30 April 2016

2 Pieces of Advice From the Sages

The tax business is not a numbers business as much as it is a people business. During the season I get a chance to speak with a lot of folks and share many personal stories. I asked some of the more successful business folks what tips they could offer that were not of a business nature.  This is what they shared. (Names have been changed to protect identities and stories shared with permission.)

#1 Self Care is Key

"I didn't start taking care of myself until after I had my first heart attack." Grant says. "What a wake up call. The only thing I had in life was work."

Take time out of your busy schedule for self care. Self care means different things to different people. For some, it may mean a little pampering and primping built into a busy schedule or working out at the gym. 

For others it may be a night out on the town. 

For me it means time away from technology with a combination of pampering, nature and lots of laughs. Whatever it means for you, there is consensus that it matters more than you may think. Self care renews initiative and gives you that much needed break from business that is just what the doctor ordered. 

#2 Remember the People Who Matter

Harvey tearfully told me that his one regret was that he wasn't available when his children were small. "You don't get those days back." 

I've heard this before. You never regret not getting that big deal as much as you regret not being there when your son or daughter scored that goal. 

Carve out time for the people who matter most. Make them a priority early on. 

I love learning from the folks in my life who generously share their lessons. I will take these two suggestions to heart. 

23 April 2016

Seriously Consider Entrepreneurship When You Lose Your Big Job in Oil

Man, when I lost my full time secure job in the early nineties, I was pissed. With the benefit of hindsight, I realize I searched for way too long in a market where there was a saturation of people just like me. 

Let's face it, I was doing the best I could - I didn't know what I didn't know. Know what I mean?

Even if you, like me, have never given entrepreneurship one single  consideration, don't rule it out as an option. You may be surprised at how lucrative that option really is. 

When no one out there will hire you, hire yourself. There is a market and with a little creativity you can access that market. 

Don't waste all of your energy bitchn' about the poor economy, become an #econosavvy chameleon-
like entrepreneur. 

17 April 2016

3 Tips for Successfully Taking a Big Bold Step

A little bird sits in a tree and you wonder how it can be so calm. Even though the bird is tiny, the branch seems hardly big enough to support it. If you look closely you may even see the strain on the branch caused by the birds weight. But the bird does not look stressed. The bird knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that it can trust itself to do what needs to be done in a "worse case" scenario. It isn't the limb that it has faith in - she has faith in her own ability.

Deciding to raise a child on my own and plunge into uncertainty was a giant leap for me. I didn't have the financial means or resources to do it but it needed to be done. What I did have is faith - in a higher power and in myself. 

I meet many people who are disgruntled with life and yearn to take a big step. The unknown  is fearful. I get why people wait until they "must" before taking that step. But waiting until you "must" often takes a toll on internal resources. Not having the external resources to make a shift is bad enough but when you start to deteriorate the internal resources, you may be creating a deficit. It's hard to hit the road running in a deficit situation.

I'd offer these three pieces of advice for anyone thinking of making major change in their lives:

1. Learn from others. We have learned valuable lessons along the way that we will gladly share with others. Don't reinvent the wheel each time you do something.

2. Get your fear under control. Fear of being homeless is one of the biggest fears that people face - next to public speaking. When you drill it down, the fear has no real basis. The journey from where you are to being homeless is a long way off. Likely you are the type of person that will also do what it takes to ensure that doesn't happen. People who take bold action are made of pretty impressive stuff.

3. Prepare. Get ready for the big move. For example, if you're stuck in a place that you don't want to be in and income is a concern, don't overextend yourself so that you're depending on that income. That's self sabotage. Think about it. 

An extra nugget is this - there's nothing as sweet as steering your own ship.

11 April 2016

Community Training - Well Suited to this Day and Age

They say that if you want to live a happy life, find something that you love to do and turn it into a business. The caveat of course is that you have to be real good at what you do. Half ass won't cut it as a business because people are very choosy about what they purchase - they want quality.

I have been a teacher and an advocate since I was knee high to a grasshopper or big enough to put the sheep in at night. I've always had a heart for anyone who wasn't able to advocate for themselves. More than once, I've been called upon to straighten something out.

"Can you call so and so....?"  or "That don't seem right to me..."

That's how the conversation would begin. And next thing you know I'd be on the phone trying to get it straightened out.

When it was suggested that I go into business, I had absolutely no idea what I would possibly sell. Most of the favours I did for people weren't ones I charged for. They were examples of me using my gifting for a good cause. After all, we couldn't have some big corporation taking advantage of a little guy.

I love to teach. When I was a mechanic, I enjoyed learning new things and sharing those with others. As a rebar apprentice I would learn how to tie steel in the daytime and share what I learned with other local folk. After all we all wanted to get hired on with the Hibernia Project to make a few big bucks
I always thought that people could learn all kinds of stuff if teachers could learn to put the information into understandable chunks. The same held true whether I was changing the oil on a bus or tutoring at Law School. When someone wanted to give up in exasperation because they "couldn't do it", I'd reframe it in terms that they could digest and next thing you know, that "aha moment" would happen for them.

The highest praise came from a young tradesman who said "Debbie,  you don't make us feel stupid." I never did get that because I couldn't imagine a teacher worth their salt ever making anyone look stupid. I've always felt that if a student wasn't learning, I was somehow not delivering the information correctly.

I decided to open PeopleCan Training because I could see that there were courses that the community could use. I have lived in a lot of places and I found that there was a gap in the community when it came to programs that I would have wanted to learn along the way. I would offer some of those.

So many business folk I speak with tell me that they had no idea what they were getting into when they began and I get it now. I'm almost at the half year mark and the scope of what I have undertaken is just becoming clear to me. It was quite an undertaking.

I don't regret it yet. I haven't quite got the marketing mix down. I've rolled out programs that worked and others that didn't - it's been a real trial and error. But each day someone comes in with a problem and I can feel my heart leap - I'm doing what I love one day at a time. PeopleCan is morphing into something valuable and I'm changing right along with it.

We live in a strange economy - people need to become more self sufficient - we have so much untapped potential. I want to facilitate the kind of growth in people and in the community. I want to help people say "I did it. I really did."

I love what I do and often I feel like pinching  myself and wonder how I once again ended up in a pretty amazing space.

2 April 2016

Play and Have Fun in the Middle of a Crapstorm

Creativity requires us to be positive and to create some pretty awesome and optimistic energy.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that but it isn't easy to remain positive when everything around you is going to crap. Have you ever had one of those 3 year runs of bad luck? It's around then that you start to think that the law of attraction has a flaw? N'est-ce pas? Well - if what you're doing is not working so well why not try something different?
Here are my top 3 tips for remaining focused especially when you're in the eye of a crapstorm. 

1. Avoid negativity. That includes the people who can get you into full on gossip mode. When things go wrong you're vulnerable to all kinds of trolls. Have you heard of "a shoe in the door" as a psychological concept? In sales it refers to selling something small and then up selling something larger. But in negative thinking, it works like this. You complain a little bit today. After all it makes you feel good to be part of the group. Next thing you know your house is the meeting place for every naysayer around. Don't start - you need those creative juices cloaked in positivity. There's no benefit in negativity even if it does make you feel good for a minute. 

2. Seek out 10 people that you know who are resourceful Ask them to give you half hour of their time. Tell them what your problem is and ask if they have some suggestions for how you might tackle it. Sometimes in the middle of a crap storm we get a little emotional. We may not think straight. Likely, these folks can help you to remain objective and see light where you may not. 

3. Play. Yes, you heard it here first. Get away from all the worry and grief and put yourself out there. Seek out an organization that needs volunteers and get involved. It will not only increase your network but it has other benefits. It gets your mind off your troubles which frees up space for the universe to deliver solutions. It increases your network of peeps which is always good and you will have fun and when you have fun you feel good. Feeling good is what is needed right now.

Your problems will still be there when you get back - let them go for a minute.