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Process is My Friend

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I’ve had several discussions with clients around process lately – the uncertainty of needing a process, the distress from lacking a defined process, the anticipated pain, time, energy to figure out a process, and then the sense of relief, ease and confidence once the process is defined. Who knew process could bring so much emotion with it?!

For years in my professional life, process brought up a lot of emotion for me as well. I was a creative and I was sure that process would make me seem and work less creatively. I tried to steer clear of process as much as possible. Yet everywhere I seemed to work, I inadvertently became involved (and passionate) about process. Most of the situations were identifying an ineffective process and then creating a much needed improvement for it. I really just wanted to do my job without involving acrobatics every step of the way.

I found myself creating a booklet on how to do my job duties, creating databases to more efficiently gather information and designing new or improved processes for my work groups to follow. I was even assigned as a member to a process improvement team – eek, my worst nightmare! Now, I have since accepted the fact that I am a creative person and also a process junkie – though it did take me nearly a decade to realize this.

A few months ago I read Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie. In a chapter named First There’s Grope, Then There’s Rote, MacKenzie discusses how to maintain creativity and uniqueness by embracing the unknown and chaotic – groping for the answer. He continues to explain that once a routine (or process) is formed, you become rote, predictable, and…..uncreative. Ugh!

So I wasn’t necessarily scared of process, but I was scared of becoming rote. Once I accepted that I could still be creative while passionate about order, I began to truly appreciate its value. Through all my work experiences, I found a way to be creative by using process as a very focused tool.

When used appropriately, defining a process can be super powerful. It can help clarify the unique way of how you do your work – and turn that into a selling point. Process can create guidelines to follow so that you can consistently offer quality work – that is definitely a brand image you want to project to clients. It is a great way to build a strong foundation for your work and effectively get things done.

I am now proud to say that process is my friend.

How about you? Do you love or loath process?

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Find your Spark

match imgs_wordpress.jpgI was in desperate need of some downtime as February rolled around this year. It is a rough month after all the holiday celebrations, plus the not-so-sunny weather. It was a bit quiet, but I guess that was necessary for me. My focus has been on aligning my work better with the other parts of my life – quite frankly that has always been my focus – or struggle.

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.

This Secret of Adulthood, from Gretchen Rubin’s was replaying in my mind all month. So I took the downtime to really help me reflect on what I want my days, weeks and months to look like in all areas of my life. It must have done me some good because I started off March with a refreshed feeling. The hint of Spring can do wonders for an energy boost. Throughout these last couple weeks I have been finding little sparks to build on that energy everywhere it seems – conversations, books, events and client work.

I realized these are the sparks that need to be infused into my schedule regularly. For me, adding consistency but also a variety of perspectives is most important to fuel my mind so I can build upon my ideas. It is similar to when a match is lit. One continues striking the match (consistently), and changes the angle they hold the match and then the amount of pressure they push on the match (switching perspectives) until finally, it catches fire!

I have a little fire burning now and continue to find new ways to add sparks into my days. I am always looking for new sparks though, if you have any please share!

How do you find your sparks?

Money = Broccoli

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A few months ago, I read an article from Entrepreneur that is still sticking with me. There was a specific tip that really changed my perspective on my finances.

Know that making money is like making broccoli.

 

Money = Broccoli?! Yup!

So basically, instead of getting hung up on money — treat it like you would the food in your fridge. Use what you have, you can always get more.

Money in general can be very scary. For me, parting with my money is a struggle sometimes. I like the security of seeing all those dollars saved up for when “just in case” happens. While that is a great mentality to have, I sometimes miss out on a lot as well. (Still kicking myself for not splurging on the Katy Perry concert tickets.)

I love the idea of knocking down the power of money and turning it into a vegetable! Long ago, vegetables were more valuable than a piece of metal or paper anyways – check out Deepak’s similar thoughts on money and wealth.

I believe the way for me to get past the fear is to build realistic goals for the future that are aligned with my core values. I can do that by asking myself if what I want to do with my money provides growth for me, my family, my business, etc. Those goals can be reflected in my financial budgeting plan so I can easily identify if I am making a beneficial investment, while still being mindful of my money.

We have been talking financials and work all week in the Review Reflect Relaunch 2016 Program and learning bunches. As we paused to capture what happened over the past year, this is what has come up:

  • It seems easier to ignore finances than deal with them
  • Facing how we interact with our finances is actually empowering – not scary!
  • Our relationships between work and money are closely tied together
  • It is important to remember that the value of our work is defined by much more than money
  • Mindful investments – whether monetary or other types – contribute most to our growth

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How do you interact with your money?

Not sure what your money story is? Check out this link or this money personality link.

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#RelaunchMy2016

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We are five days into the new year. How are your plans going for 2016?!

I feel very ready to relaunch into my year, yet my mind seems to be in slow motion. Possibly from my lingering head cold or not getting enough sleep? Or it could be that I still have not completed my year-end review – Oops! I have been so busy conducting reviews for everyone else and preparing for my  year-in-review workshops…. I am not practicing what I preach.

I have been taking little steps to gear up for the new year – researching new doctors, finding strength exercises, creating a business budget, scheduling calls with social media consultant, etc. But the one thing I know is hanging me up – I haven’t looked back to 2015 to really accept what happened. It is all still replaying in my brain – over and over and over again.

So I am putting it out there. I will conduct my year-end review by the end of this week. Someone please hold me accountable to this!

In the meantime, I would love to hear how all of you plan to relaunch your life this year. Leave a comment below or post in the #RelaunchMy2016 contest happening over on Instagram – share what you need to relaunch and you could win a FREE registration to the Review Reflect Relaunch Online Program which starts next Tuesday.

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Interested in participating in a visual review of your past year? I offer individual sessionsbusiness review workshops and a new interactive online program to review 2015.

Sign up for the Passionate Do-Gooder e-newsletter to receive special promotions and tips.

 

Value of Looking Back

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Recently, I was asked to participate in an interview about year-end reviews. One of the questions asked was why is a year end-review so important. Although, I am a huge proponent of conducting yearly reviews, I often skip over the explanation of why a review is important and assume others already know. I do recall my skepticism of reviews long ago though, so I am sharing my thoughts on why you should take the time to complete a review of your past year and how you can get started.

The close of a year seems to be a natural reset for many of us. Our year ends with a celebration of the past and a mindset to welcome in a fresh start. We tend to move so quickly through daily life sometimes we don’t slow down to realize what is actually happening in the present moment. A review allows us to capture what we may have forgotten, whether intentional or not.

I believe much of our growth is formed from a combination of our actual experiences and the acceptance of those experiences. When we pause to acknowledge what occurred in the past (good or bad) we are really letting go and making room for new experiences, connections and opportunities in the future.

Year-end reviews are as much about planning for the future as they are reflecting on the past. When we know what we want to do, we feel in control of our life and ultimately we can make better choices because of it. There is less of a chance you will feel indecisive or stuck if you already know the direction you want to go in.

Although, I find Visual Reviews to be most effective – because of the accountability, guidance and of course the visual maps – the important thing is that you give yourself the space to review and learn so you can plan for future growth.

Here are some tips if you want to conduct your own year-end review:

  1. Collect reference materials. If you haven’t given your year much thought yet, you probably have forgotten what you actually did. Start by reviewing your calendars (electronic or paper) which hopefully has meetings, appointments, and events captured. If you use social media, many create a mini review of the year for you around this time – reference these to help trigger your memory.
  1. Document Chronologically. Once you have the reference materials handy, start documenting what happened. The easiest way is to move through the calendar from January to December. Write down appointments, events and milestones for each month.
  1. Find a lesson. Documenting your year is only the first step in the process. Once you know what happened, think about the successes and challenges faced during each month. Note how you feel and what you learned from each.
  1. Create a Plan. The lessons your learned hopefully helped to identify some things you want to do again and others you want to steer clear of. Start creating a plan for your new year with actions you can take to keep doing what worked and to stop what didn’t work for you.

Wishing you a Happy New Year full of Clarity, Control and Direction!

Interested in participating in a visual review of your past year? I offer individual sessions, business review workshops and a new interactive online program to review 2015.

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Interested in receiving special promotions and tips. Sign up for the Passionate Do-Gooder e-newsletter.