Image by Tod Quacknbush: https://unsplash.com/photos/x5SRhkFajr
That's right. I'm cooking up something new. It's going to be sweet and definitely something you can savor. Ready your pallets and your minds for a whole new dish!
That is an old saying that rings so true sometimes. The person who makes shoes for the village, doesn't have time nor resources to make shoes for their own children.
How many of you have done one thing your entire professional life? You went to school to do “X” and you are still doing “X” years later? I am always fascinated by people who have that story.
I have had so many different jobs over my professional life that sometimes I have difficulty explaining my background. Much of this change was dictated by necessity. Having been a military spouse for 15 years, I moved every 3 or 4 years. With each move I had to reinvent myself in order to get the next job and make the money we needed to make ends meet. Some reinventions were a little more drastic and desperate than others. Later in my professional career the changes I made were by choice and were to expand my horizons and open options.
After my time as a military spouse ended, I still found it necessary and even desirable to reinvent myself. This has been important as an entrepreneur because with that choice comes the responsibility to shift as the economy and customer demands change. Throw into the mix relocating from the West Coast to the panhandle of Texas, and here I am again reinventing in order to not just survive, but thrive.
So how do I reinvent myself? Here are three tips for you:
*Never stop learning. Always be willing to admit you don’t know everything. Listen to those around you and learn from their mistakes and their victories. Keep reading, watching videos, and studying.
*Assimilate. I’m not saying lose who you are, but take time to get out and meet people. Pay attention to the local vibe. Network.
*Yes, you can. Believe you can. Can what? Can do whatever it is that you want to do and are willing to put the effort into doing. Take what you know, learn what you need to, and go for it.
Here is a true story. I found myself at Yokota Air Base in Japan. I had spent 12 years working as a legal assistant for several different law firms. There were two legal offices on Base, but both were staffed with military paralegals, so no room for me in that capacity. There was, however, a position open for a court reporter. I learned that the Air Force did not use the stenotype machine, but rather used a stenomask system. I had never used a stenomask system, but I developed a plan.
I went into the office and met with the Law Office Manager. I offered to volunteer in the office in exchange for being trained on the stenomask machine so I could apply for the job. She happily agreed as they had been without a court reporter for some time. I treated my volunteer responsibilities like a regular job. I went in on regular hours and I worked hard. As the paralegals had time, they trained me to use the equipment. WIthin three months I was able to complete my application for the job and was hired as a GS6 with promised progression each year at performance review time so long as I continued to improve. When I left Yokota I had reached the top pay grade I could in that position at GS8. I was often requested by name to work at other Bases in the area. I developed a solid reputation among visiting judges as a good court reporter.
I went in knowing I had a strong skill base and could learn the rest. I was willing to put in the work to gain the experience I needed. The really cool thing--you can do the same! Want to learn to do something? Then ask. You might be surprised what people are willing to share with you. Know you’re going to have a learning curve, but don’t let it discourage you. My husband says it best. You have to be willing to stink at something in order to learn to be really good at it.
Have you ever reinvented yourself? If not, do you want to? Perhaps a professional reinvention is a bit much. Reinvent yourself socially. Learn a new hobby. Do something to change it up. Reinvention is itself a skill worth possessing.
I spent this past weekend at a Toastmasters Conference in Ruidoso, New Mexico. The Conference was put on by District 23 Members. Everyone did an excellent job executing their portion to ensure that the event went smoothly and everyone had a nice time. There were speech contests, meals, socializing and lots of great educational breakout sessions.
The intent of those who organize conferences, workshops and seminars is to excite, inspire and motivate those in attendance. I often come away with all sorts of ideas, to do lists and new dreams. But then what? How long can that last? If you don’t turn those ideas, to do lists and dreams into concrete goals, the post event glow will fade quickly.
Here are some tips to converting the post event excitement into something that will propel you forward.
You will be hearing what I learned at this last conference in the coming weeks. I came away inspired to make some changes in my messaging and focus. I look forward to your feedback.
When was the last time you were inspired by a workshop or conference? What did you learn that you meant to put into practice, but let it go stale before you got there? How will you reignite your excitement? I hope you will share your thoughts with us on social media.
You are busy. Aren’t you? We all are. Work, home, kids, pets, and life all demand time. We are surrounded and overloaded with input and information every day. Screens are in front of us at every turn including our phone, computer, and television. There seems to be little good news and we find ourselves taking on the emotional weight of the world. No wonder we sometimes feel like our tank is empty -- depleted.
If you are someone who, like me, finds it difficult to say no to others who ask you for help, you are at double the risk of depleting your personal resources more quickly. We want so badly to help others, so we say yes, sometimes at a great personal cost.
If this sounds familiar, I am writing this for you. If it doesn’t resonate with you personally, chances are you know someone who may be at risk.
When we become depleted we become overwhelmed. Everyday tasks can seem monumental. Feelings of hurt or anger that we would normally brush off become large, open wounds. Focus is difficult to achieve if not impossible. It’s ALL just too much.
When you find yourself in this situation, what do you do? How do you climb out of it? How do you restore your energy and reserves? Here are a few tips:
What tips do you have for restorative personal care when you become depleted? Share with us on social media. It may help you remember what you need to do and will certainly help someone else.
I know this is a long post, but I feel strongly about speaking to all of you (and myself) about this. I speak from experience. Yes is only the right answer if it is also the right answer for you.
Let’s talk! Actually--let’s listen.
I have been in a couple of networking situations recently and was a bit surprised by the behavior by some of the attendees. With a bit of disbelief I watched as people clambered to be heard, talked over one another and flat out ignored what was being said by the others in their circle.
We all have a story to tell. When we are out networking, our purpose for being there is to bring awareness to our business. Right? BUT! There is an art to networking. The people you are networking with also have a story to tell and they want to be heard. How do you balance hearing their story and telling yours? Here are three tips:
Bottom line is this--if you are so desperate to tell your story that you are talking over another person, you are going to miss key opportunities. Be the one to ask the questions and offer help and referrals. This will make you a networking superstar and those you meet will remember you when the time comes.
I heard once that the difference between a dream and a goal is that a dream is simply an idea. A goal is something you write down and commit to accomplish. I’ve let that thought bump around in my head for a while.
Recently when talking with my husband about the current state of our startup, and Jerri Glover Consulting, and my Toastmasters activities, and several other things we would like to do, I decided I was going to actually write down my goals and give this theory a try. Since I am writing them down, I decided I would share them with all of you and REALLY put myself out there.
This discussion took place two weekends ago. Since that time I have created four workshops to be offered in October. I have also been offered a contract position writing lessons on customer service for an online education company. The lesson gig pays professional rates and allows me to use the degree that I worked so very hard to get many years ago. (I have a Bachelor of Science in Management Studies with emphasis on customer service.) I am encouraged to see what difference writing these goals down will make. I can already see how it makes them more tangible--more real.
I encourage you to turn your dreams into goals. What are they? Write them down. Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter. Let’s commit!
Last week I shared with you the magic of The Noodle Dream. I hope you have had some time to noodle and come up with some great ideas for projects and future successes.
What happens when your noodle gets overcooked? Burned? Soggy? Done? What do you do when you have to scrap your plan and start over?
Recently my husband and I took big risks, bet the farm and invested big money in our Noodle Dream. Just as we were getting ready to serve our dish to our customers, the cost of the main ingredient skyrocketed to the point we figuratively saw our dream go up in a crispy puff of smoke. It is heart breaking. We took care to add all the best ingredients into our dish. However, the thing that was not in our control was the thing that did it in. Now what?
We order pizza! While it doesn’t look like what we had planned to serve, we will have something to offer our customers. We were able to learn from what we did. We may not have the noodles we dreamed of, but we are saving the salad and moving forward.
The savory details of the problem goes like this. We had been seeing a per hour charge of 12 cents give or take a few cents for the server time with Amazon. Days before we were going to launch we saw a spike in costs. Not a little spike--a BIG spike. We saw prices as high as $7 per hour. Yeah. That’s what we said. OUCH! The prices did come down, but not enough. We pushed ahead and launched anyway. The good news--the customers came pouring in--almost 2,000 over the weekend. The bad news--the customers came pouring in--almost 2,000. We had offered a free trial and were hemorrhaging money on the backend. We had to shut down and regroup. We are still down. We are close to coming back up, but the plan we wanted to offer (a monthly plan offering “all you can eat” for one monthly price) will not be what we can offer. What we will offer will be a certain number of hours for a monthly price and an option to purchase more time. Even with this very necessary adjustment the business model (you know, the thing that is supposed to make us money) doesn’t exist. Any income will go to cover the costs of our backend partner. We will be the best volunteers ever to serve our customers, but we will be volunteers.
The noodling continues. When was the last time you had an ugly surprise in business? How did you handle it? Did you scrap the dish or reinvent it?
I recently saw a Meme on a social media site. There was a picture of two pool noodles floating in water and the text read something like “If anyone ever tells you your dreams are silly, remember there is a millionaire walking around who invited these.”
For years now my husband and I have participated in an activity we call noodling. Noodling is our own special form of brainstorming. This is how you noodle. (Feel free to adjust or adapt the process to whatever works for you.)
As for “The Noodle Dream”--you must watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDUMVQpCoo8