Discover Your Strengths to Achieve Your Goals

D

Evergreen Life & Wellness Coaching

Suzanne Levy, CMC, CHWC, CPPC, NBC-HWC

Associate Certified Coach, International Coach Federation

Do you use your innate strengths and talents to achieve your aims?  Do you even know what they are? Most people don’t! All of us have gifts – special abilities and assets that we were either born with or have developed over time.

This presentation will help you begin to recognize and uncover the unique Signature Strengths everyone has.  Research shows that discovering and learning how to best utilize one’s innate gifts and talents – what positive psychologists have labelled signature strengths –

  • enhances life satisfaction and well-being;
  • supports learning and creativity;
  • helps individuals identify personal values and sense of purpose;
  • aids in develop increased self-awareness and self-efficacy; and,
  • boosts positive accomplishment.

This free workshop is designed as an introduction to Positive Psychology and:

  1. Identifying top strengths and talents and learning how to use them to move forward toward goals;   
  2. Discover blocks that might prevent you from moving forward, and learn ways to begin to overcome them;  
  3. Learn how to create more of what you want in your life and less of what you don’t want;   
  4. Learn practical tools and strategies that help develop a focused, strengths-based approach to making positive choices personally, socially and academically; and,
  5. Set yourself up for success, personally and professionally.  

When:  Wednesday, April 11, 2018; 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Where:  32065 Castle Court, Suite 325, Evergreen, CO  80439

Questions?  Email me at suzanneylevy@gmail.com; Evergreen Life and Wellness Coaching, P.O. Box 206, Evergreen, Colorado, 80437; 303-670-7863.

“Success is achieved by developing our strengths,

not by eliminating our weaknesses.”

~ Marilyn vos Savant

Are You Ready?

I usually spend at least part of December reviewing the year just past and planning for the year to come.  I try to reflect on what went well, what didn’t go as well as hoped, and how I might approach things differently in the future.  I’ve learned not to be as afraid of so-called “failures” as I might have been in earlier years, because I believe nothing is wasted.  Things that may not have worked out as originally planned have often led me to new learning and insight and, just as often, a new commitment or opportunity.  So it’s all good.

I’ve don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions simply because, at least for me, I know that if it’s time to make a change, any day of the year will work if I’m ready to commit. If I’m not ready, really ready, to make a change and do whatever it takes to follow through, a date on the calendar isn’t going to do it.  But that’s me.  The idea of a new year, a clean slate, is appealing to many and can be a benchmark to get started.  Research in goal setting shows that the more specific a goal is, the better the chance of attainment.  If January 1st works as your target date, by all means, go for it.  It’s important, though, to make sure your goal is realistic, and that you have the support you need to set yourself up for success.  That’s true of any goal-setting strategy.  This isn’t really about New Year’s resolutions, though.  There will be lots of articles written about that this time of year.

What I wanted to talk about here is commitment and what that means.  Because, make no mistake, real change requires commitment.  And commitment often requires work of the hardest kind.  It requires planning, dedication and determination.  It requires doing things you don’t always feel like doing and continuing when you want to just throw in the towel.  It’s hard stuff.  I know from personal experience. I’ve been there more than a few times.  Change isn’t easy.  And what can be even harder is staying changed, maintaining those hard-won victories over ourselves.  The good thing is that change, real change, change that sticks, can happen.  And getting through whatever it takes to get there is worth it.  So, commitment – are you willing to commit?  That’s the real question.  Because once you commit, really commit, reaching your goal is just a matter of time.

Designing Your New Business – Part II: Your Home Office

In my last article, I gave you my perspective and philosophy on what goes into planning a successful business. In this Part II, I want to get practical and talk about what you need, in equipment, attitude and good habits, so you can set yourself up for success.

The First Trap – Overspending

First of all, please don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to have a fancy home office, expensive furniture, the latest computer, software and office equipment to be successful. Remember, it’s your business idea coupled with the ability to locate and sell to those who want and need your product or service that determines the viability of your business…not how much you spent on that impressive modern glass and steel desk. Some of the most successful businesses in the world, including Microsoft and Apple, were started simply.  Many entrepreneurs have started businesses in a corner of their kitchen or living room.

Having said that, I do want to emphasize that your working environment is extremely important. Having a comfortable, well lighted and organized space that is solely dedicated to your business will go a long way in setting you up for success.  If you will have clients coming in person to your home office, you do want to make it an attractive and professional space.

designingyourhomeoffice

Business equipment will vary, depending on the nature of your business. Most home-based consulting, coaching or service professionals need a spacious desk, shelves to store books, a filing system of some kind, and a computer and software, depending on the type of service you provide. In our connected age, reliable and fast internet access is a must, as is an up to date smartphone.

It can be tempting to overspend on equipment and furniture, but not overspending in the beginning means more money you have to put into marketing, and getting new customers and clients. This alone can mean the difference between failure and success.

The Second Trap – Boundary Creep

The second trap into which the home based business owner can easily fall I call boundary creep!  Unless you set clear time boundaries around your work it’s easy to get off track and lose focus before you know it.  Clear work rules are essential.  Successful entrepreneurs who work from home will tell you they have had to set up a clear and regular structure for their day.  Yes, you will have flexibility working for yourself but you also need discipline.  Decide on a work schedule that makes sense for your life and stick to it.

Set daily office hours for yourself, with a definite start and stop time and then politely but firmly enforce them.  Unless you have a deadline driven project to complete, try not to work on the weekends. Like many of my clients, you may find that you have  to not only be firm with friends and family during your work time, but also with yourself.  If you do this from the outset, though, you will reap the rewards in terms of increased productivity, satisfaction, and business growth.

Most of us have had the experience of falling prey to the Law of Task Expansion, which goes something like this: a task will expand in proportion to the time available to complete it. This goes double for those of us who work at home!

If you have worked for someone else and have been accustomed to having a ‘boss’ to answer to, you may be in for a rude awakening when you begin to work for yourself. Keeping an organized daily calendar with a schedule and defined work periods will keep you away from the time drift that engulfs so many home business owners.

The Third Trap – It’s A Pajama Party!

Personal preference varies, but I like to dress for work instead of staying in my proverbial pj’s and I advise coaching clients to do the same. A benefit of working from home is not having to dress up in business attire every day but wearing comfortable, casual clothes instead of slouching around in your robe gives your mind the powerful signal that you are in charge here and that you mean business!

As a new business owner, designing your business so that you maintain balance and boundaries can be a real challenge. I’d love to help support you in designing and developing an efficient and workable structure for your business. As I’ve said before, I believe in designing a business that works for you….one that fits into your lifestyle and enables you to develop and maintain a healthy balance between your business and personal life.  Simply contact me by clicking here to set up a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.  I know the challenges of starting a new business – I’ve been there.  I’m here to help!

Enjoy today!

You’re the Boss – What You Need to Know to Start and Design Your Own Business – Part I

D

Thinking about starting your own business? Congratulations and welcome to the club! Entrepreneurship can be a rewarding way to make a living and perhaps even design a complete career change for yourself. There’s no cap on your income, you get to take control of your own destiny and you have a chance to see your creative ideas come to life. Most importantly…you’re the boss!

That’s good news because it means that you can design your business exactly how you want it to be. For some, being the boss can be bad news as well, because all the responsibility for your success or failure is on your shoulders.  You may have read scary statistics stating that a huge percentage of new businesses fail in the first year.  While that can be alarming, it can also be a signal for you to do your business design and planning right up front so you don’t end up being one of those businesses. Let’s take a look at what goes into planning a successful business.

yourtheboss

First, as a coach, I want to address a common problem.

If you are like many people starting your own business means, at least in the beginning, you are a company of one. This is especially true if you are a coach, consultant, therapist, interior designer, fitness trainer or other service professional who has finally decided to go out on your own. This means you are not only going to be the owner and sole decision maker in the company, you are also going to be marketing your business as well as providing the service to your clients and customers.

As you grow, your ability to wear all these hats at once can quickly become overwhelming. Many new entrepreneurs start with a frenzy of initial marketing to get clients and then stop marketing so they can deliver services to their new clients. As those clients naturally complete or drop away, you may suddenly find that your income has slowed considerably. Panic sets in, so you spend all your time marketing which brings in a new round of clients. Then you stop marketing so you can serve your clients and the feast or famine pattern begins all over again.

How to Get Off the Income Roller Coaster

What can you do to prevent this? Make decisions like you are the boss but work like you are an employee. What this means is that you need to be regularly marketing to keep your pipeline full, as well as be fully engaged in serving your clients. The key is in smart planning, systems – and getting help!

First of all, identify where your clients and customers originate from.  Do they come mainly from referrals? Set up a system to continuously and systematically ask for those referrals. Do you rely on LinkedIn to cultivate clients? Again, you need a structured way to continuously connect with your ideal prospects and a systematized way to reach out to them regularly.

Chances are, your customers or clients are initially going to come from a variety of sources. You can try  different marketing methods when you first start out, but it’s important to narrow those down to the most profitable so your efforts will be as efficient as possible. As soon as you can, invest in an assistant, virtual or otherwise, to help you with marketing and scheduling tasks that can be delegated, which will free you up for more time with your clients and enable you to expand your customer base.

Virtual assistants can be hired as independent contractors on a very part time basis while you get your business up to speed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard new business owners resist hiring an assistant saying, “I can’t afford it!” only to come back around six months later saying they wished they had hired someone to help them sooner.

The Key to a Successful Business

The key to a successful business is planning for sustained growth. This involves a balance between consistent marketing and delivery of your services. Identifying where your customers and clients are coming from, and setting up systems to take advantage of those portals, is essential. Teasing out which tasks in your business can be delegated and hiring an assistant to help you early on will put you ahead of the game.

The truth is you may be the boss but, as a new business owner, designing your business so it functions successfully and without overwhelming you can be challenging.  Successful business owners know when to reach out for help. Early on, I found the help of a business coach invaluable and I still have one today. What’s important is to design a business that works for you…one that fits into your lifestyle and enables you to develop and maintain a healthy balance between your business and personal life.

I’d love to support you in designing your new venture.  I know the challenges of starting a new business – I’ve been there. Simply contact me by clicking here to set up a complimentary consultation. I’m here to help you bring your hopes and dreams into reality!

Surviving the Holidays in a Stressful year

So Thanksgiving is now behind us, and the holidays have officially begun.  For many, the last several months have felt an exceptionally stressful time, no matter what side of the political aisle you may find yourself on. With the holidays now upon us, it may be a  specially good time to take extra special care of ourselves and our loved ones, making sure this season reflects the best of our values and what we hold meaningful. With that in mind, I thought to share some ideas on how to make this season reflective of what may be most important to us, and those we care about, no matter what’s swirling in the world around us.  Whatever your political opinions, this is a time to come together, and share our lives with those we care about.

takecarethisholidayseason

Take care this holiday season…

The current mood in this country has caused many of us to take a step back and re-examine what is important to us, the values we want to live by.  I think the answer of what to do and how to give will be unique to each of us.  As time goes on, what I enjoy most about the holidays are the spirit in the air, and memories of good times with those close to me.  Let your most important values guide your actions and you can’t go wrong.  A few ideas to consider:

  • Send out cards.  Yes, good old-fashioned hand-written cards.  Add a note to let someone know how you feel about them.  Both of you will benefit.
  • Give the gift of experiences.  Research shows that experiences bring people more happiness than material possessions. Tickets to a play, a concert, or a favorite team’s game create lasting memories long after the event is over.
  • Create some new memories or traditions.  A holiday hike, ice skating on Christmas day, or a Christmas eve movie by the fire – whatever brings you together with those you love works.
  • A spa day or afternoon can be a great gift to someone special or a wonderful way to spend time together.
  • Give the gift of learning.  Gourmet  cooking, art classes, music or horseback riding lessons, yoga or dance classes – whatever you think might delight the receiver.  A subscription to an app like Headspace.com or Calm might open the door to the stress-relieving benefits of meditation.  Anything that is personalized to the one you’re giving to is always appreciated.
  • Surprise someone who’s been especially anxious with a self-care basket.  Include lotions, bath salts, essential oils, a diffuser, luxe soaps, pajamas and cozy slippers, a beautiful journal and pen to write with.  The list is endless, and you can tailor it especially to the person you’re gifting.
  • Don’t forget yourself!  It can be as simple as an afternoon or evening home to unwind in the midst of the season, but be sure to include your own self-care in the mix at this busy time of year.
  • Don’t forget those less fortunate.  Adopting a family in need, or stopping by an elderly neighbor’s with a basket of Christmas cookies can remind us of the true spirit of the holiday.  At a time when people may be feeling more apprehension, look for the good you can bring, what you can give.   The world needs it.

I hope you find something in these words that sparks you to find peace, meaning and joy this holiday season.  I would love to hear any additional thoughts, so feel free to leave a comment below– I’ll be sure to respond.

With warm wishes for the best of the season!

Thanksgiving wishes

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it’s a special time in our country to gather with family and friends, and count our many blessings.  One of my favorite things about the holiday season is tradition – those special practices that may be unique to us and our families that have become familiar over time.

At our Thanksgiving dinner, we always try to share something that we are especially grateful for before we begin our meal.  Over time, I have come to realize that at the top of my list are always the people I am surrounded by at the table, family and friends.  Close family and friends (some of whom have become family) are what’s most important for me, followed closely by good health, a comfortable home, delicious food, and all the myriad gifts too numerous to list here.  It’s a time for a gratitude check-in, to acknowledge what we sometimes take for granted.

216863-happy-thanksgiving

So at this time of reflection and gratitude, let me express my thankfulness for all of you – family, friends, clients, and community.  I am blessed to have each and every one of you be a part of my life, and I know that.  One of the most important components of health and longevity is our relationships, our connections to others.  This Thanksgiving please know how grateful I am for you – for your friendship, your place in my life, your support, and for taking the time to read these words.

I wish for you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving holiday, filled with all the good and love your heart can hold.