Icing on a Garbage Cake

Everybody talks about New Year’s Resolutions, and yet fewer and fewer people seem to give them a go. I guess enthusiasm has waned after years of disappointment. 

There are many reasons for not reaching goals, but I’m only going to highlight one right now. It comes from Marsha Austin Rodwin, founder of Radiance Power Yoga

 “As you chart your goals and list your resolutions this month, I encourage you to take a step back and first look for the beliefs and ways of being deep within yourself that have created you and your life as you know it.

Without first forgiving past hurts and wrongs,

being grateful for what we do have,

and bringing awareness to our often unconscious fears

we have no chance of creating a life filled with success as we choose to define it.  

It’s like putting a fancy icing on a garbage cake. As we continue to eat this conflicted concoction we inevitably come to feel worse about ourselves. When we set out after big goals and changes in our lives without first doing the work of clearing out self-sabotaging thoughts, beliefs and behaviors, we fall short of our expectations for ourselves and then end up beating ourselves up all the more.

Sounds like the real New Year’s Resolution is about getting a handle on garbage before goals.

Coconut icing on yummy cupcakes

 

(And, once you’ve done that, check out the Daily Debrief App  to help with goal attainment. “Like” it to keep up to date on features and availability.)

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Choose Your Imaginings

Love Anne Lamott, (Bird by Bird is one of my favorite books on writing.) This quote on faith and intention is from her latest Help, Thanks, Wow.

“Some of the stuff we imagine engages and connects and calls for the very best in us to come out. Other imaginings disengage us, and shut us down. My understanding is that you get to choose which of your thoughts to go with.”

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The Art of the E-Intro

The internet and tough economy have combined to accelerate our ability and appetite for meeting strangers. Not just random strangers, but people who work at companies we may want to do business with, work with or learn from. We can easily search our contacts to find someone to make that intro, and most people are receptive in a way that was unimaginable only a few years ago.

Sure you can whip together a quick:

 “Hi Bob, allow me to introduce Karen. We had coffee this morning and I think you two would have a lot to talk about.”

If Bob really trusts me and has some time on his hands (ha!), he may reach out to Karen. Otherwise he’s left wondering what the common ground might be.

“Is this Karen person going to try and sell me something? Is this intro work-related, or is Cindy subtly fixing us up?”

A great intro leaves nothing to guesswork and inspires a sense of possibility that makes it impossible to ignore. Here is a (modified) Real Life Example with markers highlighting the key features:

Hi David,

(A) I remember your telling me that if I find good talent to pass them your way. I’d like to introduce you to a colleague of mine, Lori Martin. (B) While she’s been highly successful as a medical equipment sales rep, her real passion is early childhood education. She would love to be selling products that ensure every child is kindergarten ready.  Naturally, I thought of you and your tools. (C) Lori is great at turning cold leads hot, always beats her targets, and shares what works with colleagues so the whole team wins. Sounds like the kind of person you like to work with!

(D) I’ve cc’d Lori here so you each have the others’ information.  Feel free to reach out directly.  Enjoy!

Cindy

Here’s how the “formula” breaks down:

A. Get their attention in a way that warms them up to what’s coming.

B. Share some context about the people you’re introducing. Be specific enough to intrigue them, but keep it brief for efficiency.

C. Throw in a personal observation about their strengths/experience to solidify the reason to connect.

D. Be clear about how to proceed.

One last tip, for the Subject, make it obvious so they know what the email is about now, and when they hunt for it later. E.g. David Meet Lori

Yes, an intro like that takes some time to put together – possibly as long as 15 – 20 minutes, and it shows. Readers learn important details, know why it’s worth their while and even feel a bit flattered.

Don’t whine about not having the time.  Yes, sometimes when you’ve spoken to both parties you can just say:

“Hi Bob and Karen, by now I’ve mentioned you each to one another. I think you’d enjoy meeting and discussing your mutual interest in in-bound marketing. I’ll now leave it up to you two to connect, enjoy!”

But when it really matters, like making sure a job application or proposal gets read, you truly honor your contact and that relationship by making a special intro. Who knows? Maybe one day they’ll return the favor.

What other tips can you offer on the Art of the E-Intro?

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Tiny Yeses Add Up to Big Things

In our current state of perpetual overwhelm, many are trying to regain some control by setting boundaries and learning how to say no. This conscious choosing is a great strategy. As part of greater mindfulness, however, don’t lose sight of the possibilities that hitch a ride with a Tiny Yes.  

 Tiny Yeses might look like:

  • Helping out with a colleague’s project
  • Taking a class in a new area of interest
  • Becoming the social media voice for your organization

Tiny Yes!

Years ago, despite a new business, toddler and traveling husband, I gave a Tiny Yes to joining a task force at our community foundation.  This would satisfy my philanthropic itch and might also be good for business.  Within a few months, the committee chair had to resign and I was asked to lead the group.  Gave another Tiny Yes.  Got more involved in the community and met many interesting people.  One of them asked me join a board for a local nonprofit.  By now I was getting the hang of these Tiny Yeses.

Over the years, what started as a small, somewhat scary commitment has led to involvement on 3 boards, including a 2 year stint as board president.  I love being involved in my community, meeting incredible people I might not have encountered otherwise, and expanding my professional skill set. Once I couldn’t have imagined fitting all of this in, now I can’t see my life without it.

After awhile, if you’re energized by the Tiny Yes it won’t even feel like something extra. You’ll probably be looking for ways to become even more engaged and proficient. Pretty soon, you’ll actually have built a track record and some expertise. I’m not suggesting unfettered yessing, just “yes” to something that intrigues and excites you. Relatively recently, I gave a (naive) Tiny Yes when asked to speak at Ignite Boulder.  One of the other speakers is a terrifice programmer whom I’ve partnered with to develop an iPhone app. (The Daily Debrief productivity app will be off to the Apple store by May.)

Where might a  Tiny Yes take you?

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Seth Godin on Doing Your Best

Really liked Seth Godin’s post today:

After you’ve done your best (and it didn’t work)

His last few lines are particularly useful, especially when tough times tempt us to hide in a dark place:

“If you believe that righteous effort leads to the shame of personal failure, you’ll seek to avoid righteous effort… Successful people analytically figure out what didn’t work and redefine what their best work will be in the future. And then they get back to work.”

 

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