be interested to know that the perennial leaders of this survey, Apple & Google, trailed by a little more than 30% less than the previous years survey votes.  Why?  They are viewed as merely improving existing products, rather than launching anything new and innovative into the market.  It just goes to show, even if your execution is flawless and you’ve always been a leader it doesn’t mean that you’ll always be there.  We are all being asked to stretch ourselves in whatever aspect of business we operate within.  Corporations and entrepreneurs a like are all in need of the same prescription:  innovate in order to be relevant. 

By embracing and maximizing our creative intelligence to build a new foundation in business today we are in alignment with universal laws.  In the case of business, it’s all about the law of nature: the constant generation and regeneration of life.  Without doing so, commerce continues to be stagnant and less than abundant.
© 2009 NMS Communications, LLC All Rights Reserve

You’re Tripping Up if You Don’t Follow Up

August 18, 2009

I’m sitting having lunch with several other business professionals in a beautiful dining room.  Beside me is one of the top C-level coaches and political consultants in the country.  This 25 year seasoned veteran casually says:

“I will most likely never lay eyes on any of you again.  Chances are I will never actually hear from you again.  You know why?  Because 95% of you will never follow up and you will miss your opportunity.” 

He smiled.  Lifted the coffee to his lips and enjoyed the hush he’d just initiated.

Not known for being a demure wallflower, he just put it out there on the line, which, I completely appreciated.  It may be a bitter pill to swallow, however it is the truth.

I was reminded of my senior year in college.  We were all assembled in a large auditorium.  The senior faculty member, Miss. Wisk, addressed us.  She said: “Look to your left.  Now look to your right.  Chances are you will never see most of these people again.  95% of you will not actively work in this industry.”  I gulped hard and in my worldly experience of 21 years thought; “wow, she’s bitter!”  But she, like that gentleman, knows the truth. 

Most people do not persist.  They do not follow up.  They do not continue to put themselves out there to get the result they desire.  They overlook and squander the opportunities and leads that are given to them.

How many networking events have you been to recently?  How many industry events or seminars?  Did you exchange cards?  Pleasantries?  Perhaps you shared a cup of coffee of a glass of wine with these folks.  Now, how many of them did you actually call or make any kind of contact with afterwards?

Chances are 95% of you didn’t.

So are you wondering why you are not moving up the ladder?  Or achieving the kind of success you’re after?  Perhaps you look around green with envy at others who seemingly have everything handed to them.  They have champions. They have strategic partners and continually make process.

What’s the difference?  They followed up!

Here’s what they know, that you need to embrace.

1)They know opportunity comes through other people.  It simply doesn’t just fall from the sky onto your front lawn with a big bow wrapped around it.

2)They know that in order to have those opportunities flow to them they must make an investment in forming a relationship with other people.  Now this doesn’t translate to kissing up or falsities. It means getting to know them beyond a random card exchange.

3)They know that they also must be willing to help that other person on their journey to achievement as well.  You must be willing to give, rather than to merely expect to receive all the time.
Implementation is key.

You must follow up!

Make contact with the people you have met recently and really see why you were brought together in the first place.  Sometimes, there is nothing there and it’s best to view it simply as practice.  Other times there may seem to be no thread in common, but be patient – some of the most interesting things that have ever manifest in my business came from some random, obscure, never to be believed connection.  There are also times that they can lead you to the next person who can help you with your project or endeavor. 

The combinations of possible opportunities are endless!  However you’ll never have a crack at them unless you FOLLOW UP on every single lead and connection that you make. 

These are the gateways to your success.
© 2009 NMS Communications, LLC All Rights Reserve

The Powerful Feminine Conduit of Change: Transforming Fear into Courage

December 10, 2008

The discussion of the Divine Feminine is a topic on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days.  But the question is why?  Why is it women?  Why now?
At this time in history, the feminine conduit is far more open and poised to make a shift. In many ways women are now “bi-lingual”, speaking from both energies – the masculine and the feminine.  Women have learned how to speak the language of men via business, now seated in positions of power and influence more than any other time in history. They also have a tangible platform of commerce to work with in exhibiting and demonstrating the feminine principles in a way that generates money, wields power, influence and recognition.
It is from the business platform that the biggest, most far-reaching results for changing the current competitive business model will be seen.  The bottom line for the ego (which is all about getting) is “Money Talks”.  When your bank account is hit hard, as it has been today, you’re ready to hearreform is on it’s way.  These are the times when people have had enough and are open to doing business in a very different manner because the current fear-based model filled with lack simply does not work any longer.  
The stats are staggering!
Women are 50% of business owners in this country, which accounts for 10.1 million businesses that employ more than 13 million people.  Women will contribute $1.9 trillion in sales by the end of 2008.  15% of all Fortune 500 CEO seats are occupied by women.  These staggering statistics show the influence women have in the world today purely from positioning. 
As the feminine energy influence grows, so does a shift in consciousness in how we work, purchase and interact with others.  The power of the purse is no joke.  The Law of Economy is the wise and thoughtful use of resources.   Resources that are being lead by women who embrace the divine feminine within them selves will facilitate massive changes in business. 
There is an unspoken movement happening.  Women are leveraging their leadership to make great changes:  new health care plans, more creative flexible work schedules and supporting charities of their choice to give back to the community.  They are abandoning the self-serving narcissistic intentions that have run many companies into the ground.  And, where they cannot gain satisfaction in the corporate arena, they are turning toward entrepreneurship to create the kind of work-life-community balance they have not been able to realize in the current model.
Women are taking value stands for their lives more and more.  They have awakened to the fact that fearlessness, compassion and generosity are not weak attributes of the female leader but a necessity for success.  It is this softer expression that is needed in the world and in business today.  And it is what is emerging.
I invite you to continue this dialogue with me-  You are welcome to post your comment on the CHANGE AGENT blog.