Chance Meetings

chance meetings

I am a hopeless romantic. I love movies like Serendipity where two people meet and “re-meet” each other because of a series of chance encounters or click moments.

I personally keep my eyes wide open for these moments and have a secret delight when I’m in the middle of the experience. To me, they seem like a divine gift, since there’s no way I could have orchestrated the meeting myself.

The thing is, in the moment, I have no idea how the relationship will unfold for the long-haul. I have inklings of potential opportunities, but you never know.

So, I’ve learned to start seeing every new introduction as a potential opportunity. Here are a few things I’m learning:

Be Friendly and Engaging – So many of us are just content to check-out on our devices on social media or catch up with emails for work during any free moment. It takes more effort to push through those distractions, but it’s worth it to strike up conversation instead – in line at the coffee-shop, on public transportation, on a hike, or on a plane. It would be a tragedy if your next best friend, awesome client or business partner was sitting next to you and you never met them.

Value Resonance – We don’t naturally connect with every single person we meet, and that’s normal. But when conversation is easy, when I can sense shared values and alignment, I try to lean in longer. It usually happens because of shared interests and an apparent effort to offer ideas, introductions or resources into each other’s lives.

We met a very successful young entrepreneur just recently on our flight back to Denver, and he shared that in his interviews, he looks for people who “add energy” vs. “take energy.” Don and I can more easily spot “energy takers” now in our older years, and we really seek to align with “energy givers” as that is what we try to be in any situation ourselves.

Get Contact Info and Follow-Up – Unlike the movie Serendipity, I don’t want to bet my future contact with this new connection on a piece of paper that may blow away in the wind or trust that maybe one day, we’ll just cross paths again. No, it’s important to share email or social media info and then make an immediate effort to follow-up. If it’s personal, make an invitation for a coffee date or work-out. If it’s business, find ways to add value and try to meet again.

I believe that life is a mixture of “luck” and effort, and meeting new people is a beautiful intersection of both. What potential opportunities will we get to experience today if we expect them and keep our eyes wide open for them? Would love to hear about yours!

First Impressions and the Long Haul

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Ever notice that in some friendships, when you really get to know someone, you tend to stop paying attention to or caring about those minor outward traits like what they are wearing or how they styled their hair? When you might have seen someone who was “sloppy” or “nerdy” or “loose,” or even “polished” or “trendy” or “classy” – all you now see and care about is that they are a real person to you, your friend.

In my own friendships, I try to get there are quickly as I can, to dig beneath the surface, asking good questions to really get to know them. And I try to discard all the properness or formality to visits or dinners, in order to diminish any friction that would keep us from just being able to get together at a moment’s notice.

It’s interesting that I have a similar attitude online. I know that people tend to show their “good side” online as much as they can – because they can, and because in many ways if they are in business, they should. But I also really try to get to know the person behind the brand, the story that explains the reasons why, the words that others share about the difference they’ve made. I appreciate sites that make it easy for me to do that.

And so in creating website systems for others, that’s how I try to steer people as well. Be real. Be clear. Make a great first impression. But know that you are in it for the long haul. Continue reading First Impressions and the Long Haul

Grow Your Mindset

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Have you read this book – Mindset, by Carol Dweck – before? I’ve heard of it for years but decided to plunge in and read it this month. I gained many insights from it and have really tried to think about my own mindsets – especially around money, growth, and success.

I am someone that cares greatly about the “full development of human potential.” When I read that in the description of my Meyers-Briggs personality test (INFJ), I cracked up laughing because it was spot on. I LOVE watching people step into who they were made to be and go after big things. I totally enjoy being a part of the growth process with them, cheering them on and supporting them personally and professionally. I understand that the process is often “messy,” working through challenges and obstacles and not always “getting it right.”

So, I was pretty shocked when reading this book and had to admit that I had more of a fixed mindset than a growth mindset for my own self! What?! I’ve been gypping myself of the gift I was giving others. Obstacles were normal for others, but for myself, for some reason, they were a “sign” to note or steer clear from. I’ve decided that’s not acceptable. Time to step into those challenges for myself again and not just cheer others on from the sidelines.

The fixed mindset does not allow people the luxury of becoming. They have to already be.

The book goes into great detail of the consequences in business and personal life when you adhere to these certain mindsets. There’s obviously great evidence in favor of the benefits of being “growth-minded.” You offer yourself and others more freedom, hence enjoying life more and achieving greater success. You embrace challenges and learn from them instead of “gaming” life towards safer ends. You seek out feedback in order to grow and tend to be more coachable and optimistic. Isn’t that a great way to live?

I’m looking forward to the journey, but understand it can often be easier said than done. For many, it requires a vigilance of becoming aware of the triggers that get you stuck – pulling back from a failure, retreating after identifying an obstacle, talking negatively to yourself – and then choosing to reframe the situation to be seen as one to learn and grow from. Sometimes, it’s being honest about where the fixed mindset may have begun – do you feel like you have to hold onto some image of “smart” or “talented” or “capable” and don’t want to attempt anything that could taint that perception. Sometimes there are even deeper beliefs that need to be aligned in order to free ourselves from the fears or judgments we let our brain dwell on.

Whatever it takes, though, seems like it would be worth the effort and the switch. As the book notes, we are all a mixture of the growth and fixed mindsets in the various areas of our lives. Celebrate those areas where you lean towards the growth mindset and decide if you’d like to move away from any with the fixed mindset beliefs. Who knows the possibilities and new opportunities that await for you in business, health, relationships, and life overall!

 

Broken

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Has something ever taken you out of life for a season – perhaps an injury, a loss, or even a bad decision? I can only imagine as shock starts to slowly bleed into reality. “This is real. This is happening.”  It’s probably like watching a movie and wishing you could push rewind to rewrite the script or get a do-over as in Groundhog Day. 

This last month, our daughter Jadyn broke two bones in her arm from a fall off a rail snowboarding at Copper Mountain with her team. While we were grateful that it was only a broken bone, we were also all so very disappointed because of what it would mean for Jadyn – time off of training in the snow.

She was really heartbroken. She had been training well during pre-season and was looking forward to continuing the momentum in an awesome season with her coaches and friends. But now she was sidelined for 8 weeks. She was worried that it would put her behind, was sad for all the fun memories she’d miss, and just bummed about the inconvenience of a limited “10 pound” weight on her dominant hand!

As a mom, it was difficult to walk that fine line of being strong for her, being understanding and letting her grieve, and also trying to encourage and point her to a hopeful, positive mindset.

But I was so proud of Jadyn. She walked through those stages of grief and positivity – often waffling between them both within the same minute. 🙂 But eventually, she started to embrace the brokenness and look for the best in the situation. It was not easy, nor did we try to be superficial about it. But it definitely helped get through the day-to-day in life when we chose to see the good. Continue reading Broken

Stuck?

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Do you feel “stuck” in any way? In your career? Emotionally? Health-wise? Relationally?

Last week I had the surprise “honor” of getting my car stuck in the snow.

I had just dropped off my kids at the bus stop and decided to try to make my way up the bank as I had done many days before…Except this time there was snow. I had a new vehicle with 4 wheel drive, so I thought I was fine…Until I started slipping backwards! I learned later that the entire bus saw the whole thing, which was a little embarrassing to my kids (but hey, all kids need a good dose of embarrassment every so often!).

My vehicle ended up getting wedged between two rocks on the left side, and I didn’t feel confident about maneuvering over them, so I just waited. I waited ’til the bus left and all the other cars went on their way. Then I tried a little more on my own, to no avail and then decided to call for help. Unfortunately, Don was away on business in Chicago, so I was on my own.

I saw that my oldest son Gabe had texted and called to make sure I was okay. I called him back, and I think I would get stuck all over again to hear the love and concern and maturity from him.

He asked if I was okay and if I needed him to come back to help. I said I was fine, and he said, “Are you sure? I could be there in an hour.” I don’t know what he was planning, but I figured he thought he could get off at the next bus stop and run home or get off in Breck and take the Summit Stage back home to come to my rescue. Regardless, I kinda got choked up knowing that he really meant it and would do it if I needed him to.

But I was fine. I knew I would get unstuck. Just wasn’t exactly sure how.

Well, long story short, while I was waiting for my friend who lived up the road, another gentleman in a huge truck came by and asked if I needed help. Another man had asked before, and I made the mistake of saying that someone was on their way. This time, I said, “Yes, please!”

He assessed the situation and told me how to move my wheels. He got down on his belly and moved the big rock around the front wheel, told me to just roll right over the big rock behind me, and Voila, I was free! It was the best feeling in the world!!!! I wanted to roll right back up the hill in my excitement, but used my better judgment and took the regular route and made it back home.

I couldn’t tell you how happy and grateful I was to just be back home with my car in the garage. Such a mundane thing that meant the world to me!

And it just got me thinking about the whole concept of being “stuck” in life. Usually it’s not your car. Often it’s our emotions, finances, or health. Or our dreams and pursuits.

Have you ever felt like that? Like you just weren’t sure what to do next? You’ve been trying lots of solutions but not really making any progress forward.

Here are a couple things I was reminded of in my own experience:

  1. When feeling stuck, always believe there is a way out. I knew my car would not stay there forever. I believed it could be moved. I just wasn’t sure how.
  2. Ask for help. There are people who know more than you do. Who have gone before you. Who know which way to turn the wheels and who are strong enough to move those rocks in your way. Accept their help. And look for ways to repay them back tenfold in gratitude.
  3. Appreciate those who care. Often during those hard, “stuck” times, the ones who love you express their care and concern. Have eyes to appreciate them and remind yourself that you are not alone. Gabe made my day that morning.
  4. Learn from your “mistakes.” If there was a decision in particular or a pattern of habits that got you stuck, don’t go back and do that again! Why get stuck AGAIN? Embrace your freedom and use it to go after bigger and better things in life.

We have a long winter ahead of us. I can’t guarantee that I won’t get stuck again somewhere, but I know that I won’t get stuck in that same spot, that’s for sure!

If you’re feeling stuck somehow in life, and there’s a way that I can help – please reach out and let me know. Maybe I can offer the wisdom or perspective that can get you moving in the right direction again – or just the care and concern to remind you that you are not alone. Happy to help!

Managing a Digital Business

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Don and I have worked with business owners around the country for years, helping them to grow their business through strategy and sales and marketing systems. Creating and executing systems around prospecting, nurturing, follow-up, closing and servicing is most important but can be challenging.

However, a few simple habits along with a commitment to a set of basic digital tools can help you be most effective in growing your business. It also affords you the luxury of working from anywhere! We prioritize fun and adventure as a family, and so we like systems that allow us the freedom and efficiency in order to play a lot!

We choose to use Google Apps to manage our business. Here are a few tips you may find helpful:

Google Contacts

Your contact list is your biggest asset, so treat it accordingly. Take some time over a weekend and do a “deep clean,” to make sure it is updated. If you are missing a new cell number, physical address or email and are connected to them via Facebook or Instagram, reach out for the info and make sure to update it right away.  Delete those names of people you just can’t seem to remember.

Keep your contact list useful. One of the best ways to do this is choose a few simple groupings to organize them. And then each day, spend a few minutes reviewing your lists. Who do you need to reach out to? Who should you add to your Prospect list? Star 5 contacts that you want to connect with today and then reach out with a phone call, a relevant article, a valuable referral, or even a surprise gift. Be creative in the ways you add value to people’s lives.

Google Calendar

The critical piece of any sale is a conversation in person. It’s important to dialogue to build trust and genuinely seek to discover the areas you can help.

Sometimes it works to just pick up the phone and call someone randomly, but most people do not like to be interrupted these days by phone. One young consultant from England shared humorously that her first thought when she gets a phone call is, “Is someone dead!? Did someone die?!” That’s the severity of a call to some people!

Better to try and text/email first and then schedule a phone call, Zoom call, or coffee date. Google Calendar works beautifully and syncs with all your devices. You can set it to automatically send a reminder right before the meeting. This keeps your interactions professional and also allows you both to set aside the time and attention to really focus on the product or opportunity at hand.

Be thorough in your calendar invite description – add the location and address or personalize the Zoom invitation and add any necessary attachments. Make it easy for your guest to have the info they need for the meeting.

Then deliver a killer presentation that genuinely connects, and make sure to follow up with an email summarizing your main point and next step. This keeps the ball in your court and moves the sale along.

Google Drive

We are paperless as a business and family. I use Google Drive to store all of my important documents, and I have a special folder for resources that I need to share easily with other consultants or prospects. I have the App on my phone for easy access as well.

Google Tasks

You can use Google Tasks as your “brain dump” to remember those random ideas that come to mind or things you’d like to do one day. But it’s best to also have a list or two that is very functional and that you can commit to. I have a “Daily” list as well as “Important” among others. I appreciate the “GoTasks” App also that syncs with my phone so I can access my lists from anywhere.

These powerful tools really do work to give you business results. However, your commitment and consistency will be what really determines your success with them. For some people, organizing and maintaining these systems is natural and easy. For others, it’s more challenging because of their personality and bent. We’ve found it very helpful to walk people through a Strength’s Test and Consultation so they can better understand their tendencies, and we can offer creative solutions that fit their style. Would be happy to share more if interested!

 

Best Way to Learn

…is to just jump in and do it. There are many people (myself included sometimes!) who are more comfortable taking their time, thinking about things, planning, and preparing for a situation.

And that is great. But honestly, the best way to learn how to do something is to just do it. I’ve seen this personally this month with a few things like tennis and snowboarding – and have seen this play out in business multiple times over.

I think it’s because the pressure makes us step up with a higher level of focus. When we do not have to “perform” or compete, we can be a little more lax with ourselves. In addition, reality is the best teacher. Everything is theoretical when we are in practice-mode. You discount real-time feedback or the various new emotions involved that can steer a situation.

Sure, there is that moment of fear or feeling like we are not ready yet – but once we get over that feeling, it really isn’t as difficult as we may have imagined. And really, what have we got to lose? Only much knowledge and new skills to gain!

 

Morning Routines

How do you start your day?

As for myself, I had been pretty unpredictable over the last several years of life, and would just jump into a work/homeschool/life juggling act each day. Often times, before mid-morning, I’d feel like the day had “gotten away from me.”

Over the last month or so, I’ve returned to a beautiful new habit – waking up earlier than everyone in the house and enjoying an intentional morning routine. I’ve found that it helps me to more eagerly actually get out of bed, as I look forward to those precious quiet moments. I don’t check my phone or email. But I spend some time reading, meditating, journaling, and even stretching or doing some simple exercises. It centers me for the day and helps to give me perspective. I feel more prepared and focused to tackle the variety of tasks and appointments that fill each day.

I began this as a way to get out of an emotional rut I had been in for a few weeks, and found it to be critical for change. But now that I have been practicing it for over a month, I see how it is great for continued growth in all areas of life – business and personal. I’d recommend to people in both situations – those who feel that life is out of control (in any particular or all areas) or those who are content in life but wanting to push towards new growth and bigger dreams.

One resource to start with is The Miracle Morning which gives some practical ideas for how to fill those first minutes of our day. I’d love to hear what your mornings are like and if any questions you have about kick-starting your days more intentionally.

 

Testing a Concept

As opposite as we are, Don and I are very similar when it comes to starting something new. We “test” the water before we jump all in.

Now, we are definitely not the type of people that test, test, test, test, and never really get wet because honestly, they never totally intended to in the first place. Those types are usually full of fear or need extremely high guarantees of success before they do anything.

But as an engineer and a refiner, we do enjoy building things well – companies and websites that really hit the mark.

So, we usually start small. Once there is enough evidence to demonstrate an owner’s commitment to a new idea, project, or company, we get as much information from them as possible to understand the needs and opportunities.

We map things out and set up the foundation well. Sometimes this is a branded website or new sales process.

Then we make sure there is actually a viable market for the particular service or company by testing it well. As we get feedback from the prospective clients or market, we tweak the content, layout, sales or service process with lightning speed to try and nail the target with greater success each time.

It’s really a fun way to work. Much less risk and investment on the part of our clients since we take away the pressure of the “if you build it, they will come” mentality.

Writer’s Block

I spend a lot of time working with professionals around writing and sharing their ideas online.

We help companies grow their revenue through building trust with prospects and keeping that trust with customers. One big part of that trust is grown through writing and sharing valuable content on their sites.

Sometimes it is easy for them to just sit down and write. They have earned a knowledge base through their experiences and research and can usually compose an article that connects with their audience fairly quickly.

But other times, it seems difficult to come up with a new topic.

What to do?

After the tried and true tips of going for a walk, exercising, or “clearing the decks,” I suggest thinking through the details of the week: Continue reading Writer’s Block