Why am I here?

"Why" handwritten with white chalk on a blackboardThis blog post is not about walking into a room and forgetting what you came in for. (Although I’m definitely guilty of that!) This blog post is about defining the mission of your business.

The last few months have been a time of transition for me.  For the last 20 years, I’ve worked mainly behind-the-scenes as a ghostwriter. While I loved the work, I wanted to do more for my clients. Avoiding writing is no longer an option in the social media world, and I wanted my clients to feel self-sufficient and confident as they shared their stories.As a result, I invested in formal coach training and have been able to work with people on a deeper level.

I think most of us struggle with our “big why” because be in conflict with our actions. We’re in business to create a great life for our clients and our families, yet we’re overwhelmed and too tired to enjoy our loved ones. We strive to create a healthy life, yet we are cramming potato chips into our mouths instead of making a healthy dinner.

I do a lot of work in the quilting world. Quilt stores are, in theory, in business just to sell fabric and patterns. In reality, however, their “big why” is to serve a community of people who love quilting. When they forget the big why, and just focus on selling fabric, business declines sharply.

The “big why” question also works with kids. Is our goal simply to keep them alive for the next 24 hours? Or is our “big why” to teach them to become competent, self-sufficient adults … even if it means dealing with a crummy attitude when you force them to solve their own problems.

Today, blog about your “big why.” If you wish, share how your current actions support (or don’t support) your beliefs.

Passionate About Work

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Lancelot Busy Digging Holes

I have three miniature dachshunds. They have assigned themselves jobs in our household. Guinevere is our alarm clock, although she frequently wakes up long before the clock chimes and “encourages” us to get up and feed her. Bella’s job is to cuddle. She helps me remember what it was like to hold a baby and feel complete affection for another living creature.

Lancelot, our only male, has two jobs. Mainly he functions as a security guard who barks non-stop if the UPS man (or anyone else) dares to come near our property. Unfortunately his skills extend to the neighbors coming home, as he’s a little fuzzy on property lines and is equally noisy as the neighbors come and go throughout the day.

Lance’s other job is digging holes in our backyard. Granted, I don’t think we actually need any more holes and they are rather hazardous. But he digs with such enthusiasm that I can’t stop him. Some mornings Lance will run into the yard, start digging, and be so focused on his new hole that he won’t come in for breakfast. All you see is his rear end sticking above ground as he digs with passion and persistence. By the time he takes a break, his belly and legs are covered in dirt and he smells like a farmer’s field. I’ll let him in the house, where he promptly flings his dirty body onto our leather couch for a nap.

Today, blog about the part of your job that you do with great enthusiasm.

A Place To Work

Woman Hand Holding a White CupI know many people who operate their business from their kitchen table. Or easily set up shop in a Starbucks with just their laptops and cell phones. Unfortunately, I’m not like that.

For several months, we were doing some home reconfiguring and I worked primarily from our family room couch. I tried to convince myself that, because I was mainly writing, it didn’t matter where I worked. But it does.

At some point I recognized the need to return to working in my home office. I am less distracted and more productive.  It makes me feel more professional. I like the feeling of my bookcases and filing cabinet around me, and not having a TV begging for attention during my lunch break.  When I work from my office, it also helps me to keep regular hours and forms a boundary between home and work.

Today, blog about when you’re most productive. Do you prefer working at the kitchen table with lots of background noise? Or are you like me and recognize that you’re more productive in a quiet, separate office space with no distractions?

 

Are You Hiding Behind an Outdated Business Portrait?

man holding pictures with big smileIn our new world of social media, it’s pretty difficult to avoid posting photos of yourself. I personally love seeing photos, because it anchors people in my mind as I read their posts and updates.

Now, with video becoming more popular, we can learn more about our online friends. Thanks to YouTube, we can get a much more detailed sense of an individual’s personality and passion.

Since I work with (and follow) mostly women, I’m always curious about how their video personality aligns with their photographs. Some women are clearly aware of their brands and look fabulous in both. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Other women — and this tends to be the case in the older crowd — display a photo that was clearly taken in their younger years. And this photo does not look anything like the person in their videos.

I think that women want business portraits that hide their age and their weight. Both of these are very difficult to disguise if you’re trying to be honest with your readers! And, unfortunately, it’s hard to be seen as credible when your “real self” shows up on stage (or in a video) looking 25 years older (or 100 pounds heavier) than you did on your business portrait.

My guilty pleasure is reality TV, and I’m a fan of a show about little people. In one episode, the father (a little person) was going on job interviews. One of his issues was that interviewers were so surprised at his small stature that they lost their focus. The solution, according to the consultant on the show, was to tell the interviewer about the height difference ahead of time. That way, there were no surprises and they could focus on the task at hand.

This is great advice. We need to be honest and admit who we are. (Of course this does not mean that we can’t take full advantage of makeup and flattering camera angles, especially if you’re in the over-40 club!) We don’t do ourselves any favors when our clients are shocked by our age or less-than-ideal body fat percentage! It’s important that we accept ourselves and be willing to share our truth — wrinkles and all — with the world!

I came to this conclusion after paying some big bucks for a hair/makeup session and a professional videographer. While I looked gorgeous, nobody recognized me and I was extremely nervous. Now I’ve opted for more casual videos, taken at home, that are less professional but far more authentic.

What about you? Have you avoided posting a picture (or making a video) because it shows what you really look like? Or have you been shocked to meet someone who didn’t look anything like they did on video?