Leaving Your Mark

How do you leave your mark best with others?

Do you ever leave a conversation with a colleague or friend and replay it over and over in your mind? They might have said something that left you inspired or even challenged your thinking in a positive way, forcing you to chew on their words long after the conversation. I love it when I gain a new idea that will improve the way I do life or business.

Do you do that for others? How? Often times, it is nothing intentional, it’s more of a natural extension of our unique personalities and experiences.

Learning and Growing

We do this most, though, when we are involved in learning or doing new things ourselves. Trying, failing or succeeding, with a new app, technology, recipe, or curriculum gives us the credibility and conviction to share our experiences with others. When we share passionately about a book or author we are reading and enjoying, others are intrigued and might investigate for themselves.

Listening Well

We also do this best when we are good listeners. If we care enough to really listen and understand another person’s situation, we will more thoughtfully share what is relevant to their needs and not just tout our own ideals.  We might even just be able to ask a question or two that gets to the heart of their issue and clarify their thinking.

Caring

But this happens most effectively when people know that we care. People can quickly tell when we truly care about something. And when others can sense that we honestly care about them as well, they trust our ideas and suggestions because we have their best interests in mind.

In our families, we can be this person for our children. They might grow a new interest as we share passionately about ours. We can take time to really listen to our kids, hear what they are interested in, and ask questions that inspire them to learn and grow.

In business relationships, it is valuable to be this person for our customers. They will pursue conversations with us and respect our insights and ideas.

 

Juggling Priorities in Business

In the past, you probably were able to just “show up” to work.  While there still may have been “prep-work,” you didn’t have to worry about all sales, payroll, rent, or marketing.  You could do your job and let someone else handle the rest.

Now that you are pursuing your own “gigs,” your own business, it might be overwhelming to consider managing all of the necessary components.

Main Components of Business

I have found that the overwhelmed feeling often comes from a lack of clarity.  If you were to break down the major components of really operating your own business, you might be able to wrap your mind around priorities and daily/weekly tasks. Here are a few of the main aspects of most businesses:

  • Product Management – Creation and Delivery, for some this is intangible – a service, an event
  • Vision and Leadership – Purpose, mission, direction
  • Sales – Networking, prospecting, closing sales
  • Marketing – Building relevant “tribes” of followers through a system of regular, valuable, branded content
  • Customer Management – Organizing prospects and customers in a database, managing timely communications
  • IT – Everything from website coding to integrating email system with mobile device
  • Finances – Tracking income, expenses, profit margins, etc.

Ideally, each of these aspects receive necessary attention each week. If you were honest, though, there are only a couple of these that you might truly enjoy doing and actually do well. Therefore, you might find yourself gravitating to those while neglecting the others.

How can you compensate for the other areas?

  • Schedule – Schedule weekly/monthly reminders to do things out of your normal comfort zone like writing, stepping back to gain big picture perspective, updating your Quickbooks, attending networking meetings, touching base with customers, refining your product, etc.
  • Outsource – For those areas where there is a clear lack of expertise or motivation, consider outsourcing them to others who shine in those roles.  Hire out your marketing campaigns. Bring on sales people who can work on commission only. Have a “go-to” IT person you can pay hourly so you don’t have to endure frustration with something that an expert could handle in 2 minutes. Hire a virtual assistant to help manage your financial records, CRM systems, or scheduling of events. You get the picture.

Free yourself up to focus on the areas that allow you to really grow your business.

 

 

 

“I See You”

One of the gifts I feel like I can give people, particularly women, is sight.  As women, we are often our harshest critics, and we take for granted our uniqueness and talent. We assume that everyone can do what we do or learn what we know. We don’t see that our habits, skills, experience or knowledge might actually be extremely valuable to someone else who doesn’t have our same “goods.”

Do You See What I See?

I like telling women what I see in them.  What makes them special.  What they are doing well.  I can put into concrete language what others just experience when around them. It’s really not superficial flattery. I consider it an honest assessment, which is sometimes so obvious that it is invisible to the owner.

One of my friends recently made me smile when she said, “I was just going about my business, and you turned on the light and said, ‘I see you.’” I had the privilege of sparking a dream in her heart that continues to grow. I look forward to seeing where it leads, as her own uniqueness can benefit hundreds of women in wonderful ways.

Joy in the Journey

I also understand that we are all somewhere along a journey. None of us have arrived, but some women didn’t even know there was a journey to be had or that they qualified to even take one. I love being the one that sees something special in a woman – something hidden to many, often behind messes, chaos, and rough edges. But that, in a sense offers them a ticket to take a step along that journey.

Why do I share all this? Because I am finally starting to “see” myself. This really is what working with “Sonya Dalrymple” is about. I gain great joy from helping women start along their “dream” journey, as well as helping women with existing businesses really grow their network, influence, and revenue.

That’s what someone special “saw” in me several years ago. I’m grateful.

What do you think others “see” in you? Are there special women in your own life what could benefit from knowing what you “see” in them?

 

 

Live in Your Sweet Spot

My husband and I have been playing more tennis lately.  I’ve had to re-familiarize myself with my swing after several months off.  It is astounding to me what a difference it makes in my hit when the ball connects with the “sweet spot” on the racket.  It is solid, controlled, and powerful.

As a business owner, we can experience the same successful “hits” when we connect with our natural sweet spot of talent.

Do you know your sweet spot?

It’s that place where time and space are clear and fun.  The problem has an obvious solution to you.  You move fast and free.

I love helping people find and live in that space.

Over the years, we have become experts in a specialized “strengths test.”  We’ve consulted with many people to help them understand their strengths and become more aware of their blind spots.

As most books on this topic will affirm, the important “aha” moment happens when people decide to just live in their sweet spot as much as possible instead of continually striving to improve their weaknesses.  Better to delegate and trust them to someone else to whom they are strengths!

Typical Owner Profiles

I’ve come to quickly spot all different personality profiles based on a few minutes of just listening to what people share and how they share it.  As an owner, you likely fit one of the following descriptions:

1.  Creative Designer – You have clear vision and see all opportunities.  You can create repeatable systems and processes for your business.  You lead yourself and others well.

2.  Persuader – You rally others to a cause.  You can sell anyone anything if you wanted to.  You enjoy living in your dreams and seeing dreams come true for others.

3.  Supportive Helper -You enjoy organizing for other people’s success.  You clearly see ways that your knowledge and expertise can help others in a way that is tangible and valuable.

4.  Influencing Designer – Your mind is always moving with tons of ideas.  You are highly energetic, great with people, and extremely innovative.

Outside the Sweet Spot

When we identify our sweet spots and accept their limitations, a natural byproduct of that acceptance is freedom.  We can feel freedom to hand off those areas that we find more tedious, frustrating, or even impossible.

A creative designer will eventually want someone else to manage and run the systems they created.  A persuader will need someone to set up those repeatable systems so that they are not just living from one unique sale to the next.  A supportive helper will want someone to help set vision and goals and also make the hard calls.  And an influencing designer will need a team to carry out their ideas and set parameters to make sure they can become a reality.

Let us know if you’d like to identify your own sweet spot.

Do you feel you are working in your sweet spot or your weak spot?

 

 

One Thing

So, what is it?

What is that one thing that you could read, think, write, or talk about for hours.  What type of “work” feels fun and enjoyable to you?  When you have 50 emails in your inbox to answer, which topics do you jump to answer first?

What type of knowledge or help do friends seek you out for?

Over the years, my husband and I have had countless hours of dialogue around living and working in your “sweet spot.”  There are multiple books out there that can help you really think about your “strengths,” your “personality” or your “style.”  And while the books and tests can be valuable – especially as you move forward in building your business – even without them, I have a feeling that you already just know. You know it in your gut.

You might just be too close to it, though, to really name it.  To really call it out.

That’s where husbands and best friends and family can help.  You can ask them about that “one thing” that just comes so naturally to you.  So easily, that it would seem like robbery to charge someone for it.

But it is that exact thing that should be what you most identify as valuable enough to charge for it.

Others will recognize the value as well, once you take the courageous steps to believe it inherently.

 

Recharge

Do you remember taking the Myers Briggs Test? I think I was in college when I took it, and I found that I was an INFJ. Being a very friendly, over-involved student, I was a bit surprised at the “Introvert” label, until I read the explanation. While I love being around people and growing friendships, I get “recharged” by being alone, retreating, being introspective. Then, I’m ready to take on the world again.

It’s interesting now seeing that in light of the “Style of Influence” or “Strengths” test that we use with our customers. One of the measurements is along a “cognitive scale.” The higher you fall on the scale (1-100), the more abstractly your mind works. A more “abstract” person enjoys dialogue around ideas, opinions, philosophies, values. I am very, very low on the scale (6!), and as a result am VERY concrete – “I mean what I say, and I say what I mean.” ;) I like wrapping my mind around events, activities, tangible, committed things, even feelings. I listen to what exactly people say. I make a great copyeditor because I care about how concepts and ideas are communicated in specific words. I am drawn to concrete language, definitions, and quotes – and use that to tie me into important values and concepts.

I enjoyed a fun dinner with a friend the other night who has also taken “the test” and was very, very high on the cognitive scale. She, another “introvert” said she is recharged when she reads books or listens to radio shows that fill her mind with new ideas or concepts she resonates with. That’s when I started putting things together. My best friend had mentioned it a long time ago, “you know how you like to listen to music to recenter or recharge you; books and new ideas do that for me.” She’s another “high-cognitive introvert” friend. She loves to read or listen to TED talks or sermons or watch documentaries to fuel her “idea tank.” And in effect, her emotional “tank.” I started thinking that all “high-cognitive, introverted” people might be the same.  And also that to know that as a mom and accept that and seek that out would be so helpful.

As a mom, I do find it quite inconvenient to be an introvert because the little ones around are constant, but I just have to work harder at finding those small pockets of time to recharge, vs. longer hours of quiet. Those days will be here again, and I will miss these for sure. One of the ways I “recharge” is by listening to music by myself – in particular to beautiful music with powerful words. I like poetry and quotes probably for the same reason. I love to read as well, but what I find myself looking for are those great quotes within the narrative or explanation of ideas. I can hang on to those specific things to noodle on and pull inspiration from.

How do you recharge?  I think it is so important to know.  As a mom and wife especially, we can be more engaged, patient, loving, and kind when our emotional tanks are full.  And as a worker, we can be more productive and effective when inspired.

Balance

I have come to the conclusion that some people were designed with more of a need for balance and order in their lives, and others can function smoothly in chaos and unpredictability.  Some people are more “off the cuff” or “go with the flow” while others need plans and schedules.  For those who know me, it is obvious that I lean more towards the need for planning and organization.  However, since I am married to someone completely opposite of me, I often find myself caught between two strong pulls.

I’m grateful for it.  Because the longer I live, the more I come to realize that life does not fit into nice schedules.  I didn’t plan for my neighbor to need us one night close to midnight so she could check on her son in the hospital.  I don’t plan for hormones and emotional swings, but the reality is that they affect my days and productivity.  I can never foresee which child or friend might be in need of something – minor or major.  And it’s really hard to “plan” fun.   Those wonderful experiences and memories often happen in the middle of the mundane events, if I just take the opportunity to seize them instead of pushing forward to the next task.

But sometimes, life feels like it’s just dragging me along with a trail of disarray behind me.  Project lists, laundry piles, messy floors, unchecked lesson plans, sleepy kids, and cluttered inbox.  Instead of focusing on all the wonderful things that came out of the “dragging along,” I focus on what was left undone.  And it bums me out for a day or so. This is a recurring cycle.  Usually, I end up feeling overwhelmed.

However, over time, I have begun – with baby steps – to understand that life is more like nature with its seasons and tides than like man-made scales. I always get a picture of waves – my need to rise and “fall” with the tides – instead of trying to create my own man-made lake. Inevitably, windows of time open up to tackle all of the little things that give me that sense of order or “security.” Instead of trying to “balance” it all, I am most at peace and find most joy and fulfillment when I have let go and instead appreciate the here and now.

Check out this cartoon and post from Hugh McLeod at Gaping Void: