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[DOUBLE DIAMOND] TIP: Too Busy To Slow Down? Doubt It.

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I have been taking it really easy lately which is definitely a good thing. I’ve been cranking out some work, and admittedly, I’ve been recuperating from too much over-indulgence.

There’s definitely something to be said for stopping.  Just stopping whatever you’re doing and getting present.

I received an email from a friend and potential business partner this afternoon that screamed ‘overwhelmed’ to me. I’ve been there so many times, so I know. You could just tell from her writing — the anxiety and hurried wording in just her first paragraph.

It certainly made me take pause to send peace her way.

Sometimes nature makes you take pause, like right now.

Although I’ve arrived at my destination, it’s raining pretty hard outside. So, I’ve turned off the engine, turned off the lights, turned off the radio, turned off the iphone. And for the past 10 minutes, I‘ve just listened to the sound of the raindrops on the roof. It’s awesome to take the time to observe, really observe, those happy, dancing raindrops trickle and burst down the window pane.

This moment of bliss was so inspirational that I decided to write about it and share it with you, just in case you’re too busy to slow down yourself.  Hopefully you can close your eyes and at least imagine it.

It also feels like I’m in a cocoon of sorts, observing the outer world. My false perception is that no one can observe me back. I just watched a guy in a bright red raincoat and flip flops leisurely walk his yellow lab. The rain doesn’t bother him a bit. A few minutes past that, I observed a full-blown argument taking place between a stressed out couple in their car. The rain must bother them a lot.

It seems like we don’t have time, but we can make time if we really want to, especially time for ourselves. Just steal some moments like I’m doing now. I believe it’s important to take a pause out of the hectic and come back to the peace.

The ten minutes of raindrops have been music to my ears. I’m glad I’m learning to stay present. 

The street lights just came on. My roommate just came home.  And I need to pee.  So with my spirit renewed, I’m ready to dash to the door.  But at least for the past few minutes, I exhaled. And it was nice.


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~ by Connie Hammond ~

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CAUTION: Don’t Hide Behind Your Computer

Are you launching an online business? Heed these warnings that will save you time and money. Tip: Don’t hire a website developer too soon.
For most of this year, I’ve been hunkered down, hidden behind my Dell laptop screen.

I’ve been working day and night in order to lay a solid foundation for my Resort Lifestyle Network business.  I’ve been building websites from scratch.  I’ve been doing lots of research. I’ve been writing a lot of content.  I’ve been playing around with graphic design and branding. I’ve been taking lots of online courses.  I’ve been building databases. I’ve been putting systems in place.

In other words, I’ve become a loner.

Anyone who knew me prior to 2011 would never have called me a loner.  Throughout my life, I’ve been told over and over again about my outgoing personality…that I never meet a stranger….that I’m a total extrovert…that I’m a natural born salesperson.

Anyone who has met me this year would probably say I’m some weird loser geek who sits and stares at a computer screen all day long and has no life.

Your Online vs. Offline Personality

So, which personality am I?  A little of both, I suppose.

I’m afraid living on the web really has more impact on who we are than we’re willing to admit.

This morning, my loner self chose to engage with a friend who’s having some difficulty in her real-world job.  Her struggles come from being a 43 year old Chatty Cathy living in a 28 year old Loner Larry environment.  She finds it extremely odd that her colleagues come into work, put on their headphones and stare at a computer screen all day vs. engaging with her face-to-face.

Her current office environment, albeit different from mine at the moment, resonated with me. So much so, that it left me pondering one very disturbing question.

Have I actually joined the Loner Larry crowd?

Now that I’m almost done with laying the foundation of my business, I’m gearing up for the promotion stage.  These natural business transitions are definitely a good time to stop and reflect before barreling into the next phase.

What I didn’t expect to happen during this brief period of reflection was that fear would envelop me.

Overcoming Fear

It’s natural to feel apprehensive when you bring your ideas to market.  After all, no one likes to be judged.  But my fear had more to do with the question:

What if I’ve lost my offline mojo?

As Brad Hunter wrote in the Subtle Benefits of Face to Face Communication:

“Online interactions often provide anonymity and an ability to present ourselves differently than we might ordinarily. The predominance of written communication gives us a way to edit our utterances until they fit the image we want to project, something which is not quite so simple in a real time environment. Since our words are our only connection to others, it is much easier to be duplicitous or even self-deluding.”

It’s been so long since I’ve ‘worked it’ offline that I’m afraid my out of shape sales personality needs to be whipped back into shape (along with my hunched over, out of shape body that usually comes with living the Loner Larry lifestyle).

I’m fairly confident that re-engaging will be just like riding a bike.  I just need to get back on that bike.

Although I participate regularly in online communities, telesummits, forums and hangouts as a sole proprietor, it’s scary to ponder how long I’ve gone without any real consistent offline interaction that one normally encounters in an office environment.

And I know that the lack of offline interaction negatively impacts my bottom line.

Engaging Offline Brings Quick Results

It’s critical that I engage my community, customers, affiliates and partners in a variety of ways to create the best possible results.  So over the last few weeks, I recommitted to raising my offline social capital.

When I changed the means of communication to phone calls and in-person meetings, I was immediately struck by the speed with which things happen offline vs. online paradoxically.  So much so, that I’m committing to having a minimum of three real phone calls or face-to-face meetings each day.

My offline encounters were more in-depth vs. skimming the surface. They seemed more deliberate and results-oriented vs. meandering happenstance.

Whether real or imagined, I was left with the feeling that it would have taken 1-2 months of online back-and-forth to reach the goals achieved in 30-minutes of intense and deliberate offline conversation.

Maybe it’s as simple as having too many self-indulgent distractions when working online that cause you to be less mindful or present when engaging with those on the other side of a laptop screen.

The Bigger Health Concern of Isolation

Loner Larry’s take note.

In his book [amazon_link id=”0743203046″ target=”_blank” ]Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community[/amazon_link], Robert Putnam argues that involvement in community actually increases a person’s biological and mental health. Biologists and psychologists have also shown that without physical contact, people become depressed and ill.

“Does typing ‘LOL’ on a keyboard have the same benefits?”

Hunter continues, “Malcolm Gladwell argued in [amazon_link id=”0316346624″ target=”_blank” ]The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference[/amazon_link] that much of communication is done non-verbally and emotions can easily be transferred from person to person without the utterance of a single word. If community loses its physical aspect, I believe that many of the subtle benefits that go along with physical face-to-face contact will also be lost.”

Resort entrepreneurs (or any lifestyle business owner) may rely more heavily on non-physical means of communication to  connect since they are less tied down geographically.

Hunter worries that “in such a system, the value of each connection is lessened and that the benefits we gain from each connection decreases. I think that in this world of the Internet, e-mail, instant messaging, cell phones, pagers, faxes, and the World Wide Web, we should keep in mind the importance of face-to-face communication.” 

I couldn’t agree more.

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CAUTION: Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

Don’t do it.

I’ve always been one to work extremely hard.  Most entrepreneurs do — especially during the all-encompassing start-up phase.

Sole proprietor’s are incredibly fired up that they work around the clock to bring their ingenious ideas to light.  This tireless effort is exhausting enough, but when you throw your negative internal critic into the mix, it’s difficult to stay positive and proud.

“Why can’t I get more done?”  “Who do I think I am?” “Why can’t I figure it out?” “What was I thinking?” “I’m such a loser.”  “I should have kept my day job.”  “Why didn’t I workout today?” “I should have taken more technology classes” “No one gives a shit, so why am I wasting my time?”

OK.  Those negative thoughts just rolled off my tongue in five seconds flat which goes to show how hard it is to keep a positive attitude (even if you’re a positive person by nature and have been working hard to stop your internal critic by being conscious).

Those self-doubts are in the back of your mind just waiting to pounce.   Without a doubt, I’ve been harder on myself than anyone else could ever have been on me.

(Mistake #1: Engaging in negative self-talk.)

Thoughts. Words. Actions.

The problem with being your own worst critic is that it’s really a disguise for self-sabotage.  We’ve all heard about the power of positive thinking and how what you think affects what you do, but let’s face facts.  It’s hard to stay positive when you’re fried most of the time from working nonstop.

Instead, what you really need is to be your own best cheerleader and best friend.

When I find myself questioning why I launched a business and going through all the worst-case what-if scenarios and self-deprecating comments, I stop myself and ask “Is it true?”

If you’ve ever listened to Dr. Wayne Dyer or read his book [amazon_link id=”1401922945″ target=”_blank” ]Excuses Begone!: How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits[/amazon_link], you’ve probably heard him talk about the problem with memes.  Memes are cultural characteristics that are passed down from generation to generation.

Reset your mind to the possibility that your beliefs carry far more weight than you realized in determining what you can do, what you’ll undertake, and how far you’re capable of going.” —Dr. Wayne Dyer

Just because it’s a meme doesn’t mean it’s the truth.

It’s one thing to have a healthy inner self-critic that keeps you from being complacent and reminds you of where you need to grow as a business owner.  It’s another thing to have an unhealthy self-critic that operates on false assumptions.

Be Your Own Friend

If you were your friend, what would you say?  I’d probably tell myself that I am deserving of success, I work extremely hard, do my best and am already successful because I at least had the courage to go for it which is more than most can say.

So do the Stuart Smalley.  Say positive affirmations to reprogram your thought patterns if need be.  Get rid of those dysfunctional, negative beliefs.  Focus on the positive and grow your business.  Concentrate on the good — things like the tasks you’ve accomplished today, how far you’ve come overall, new partner relationships forged, new business secured (no matter how small), new podcasts heard or webinars completed.

One thing I know for sure — you’re more knowledgeable today than you were when you began on the entrepreneurial path.  So, embrace your wise self.

Bottom Line? You’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice if you engage in negative self talk more than you engage in positive self-talk for one reason: it affects your attitude.

And attitude permeates everything you do, and how you’re perceived.

Live and Learn.

We’d love to hear your perspective!

Are you constantly cutting yourself down in spite of how hard you work? Or, have you mastered the power of positive thinking?

Please share your comments below.

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[DOUBLE DIAMOND] TIP: When You Get The Wind Knocked Out of You…Breathe

Get the right mindset for your online business.

Don’t Forget To Breathe

The other night, I got the wind knocked out of me, and I literally lost my breath.

I had the excruciating pain of falling down a flight of stairs. It wasn’t a rolling tumble by any means. It was the type of fall that hurt.

I stepped on the edge of the carpeted stair, my feet flew out from under me and my back crashed with a forceful thump against the treads. I slid down the rest of the stairs, caught my breath, checked myself, and cried.

Actually, I sobbed.

Granted, it was 2 am, I was tired from being on the computer all day long, and mostly I was scared. Not paying attention, I was hurrying down the stairs to lock up before hitting the hay. I was scared because it reminded me that if I fell and did indeed get hurt, no one would even know.

Everyone in Minnesota always thinks I’m in Aspen, and everyone in Aspen always thinks I’m in Minnesota. Its times like these that make me miss my ex-husband. Or maybe I just need a “just-in-case” plan: the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” alert pendant.

The tears flowed. And they were needed, because those tears represented a big, giant exhale.

I keep telling myself I’m getting good at being present and checking in — so much so that I can tell when I’m headed for one of these build-ups.

I start feeling antsy. I start feeling rushed. I’m indecisive and sick of the computer. I’m stressed out and delay or postpone my workouts, and I certainly don’t have time for meditation or a massage. What I’m really feeling at these times is a craving for mental rejuvenation.

But like most entrepreneurs I know, I just kept pushing through instead of paying attention to the stress build-up. There’s a reason I do this. It’s because I’m trying to beat this really big imaginary clock that keeps ticking and tocking louder and louder.

I’m racing against some imaginary time machine, yet I know that racing upstream is never a formula for success.

“If I can just do this, I can move on to that and then that will be done, which means I can do this.”  What a cruel joke doing this and that is. It never ends.

I should know better. Striving for the end game is the wrong approach; it means you are not enjoying the process. But it’s easy to get caught up in the madness. I am human after all (as clearly demonstrated by my fall).

I know I am never going to beat the clock. I know I have to let go of self-imposed deadlines. I know I need to stay in the moment. Because every single time that I do, serendipity visits.

After I fell and cried that night, I exhaled. Then I took 3 pain relievers and went to bed. The next day, I woke up sore, but renewed.

And that’s when serendipity kicked back in.

Before starting my day, I happened upon a random article that revealed how a good sob is as important to your mental well being and stress relief as is a good laugh.

My first phone call of the day had to do with an exciting new partnership opportunity.  The next call with a prospect resulted in a new consulting gig, and another client conversation resulted in a 50% increase in the monthly retainer I receive.

The point of all of these interactions is that they all produced new opportunities or ideas that did not even exist at this time yesterday.

You see, when you cry, you exhale. When you exhale, you say “I give.” When you give up and let go, you trust.

And when you finally trust, you breathe.