The Future Is Here. It’s Young and it’s Hungry for Business.

How often do you consider teenagers to be a threat to your business?  And no, I’m not talking about them vandalizing your building or stealing chocolate bars from your store.

Well, these teens are seriously impressive. They’re running businesses, and if you’re not careful they could be stealing your customers.

The Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island has set up the first Teen Entrepreneur Club in Canada (TEC) right here on my doorstep, in the Comox Valley.  Back in the new year, I heard about it and leaped at the chance to get involved and offer to speak or run a workshop or whatever they needed.  As a parent of a teen myself, it just sounded like a no-brainer to offer local kids the chance to have a go at starting up a business, and see what entrepreneurship is all about.  I wasn’t alone in my sentiments, and the support from the local business community was quite overwhelming.

TECchallengesponsors

Prize Donations and Event Sponsors

They spent months learning skills and developing ideas under the careful direction of Vivian Vaillant, which they would then pitch to a team of business gurus (or Dragons, if you will) in a bid to win from an incredible array of prizes that would help them take their business ideas even further.

So when I showed up in May to do a workshop with them on dealing with fear and developing courage, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  I wasn’t sure if my workshop would be pitched at the right level for them.  Bear in mind it’s a while since I was a teenager, and I wasn’t sure if they would be experiencing the same challenges that I normally help entrepreneurs and business owners with.  What actually happened was that I was floored by the enthusiasm, engagement, and the sheer talent that met me.  Their ideas, and their products, were genuinely impressive.  And their ages ranged from just 13 to 18.  And yes, their challenges with fear were just like yours or mine!

So I was even more excited to be able to volunteer some time to coach a couple of them before their pitches to the dragonian crew on Friday of last week.

Pitching an idea in three minutes is not easy.  Standing up in front of a room full of people and presenting is not easy.  You’re trying to tell your story, introduce your idea and your product, inspire confidence in your product or your service, AND explain why you should win the prizes you want.  And fitting in into three minutes is the least of your worries when even trying to organize your thoughts is tricky!!

But six teens pitched, and six teens did amazingly well.  All I can say is that I felt proud, humbled, inspired, and really excited about what this opportunity means for those teens.  They have the makings of real businesses, offering real inventions, real ideas, and real services. They have a fresh approach, untainted by cynicism.  And the package is all tied up with drive, enthusiasm, and skills that I sure wish I had learned before I finished high school, because it would have saved me making a bunch of errors!

ASL Clothing

AgeSexLocation clothing won big at the TEC Teen Tycoon Challenge

Check out the big winners here: trustasl.com – Mattias and Jordan’s AgeSexLocation clothing line came to the challenge ready for market, with a pitch that hit all the marks, with great preparation, creativity and enthusiasm, knowing their ideal client, knowing what they needed to get going, and thoroughly impressing everyone at the event.  Watch out for these guys opening a pop up store on 4th Street, Courtenay, BC, this summer.

Big congratulations also to Mitchell, Noah, Tengis, Josiah and Frank, who all won prizes to help take their business ideas to the next level, and to Sascha and Brody, who did a great job of hosting the challenge.  Thank you all of you, and I will look forward to hearing about what you do next.

TEC is back in the fall in the Comox Valley with a new program.  My recommendation – yes, tell your friends, enrol your kids or yourself.  Better still, I’m recommending that Boys & Girls Club rolls this out across Canada.  In a world where job security ain’t what it once was, teaching the next generation about enterprise (no, not the Star Trek variety) seems like a no-brainer to me.

 

Company Core Values – and Why you Need to Identify Them

Your company’s core values already exist.  But do you know what they are?  Well, if you want to make big decisions easier, hire the right people, and market your business more effectively, here’s why identifying your core values should be your first step.

We have a specific process to help you work out your business’s Core Values.  Talk to us today and find out how it works.  

With a big thank you to Leif Jason at Mastermynde Strategy for the great chat and the inspiration for this post!

Fall Back in Love with your Business Again

Fall in love with your business again.pngIf you don’t feel like your business is where you want it to be, it can be hard to keep on loving it. 

You lavish your time, your energy, and your attention on it.  You lose sleep over it.   You care deeply about its welfare.  But you’re not getting what you want out of the relationship.   It is leaving you frustrated, tired, stressed out, and devoid of your usual passion and enthusiasm.  You put everything in, but you get nothing back.  Frankly, you feel like your business is running you.

You’ve done all kinds of reasoning – the market conditions are tough, maybe you haven’t hit on quite the right product or service, you’ve not been at your best recently, it’s hard to hire the right people… you have kept going, but you’re running out of reasons to bother.

If this is you, it’s not a great spot to be in.  But here are four ways to help you fall back in love with your business again.

1) Remember why you started it in the first place

Close your eyes for a moment, and take yourself back to the days when you first got started. What was it that made you take the leap?  What did it mean to you to do it?  Where did your passion lie?  And now think about what got you really excited about how you were going to run your business.  What made you different from the competition?  What is it about YOU that you wanted to pour into your business to make it unique?

Everyone’s reasoning is different, but it may fall into one of these categories.

  • Wanting to be the master of your own destiny
  • Knowing you can help solve a problem for people
  • Being passionate about a product or service you can provide

All too often, the day to day grind of working in our businesses makes us lose touch with the things that seemed so important to us in the beginning.  We spend much of our time doing things that we don’t love to do.  Unless you are a bookkeeper or accountant, you probably didn’t go into business because you love keeping your financial records.  And if you love making things with your hands, perhaps you are not in love with doing sales and marketing.   If you feel like you spend all your time doing things you don’t love to do, you may feel the passion for your business start to wane.

And you may have begun to lose touch with the things that made you different.  You try to please everyone, or you spend so much time comparing yourself to other businesses, you have started to lose your uniqueness, and become just like them.

Make a little time for yourself on a regular basis to reconnect with what is really important to you.  Hold onto those thoughts and feelings from the early days – and if you’ve gone off course from what you wanted (and still want), it’s time to figure out how to get back there. So now you’ve reconnected with your ‘why’, it’s time to address #2…

2) Where are you going?

A map, a GPS, and a compass are of no use whatsoever unless you actually have a specific destination in mind.  No one can help you get where you want to go if you haven’t even figured it out yourself.

Without clarity on your goals, your business will be like  a rudderless ship, drifting aimlessly around, even spinning in circles.  You’ll be easily distracted, lack focus, and you won’t get anywhere. That’s no fun.  The tropical paradise you wanted to sail to is unlikely to pop up by chance.  You need to figure out exactly where it is, and only then can you plot a course to find it.

If you haven’t spent time getting specific with your destination, no wonder you’re not so much in love with your business any more.

So ask yourself, do you really have goals, or do they still fall into the dream and wish category?  How specific are you about where you are going, and when you want to get there?

Once you figure out the long-term destination, you can actually start to use the maps, the GPS, and create a solid and specific plan to get you there.  Specifics will set you on the path to turn dreams into reality.

3) Address your People Problems

People should be a business’s biggest competitive advantage. However, the reality for many  businesses is that people are their biggest frustration. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you are spending all your time dealing with your people, that means you have problems you need to address.  Now.

And hey, solopreneurs, I’m looking at you too.  Just because you don’t have employees, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking in the mirror!  Maybe developing your own skills and your own self-management is what your business needs.

Many of our people problems can be resolved by putting the right people for your business into the right job for them.  Once you have found that fit, you begin to create an environment where your people can thrive – that means they are motivated, do a good job and want to stay.  If your people are thriving, then your business can thrive too.

So, do you have the right people?

Sometimes you hire people based on their experience. You believe they should be able to do a great job for you, based on things they have done in the past.  And that’s ok.  If you have also checked whether they are the right fit for your business and your values.  Because if they don’t fit, then it doesn’t matter how great their experience is – they won’t do things your way.  Worse still, they might violate the precious values of your business, and cause irreparable damage.  If you value honesty, then you don’t want a salesperson who gets sales, but does it dishonestly.

  • Figure out your core values. And communicate them to your people at every opportunity.
  • Ask yourself if your people fit what is most important to your organization.
  • If they do, let them know! Reward behaviours that uphold the values.
  • If they don’t, also let them know. Give them a chance to put things right. But be prepared – if this person is not the right fit, you might need to wave them goodbye.

Are your people doing the right job?

Once you have established whether people fit your values, you need to work out if they are doing the right job.  Do they understand their role, do they genuinely want to do the work, and are they mentally, physically, emotionally, ABLE to do the job?

Even the right person for your business will fail (and cause you headaches) if they are in the wrong job for them.

  • What job are you asking them to do? Are the expectations clearly laid out?
  • Evaluate the person and get a clear picture of whether they understand the job, want to do it, and whether they are capable.
  • If they need further training, identify what that is and take the necessary action.
  • If they are in the wrong job, do you have the right job available for them? Be careful to build jobs around the needs of your business, not around the capabilities of your people.

4) Ask for help.

I often compare businesses to children.  In its infancy, a business, requires your constant attention.  And as it grows, its needs change: you want it to learn to walk on its own two feet, and you allow it to be cared for by others.  But it will always be a part of you.

The similarity doesn’t end there.  If your real child was sick, you would seek help from a doctor, right?  No one expects a parent to be a medical expert as well.  Your business is really no different. Recognizing when to ask for help with it is key to its survival and long term success.  And yet as a business owner, it can be hard to do that – it feels like in some way you have failed if you can’t manage everything on your own.  Let me assure you: the failure is in allowing yourself not to realize the dreams you had, in not asking for help when you most need it.

My success as a business coach and consultant is dependent on your success.  If you hire me, you are effectively hiring someone who is as interested in your success as you are.  If you are really serious about making your business work for you, think of me as a relationship coach as much as a business coach.  I’m here to reignite your passion for what you do, and help your relationship with your business feel good again.

Happy Valentine’s Day ❤

 

Why you shouldn’t wait till you’re stressed to deal with stress

I was inspired to make this video after the Comox Valley Women’s Business Network meeting…

Do you proactively deal with your stress in the same way you proactively deal with your physical health?  Find out why it makes no sense to wait till your stressed out to think about how to deal with stress.

 

Why New Year’s Resolutions Suck, and What To Do Instead…

Ah, a New Year is looming.  What does it mean?  A New You?  A Fresh Start?  A Clean Slate?  An opportunity for massive and meaningful change?

As a child, I remember writing lists of New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Keep my room clean
  • Eat less chocolate
  • Do more chores
  • Get up earlier in the morning
  • Get my homework done before the deadline…

I think, at best, they lasted a couple of days.

As an adult, I have rarely made resolutions specifically for the New Year, either at work or at home.  But I have successfully changed habits, made significant improvements, and learned to do things differently (and for the better) on many occasions.  So what’s the difference?  And what sucks about those New Year, New You things?

1. Too many changes at once

If you made a whole list of resolutions, then you’re likely doomed to failure.  When you’re trying to change a whole swathe of bad habits at once, it’s harder to make any of them stick.  Devote yourself to one really important once instead, you’ll find it much easier.

2.  An all-or-nothing approach

There is something so alluring about the New Year.  It’s clean, fresh, and nothing has gone wrong in it yet.  But humans have such a tendency for perfectionism.  As soon as something doesn’t go right, and sullies that fresh, clean slate, we feel it’s ruined.  Not worth continuing the effort.  You miss going to the gym for a week, and then abandon it entirely, consigning your plan to the ever-increasing NY Resolution scrap heap.

3. The focus is on what you’re giving up

If I tell you to eat less chocolate, what picture comes into your head?  Is it a bar of chocolate, perchance? What if I tell you to give up wine?  What mental picture does that conjure?  A nice, refreshing glass of sauvignon blanc?  Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?  And probably doesn’t make you wild about giving either of those things up.  If you plan well, you can put the focus on the right things instead, and increase your chances of being successful in your habit change.  Read on…

4.  Our traditional resolutions are very hard to keep at this time of year…

Many of us have just had a period of rest, relaxation, and overindulgence.  Possibly coupled with a stressful family gathering, or a large credit card expenditure.  And many of us will begin New Year’s Day sleep-deprived and hungover, with a fridge full of goodies and a bunch of leftover booze.  Feel like starting the diet, cleaning the house, going to the gym and overhauling all your work habits first thing in that clean and fresh  New Year? Thought not.

And let’s not forget, that if you’re in the northern hemisphere (especially the parts where I’ve lived) it’s winter.  It’s cold, dark and miserable outside.  Not all that conducive to making drastic and often uncomfortable change.

5.  Your resolutions are vague and non-specific.

Deciding you will ‘Be More Organized’ this year is all well and good.  As is deciding to ‘Redesign My Website’.  But there’s a problem with both these resolutions.  They are vague.  They are setting you up for failure.  Why?

Of course ‘being more organized’ is an admirable thing to aim for.  But what does it really mean?  How is this achievable?  It gives you no specific WAY to become more organized.  How are you going to measure it?  What actual tasks do you need to complete to achieve ‘more organized’?  What changes are you going to need to make to do this?  Have you even identified what habits are causing poor organization in the first place?

 

The good news is that you don’t need to ditch the idea of making change at this time of year, if you’re fired up and ready to do it.  Nor do you need to confine your desire to make change solely to the fresh new year.  There is a very simple way to make change, and to ensure you do it right.

new years resolutionsI have created a simple way to make better resolutions, and put it all together in a free, simple-to-understand guide which will take you through formulating your plan, step-by-step, in a matter of minutes.  Get your free guide now by clicking here

 

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Barry Splotter and the Curse of the Badly Run Meeting

If you’ve ever smiled knowingly and rolled your eyes at the mugs/memes/pins that proudly declare, “I survived another meeting that could have been an email!”,  then you’ve probably sat through more than your fair share of badly run meetings.  These can beanother-meeting-mug a total waste of everyone’s time, throw schedules off, and be very de-motivating for all concerned.

However, a well run meeting can actually SAVE time, motivate everyone concerned, and help the team achieve more.

Make sure your meetings are productive and enjoyable.  Check out these classic meeting mistakes, and find out how to fix them:

Meeting Mistake #1: No Objective

A meeting gets called, but for no apparent reason, leaving everyone rolling their eyes and feeling like this is going to be a waste of time, or worse, they arrive feeling apprehensive.  These are often called last minute, and perhaps they do have an objective of sorts : maybe to broadcast a message or read people’s reactions to something.  However, the objective has not been communicated, and likely has not really been thought through.

The solution: if you feel the need to call a meeting, make sure you understand why you’re calling it.  Think it through, and figure out whether you could actually do this another way – do you really have to interrupt everyone’s day with a meeting, or could this be done in an email?  If you don’t need discussion, and are just broadcasting a message, a meeting may be unnecessary.

Meeting Mistake #2: No Agenda

You go to a meeting, and you’re not sure what needs to be covered. If there is no agenda, there is no plan.  That means no one can prepare, and important information can be overlooked or forgotten altogether.  Everyone goes off on tangents.

The Solution: Once you are clear on your objective, make sure you draw up an agenda, to ensure that everything you need to cover is done within the time you have available, and you don’t forget anything.  Even if you don’t have time to distribute your agenda first, hand it out at the meeting.  Assign a period of time to each item on the agenda, and stick to it.

Meeting Mistake #3: Starting or Finishing Late

You turn up at a meeting, and you sit around for 20 minutes waiting for the person who called it to turn up.  They are busy making phone calls or finishing up their previous meeting, meanwhile your valuable minutes tick away.  Or a meeting that was due to finish at 10am is still in full swing at 10.15am, and you are wondering how you’re going to make it through the rest of the tasks you need to finish today.

The Solution: Make sure you always start on time.  Be disciplined.  If it’s your meeting, and you’re late, you give the message that your time is more important than everyone else’s time (not good).  And having an well-planned agenda will help you finish on time.  You can even appoint someone to keep time, and move you through your items according to your agenda.

Meeting Mistake #4: You Invite The Wrong People

You show up for a meeting, and by the end of it, you realize that you really weren’t needed for that meeting.  You’ve wasted an hour of your life that you’re never going to get back. Or you find out that a meeting has just happened that you should really have been at, but you weren’t invited.

The Solution: When you decide a meeting is necessary, don’t be lazy.  Take a moment to figure out who should be there.  Don’t invite an entire management team to a meeting when you don’t need them there – and this happens more often than you might like to know, because it’s easier to call a whole team than to take the time to think of the individual members you really need.  Make sure you have thought through the people who can actually contribute and that you really need there.  All-Hands meetings do need to happen, but not every meeting needs everyone there.  Conversely, make sure you aren’t missing out on valuable contributions from someone you didn’t invite.

Meeting Mistake #5: No Progress Made

You spend an hour in a meeting, but you don’t actually achieve anything.

The Solution:  Be clear before you start what you are trying to get out of the meeting.  If you need to make a decision on something, make sure you don’t spend all your time discussing ideas, and avoiding a decision.  If you’re trying to solve an issue, make sure you come back to formulating a solution, rather than going in circles discussing the issue ad infinitum.  Understand that the purpose of meetings generally is to leave with a list of actions for people to do.  These actions should propel your project in a forwards direction.

Meeting Mistake #6: No Action Log or Notes

At the end of your meeting, you have no follow up notes or action log that confirms what each person is responsible for.  Which translates to: even if you have made decisions or agreed to getting things done, there’s nothing to hold you accountable… which means they don’t get done.

The Solution: Assign someone to make notes, go over the to-dos you have created before you finish the meeting, and send out an Action Log after the end of the meeting.  Extra bonus advice – make sure that only one person is assigned to be responsible for each action.  Where more than one person is accountable for something, no one takes full responsibility, and it doesn’t get done.

 

Meeting mistakes are avoidable.  The few minutes taken to think and plan
in advance, will potentially save hours of everyone’s time.  Couple this with simple principles, like making only one person accountable for a task, and you will multiply the effectiveness of your meetings.

How many of these mistakes do you recognize?  How many are you guilty of?  Find out more about how Human Nature Development can help you and your team be more productive. Get in touch and arrange a free, no obligation discovery session to find out more, by completing the form below:

 

 

10 Reasons You Need to Improve Your Time Management Skills

numbers-time-watch-whiteThere was a time when I thought that people were either born organized, or they weren’t. That good time management was an innate talent. Some people had it, some didn’t.

I went through life using whatever limited skills I thought I was born with, sometimes doing ok, sometimes not so much.

But then, I started a bridal business, where being organized is vital to survival. You can’t mess up a bride’s order, or your reputation is finished. I was fortunate enough to work with people who had excellent time management skills. I did workshops, I tried out a bunch of tools, and I started to learn. I realized that you could develop the ability to manage yourself better.

And that was the key – it wasn’t about managing time, it was about managing myself.

I didn’t realize at that point that I would end up teaching people how to get better at time management. But in a quest to simplify things for myself as much as possible so I could realistically do these things on a day-to-day basis (if you over-complicate anything for me, I’m done with it), I came up with some pretty foolproof strategies. I realized, if I can do it, anyone can, and that helping people do what I had done was incredibly rewarding for me.

But the main thing I learned, was that the perceived ‘hard work’ of learning time management skills, is far outweighed by the many benefits. Here are 10 benefits to get you started.

#1          You get more done. Well, duh. That’s the point, right? This might seem completely obvious, but yes, if you manage yourself well, you will achieve more. This is good for your career as well as your home life, AND for your sense of achievement.

#2          You have less stress. If you could remove all the stress you cause yourself every time you ride too close to a deadline, or forget an appointment, or are running late, or you feel overwhelmed, that would be pretty awesome, wouldn’t it? A few simple changes will impact your stress levels very positively.

#3          You use less effort. So if you’re thinking that all this means a bunch of hard work and effort forever, and it’s easier to stay where you are, think again. Granted, a degree of discipline is needed to develop some new good habits, but good time management tools actually take less effort than you use when you’re disorganized and spinning in circles.

#4          You will have more time. OK, technically you have the same amount of time you had before. There are only 24 hours in a day. But learn to use those 24 hours more efficiently, and you will free up time you’re currently wasting.

#5          You improve your reputation. Having a reputation for being reliable is worth more than gold. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you are unreliable, if you miss deadlines, forget things you have committed to, or don’t show up for appointments, your reputation ends up in tatters, professionally and personally. Good time management will preserve and protect your reputation.

#6          You will reach your goals. Many people with great time management skills will also have a greater likelihood of reaching their goals. Why? They have figured out how to set deadlines they can hit, and they know how to make consistent progress towards them, instead of waiting till they ‘have time’ to work on it.

#7          You become a better leader. Learning to delegate effectively is a huge part of good time management. When you delegate, not only do you free up your own time, but also you help motivate your people – being given responsibility is a huge motivator.

#8          You will be less tired. Good time management means packing yourself. Rushing at the last minute is exhausting, whether you are always running late for things, or are struggling to hit a deadline. But if you are pacing yourself, you are working sustainably. You will have more energy, more of the time.

#9          You’ll feel in control. When you are in control of your time, you’re really in control of yourself. If your time management skills are underdeveloped, you are being controlled by your environment, by other people, or by whichever dog is barking the loudest. Feeling out of control is exhausting, stressful, and leaves you feeling like you are being pulled in too many directions. Take control again with a few simple changes!

#10        You have a sense of your priorities. People who manage themselves and their time poorly often get caught up in the urgent, and never get to the really important tasks that would move them forwards in work or life. Those who have developed their time management skills are more likely to have a sense of what’s important all the time. More significantly, they’ll be working on the important and non-urgent tasks alongside the more urgent things they have to deal with.

Arguably, investing in learning time management has served me better in life and in my career than learning anything else. Being good at whatever the main part of your job is will only take you so far. If you want to advance as far as possible, whether you work for yourself or for someone else, you need to develop good time management skills.

Otherwise, the biggest obstacle in your way could be yourself.

Book a free strategy session now to talk to us about your next steps (just complete the form, send an email, or phone).

And do this free training: The Fastest Way to Beat Overwhelm to pick up a simple and powerful time management tip to get back on top of your workload.

Choosing Your Battles

stress management

I often talk about unavoidable stress.  Particularly when it comes to running your own business.  Because there’s plenty of stressful things involved in running a business that you simply can’t avoid.

But do you ever find yourself getting stressed out over little things that maybe you could choose to react differently to?  In other words, are you stressing out unnecessarily?

I love the Oatmeal.  But today this comic about loading the dishwasher perfectly really spoke to me.  Yes, it’s very funny, not least because I suspect it is something that happens in many a home.  But I think it’s deeper than it looks…

Check out the comic, and then, ask yourself honestly now, if you’ve ever stressed out over something not being done properly, or quite to your standards.  Dishwasher, laundry, the fact that your other half doesn’t correctly organise your clothes in colour order, or your staff put staples in horizontally rather than diagonally and it messes with your karma?

Most of us probably have things that we get a bit uptight about, and like to have done a particular way.  That, in itself, isn’t necessarily a problem.  But if you find yourself habitually turning into this…

 

dishwasher_lady - 4

 

…when it’s not done just exactly how you like it, then you are causing yourself way more stress in your life than is necessary.

Here’s what to do:

  • When you feel your hackles rising and your blood boiling over the way someone else is doing something that you like to do a particular way, just stop for a second. Take a deep breath.
  • Ask yourself whether this is really a battle you want to fight. How important is it that this task is done exactly your way?  And how important is it that this person do it, rather than you do it yourself?
  • Focus on the results. Are you getting too hung up on the process?  Is it really THAT important that all the glasses are put next to each other in the dishwasher, if they get clean anyway?
  • If you can, then let it go – focus on the benefits you get from not having it done your way (usually that someone else is taking care of it, giving you time to do something else). Accept that and be glad. Do as much deep breathing as you need while you work on accepting it.
  • If it is imperative that it is done your way (to achieve a particular result, for example), you have two options:
    • Do it yourself, and happily accept that this was your choice.
    • Teach the other person, constructively, to do it the way it needs to be done. If you lecture them, you’re unlikely to get anywhere.  They must learn by doing, and actually understand WHY this is important (ie that there is a tangible result).  If there is a mistake that must be put right, then they need to correct it themselves, rather than have it done for them.  Then let them take ownership of the task.  Accept
  • Remember that you have a choice about how you react – you don’t need to allow your blood to boil over this thing. If you want to redo something that has already been done adequately by someone else, that is YOUR CHOICE.

 

It is incredible the freedom and calm that can be gained by choosing your battles.  People often talk about it in terms of raising kids.  But it applies to so many other areas of life too.  Fighting is tiring.  It uses energy that could be diverted into something much more constructive.

 

©Liz Wootton, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of The Oatmeal http://www.theoatmeal.com

 

 

 

How Do Introverts Succeed in Business?

Tanja Gardner Conscious Introvert Success

Tanja Gardner

Think you know what it means to be introverted?  Well, if your idea of an introvert is a socially awkward, anxious person, who’s overly shy, if you think being introverted is a bad thing, or that it is simply a lack of extravert ‘skills’, then think again.  In fact, you might be an introvert and not even know it.

As an introvert myself, I was fascinated to meet Tanja Gardner of Conscious Introvert Success, who identifies herself as a deeply introverted (but not even slightly shy!) entrepreneur who started business life online as a copywriter. Somewhere along the line, she discovered she longed to help introverts like her to build their businesses while honouring their introversion. That’s why she started Conscious Introvert Success: a treasure-trove of introvert-friendly information and resources.  You can watch my fascinating interview with Tanja below (and make sure you sign up for her free webinar on email/newsletter marketing for introverts!).

One of our favourite tools here at Human Nature is the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator).  It explores the difference between Extrovert and Introvert preferences in depth, and describes introversion like this:

“People who prefer introversion like to focus on their own inner world of ideas and experiences.  They direct their energy and attention inwards and receive energy from reflecting on their thoughts, memories and feelings.”

Introverts may exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Drawn to their inner world
  • Prefer to communicate in writing
  • Work out ideas by reflecting on them
  • Learn best by reflection, mental “practice”
  • Focus in depth on their interests
  • Private and contained
  • Take initiative when the situation or issue is very important to them

For me, identifying myself as an introvert, as part of my introduction to MBTI, was a hugely important part of understanding what makes me tick (and what makes me tired).  I stopped thinking of introversion as a negative and started seeing more of my strengths.  What is more, it helped me to look after myself properly as a business owner – I had a better understanding of how to recharge the ol’ batteries.

The world of business can be an interesting place for an introvert, though – it’s set up rather well for the more outwardly expressive extraverts, whose energy is recharged by surrounding themselves with people and talking.  But for an introvert, marketing and networking can present challenges, not least because they are an energy drain, and will more often then not have you working ‘out of preference’.

Watch my interview with Tanja to find out more about introversion, how she helps clients tackle the issue of marketing the right way for them, and get her top tips on marketing your business if you’re an introvert.

Here are the vital links you’ll want:

Getting clear on your strengths as an introvert

Lowering your personal energy cost of your newsletter marketing

Free email marketing webinar with Tanja Gardner – Sign Up Here

 

To find out more about MBTI, the introversion/extraversion dichotomy, or to find out what ‘type’ you are, talk to us here at Human Nature by hitting the contact tab, and booking a completely free Discovery Session.

 

Life is short. It’s time to stop procrastinating…

If you’ve ever wondered what your life would look like if it was represented by jelly beans (which admittedly, you probably haven’t), you’re about to find out.  Watch the video – it might just be the kick up the proverbial that you need to get started on whatever it is that you’re putting off.

So ask yourself, first of all, what matters most to you?  What important things are you avoiding or putting off?

Procrastination isn’t just about not having time to do something.   As you can see from this video, you can easily fill your time with all sorts of things – you can easily become ‘busy’.  But the question is, are you busy doing the right things?  The things that really matter?

Are you doing the things that make your jelly beans more satisifying?

If  not, then the next stage is to find out what you need to do.  Work out what action you need to take to move you onward.

And then, (and this is the all important bit), find out what’s been stopping you.  What has been holding you back from taking that action?  And what still IS holding you back?  When you start to recognise the sticking points that you have, you can start to unstick yourself.

Is it really that simple? Well, the short answer is Yes.  But simple isn’t the same as easy.

The problem is that you put off the getting unstuck bit.  Unsticking yourself can be really hard work, because it usually involves stepping outside of a comfort zone.  It’s a bit scary.  It involves uncertainty.  Sometimes it can feel more comfortable to stay where you are, even when you know that where you are isn’t where you really want to stay.  And that’s why you get so busy just being busy, instead of focusing on taking the actions that will move you forwards.  It’s easier to think, “I’ll deal with it tomorrow.”

But time is not unlimited.  Seeing it in jelly beans makes it seem pretty short, in fact… what can you do today to make the most of it?

©Liz Wootton, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.