29 May 2017

A crowbar and a shovel and $500.00

Memories of growing up in rural Newfoundland are rich and vivid. Sometimes it feels like something out of a storybook. My daughter was often enchanted with stories of watching the porpoises from the living room window or walking through a herd of cattle to get to school. Rural living with few paved streets also presented challenges.

We lived in a lane that was built on the side of a hill.  Our house was about halfway down. It gave us an amazing view of the ocean but when it rained things could be challenging.

Long before they paved the lane, heavy rains caused a lot of washout and being below the level of the road, our house was always at risk of flooding. The heavy rain coupled with a ferocious wind meant that it rained sideways. It didn't just rain cats and dogs, there were often chickens and the occasional small child in the mix.

During the heavy rain, you could always find my father out in the lane with a crowbar, pick and shovel. He fought what appeared to be a losing battle - diverting the water away from the house so that we would not be flooded. It took a ton of effort, elbow grease and help from neighbours.

Retrenching is all about results - the reason they exerted so much effort was because they knew the writing was on the wall if they did nothing. Flooding was imminent.

I learned about hard work from my father. First of all, you must be results driven. You dig in and do what needs to be done so that you achieve the results you want. He didn't shy away from a task just because he might get wet. Retrenching is a tough job - but then again, any change is hard. The easiest thing to do is......nothing.

When you're results driven, you don't mind doing what needs to be done. Think about your business for a second. If you're like most people, you want to make more money. You'd love a different result. There are very few people who are willing to do the hard work. You see, change is like retrenching, it takes concerted effort and determination to change.

Retrenching is a word that I came across in a university women's studies course. They were using it to speak about public policy. Retrenching was about doing it differently. Sometimes change is tough and it requires retrenching - where in your business can you see yourself putting up with something just because you're not ready to do the hard work?

Each week, I come up with a question to stimulate discussion in the groups I lead. Generally, it's around profits. This week the question is "Can you make $500.00 in new money in the next 30 days?"

How long will you put up with the status quo before you attempt to retrench?

My father will tell you that it's not easy to divert water - you don't just dig a furrow one time, you have to do it over and over because that water remembers the path and the ease with which it flowed for a long time. That's why they had to spend a lot of time out there digging and watching and digging again.

Our business efforts are no different. It's easy to get up and do what we did last week. But are you ready to take responsibility for the results? Are you ready to retrench?

28 May 2017

Privilege and Lack Of: Benefits and Burdens in Each

It's not uncommon to feel envy when you come from a position of disadvantage. When people all around you are doing well, thriving, travelling and laughing lots while you struggle, it takes a lot of discipline to not feel your own disadvantage.  But there are benefits and burdens on both sides of the coin.

The benefit of age is wisdom. When you know better, you do better. Having been down a tough road, I picked up skills and resources I never would have learned had I started a few rungs higher on the ladder.

I meet so many clever people who have had to be creative to survive.

Envy drains you - criticizing people because they have a better start in life is a waste of time. Sometimes when they fall on hard times, life gets real tough real fast. People who had a rough start often maintain their cool when the going gets tough.

Talk to anyone who has walked on both sides of that road and they will tell you that there are advantages in a disadvantaged start and there are disadvantages in a privileged start. There are benefits and burdens in each.

Make YOUR journey matter.

24 May 2017

What I would teach on the first day of business school.

I stood in front of the small group and asked them to reflect upon what their business would look like in 6 months time. I gave them instructions on how to bring the mind back to the task at hand and I gave them just 10 minutes to reflect on that.

At the end of the 10 minutes, I asked those who were willing to share their dream. One man in particular shared a very detailed story of how his business would look. I could tell by his clear articulation that this was something he had thought about for quite some time now. He even spoke about how it would feel to put the key into his toolbox in the  morning.

What was even more powerful was that at the end of the story, he said "I have no idea how I will make that happen." You see, he was flat broke and had just been turned down for funding even though he had a solid business plan and a burning desire to start a business. Like me, he was hard to employ and reluctantly entrepreneurial but his self worth hinged on his ability to provide for the family.

Contrast that with the folks who couldn't conjure up an image or who couldn't articulate what their life was going to look like. It wasn't that they didn't want to be successful. After all, they had paid to take the course - they were hungry for success. They had families to feed and starting a business was the way to go.

They admitted to not knowing how to dream and they didn't appreciate the role that dreaming paid in achievement. My task was to teach them to value dreaming and to start practising the art.

There is nothing more overwhelming in a business course for beginners and especially reluctant entrepreneurs than a class on finances/cash flow. It's totally overwhelming to speak about cash flow when there is no cash flowing. They haven't learned to turn on the spigot of cash yet and they're expected to speak about the stream. It's an unrealistic expectation.

There are learning cycles that need to take place before hand. In order to get them to suspend the disbelief  that they feel, they need to learn to dream.

I believe the fuel that will enhance the buy in is imagination so I like to teach that particular competency first?

How much time to do you spending dreaming about the dream already achieved? Are you a worry wart? How are you making out with that? Looking at your problems under a microscope doesn't make them go away -- dreaming on the other hand is electric. People come alongside folks who can dream, opportunities happen. You're more likely to step out and learn a skill if you're all in.

Learn to dream and I'll teach you to make money.  

23 May 2017

Know your numbers, make cash flow and budgets your friends.

If you're one of those people who only look at your numbers at the end of the year, you're missing a great opportunity. By year end, it's too late to tweak what you do to increase revenue - had  you peeked at how you were doing after the first quarter, you would have had a better chance of adjusting to secure more revenue. 

Quarterly cash flow projections help us to plan for the next quarter. They also give us a snapshot of where we are right now. This allows us to look at what we need to do to get to where we want to be. 

I'm surprised at the number of people who don't know where they are positioned financially until tax time and by then, it's too late to make use of the tool.

We're hosting a group of workshops around cash flow in June. The goal is to help you get comfortable with your numbers - no matter what they are right now.  

Email: debbie.adams08@gmail.com

22 May 2017

Is it time to walk away? Points to ponder.

Is it decision time? Are you considering walking away from a situation or a relationship? Walking away can be extremely challenging but often it is the only option for many reasons. I once read that you have to let go of one vine in life to swing to the next vine. But sometimes the process can be painful for a number of reasons. Walking away when the time is right takes a tremendous amount of courage.

Here are a few things to ponder if you are in that place of big decision.

Sometimes we stick with business, work and people long after the "best before" date. You know the writing is on the wall because you spend a lot of time thinking about it. But you also spend a lot of time focusing on the best part of it all. This can keep you stuck.

This can be especially true if you spent a lot of time and money or exerted a ton of effort up to this point. You may have a tendency to turn a blind eye to how bad things are and focus on the baby that you helped create or how hard you've worked. Or you may think - I'll go when I get some of my money back if you have invested in something that isn't working out.  This kind of thinking can keep you stuck for longer than is healthy. If  you did a cost/benefit analysis of the situation, you would see that the time is right.

When you let go of something that isn't working, you can find yourself on a springboard to something much better - providing of course that you extract the lesson and go with a ton of wisdom. Think about it.

I've walked away from:

a marriage
law school
many smaller ventures that weren't working.

But I have not taken any of those lightly. I've also learned a lot of lessons and feel that I have gotten a lot out of my sweat equity. What are you pondering walking away from? Are you being honest with yourself?

17 May 2017

Is it time to get bold?

On taking bold action - I had the most amazing vacation this week. When I take time away from biz, I come back with an amazing energy. I love what I do and I love inspiring others to take bold action.
A lady once said to me "You don't see what we see, do you?" I really didn't question her at the time but when I look back I can see what she meant. Long before I took bold steps in my business, other people could see my potential.
I know this because I see this in other people now and I often say to my clients "You don't see what I see." Then of course I hold up a mirror and show them what others see. Sometimes that means letting them see the parts of themselves that need to be changed but that's part of the process when you go for the gold.
You know when you're ready for bold action especially if you yearn for more. I could write forever on this topic - fear of failure keeps us stuck - embracing failed attempts as part of the process will get us closer to the goal.
What do other people see in you and is it time to throw away fear and get her done?

11 May 2017

My 3 rules of collaboration 3/150

I'm determined to write a blog post a day for 150 days.

I love well thought out collaborations - they're amazing business boosters. If you're considering a collaboration take these  3 things into collaboration.

1. It has to be a win/win. Don't be afraid to ask the touch questoins.

What's in it for me?

What's in it for me, what's in it for you?

Don't have such a narrow focus that you're only thinking about the benefit to you - come to the table having considered the benefit to the other person.

2. Hammer out the details. Who is responsible for what, when where, etc. Every single detail. Get it all out there.

3. Measure results, tweak and do again.

Want to learn more about successful collaboration? contact me.

9 May 2017

Don't say I told you so.

Adults love to make their own mistakes and learn where the rubber hits the road. We have a tendency to be overly optimistic when we decide to take a plunge. 

People show up to warn of the hidden dangers but after listening intently we ignore them because......that won't happen to us. 

And then it does happen and we ....... get over it because that's part of being human. We want to learn on our own. Quit worrying about people saying - I told you so. Who cares that they told us so - we did it our way and now we won't have to learn that again. 

At least we're living. 

8 May 2017

Try doing one thing differently!!!

What you're doing right now produces the results you have now. In order to produce new results, you need to do something different.

If you're waiting for wildly different, you will be waiting for a long time. What doing things differently means is saying yes to an invite that you normally would say no to. It's zigging when you would normally be zagging.

Those opportunities show up more often than you think.

Try it today - do one thing differently.

7 May 2017

This is Success

Success is not that thing out there that you have to strive to be/do/get to. This place where you are today is success. The only judge of whether you're successful is you. 

As a speaker and blogger, I am not waiting until I'm as good as Seth before I share what I know. I have something to say now and someone is waiting to hear it. 

Success is every milestone you have overcome and you ought to be soooo proud of that. 

So, take people off those pedestals. Pay attention to your own journey. 

Take leaps.

Fall down.

Dust off.

Do something new. 

That's success.