soccer ball

Get on the Ball

At a lovely breakfast with Marlies, a dear friend of mine, she told me about an issue she had with a recent boss. The analogy she gave to describe the situation was brilliant, so I asked if I could share it will you all.

Marlies was very frustrated with her boss. The manager was not very focused. Marlies’ told the manager to stop treating her like a soccer ball – telling her to do one thing, then minutes later redirecting her to do something else. Like a soccer ball she was sent right then left then backwards then diagonally. Either the manager didn’t know what needed to be done, was reactionary, or maybe she was just on a power kick to boss people around. Whatever the issue, Marlies requested that she be treated like a golf ball not a soccer ball. A golf ball is focused on one result and is continually sent closer and closer to that goal. No distractions. No side trips. No confusion over the goal to be accomplished.

soccer ballDo you have a manager that treats you like a soccer ball? How frustrating is it to never know the goal, to never be able to complete the task? With all the changes of direction it is hard to do our best work and to feel fulfilled.

If you run your own business, are you treating it like a soccer ball? Are you distracted by a new technology, a sudden opportunity, or the next best way to run your business? Often businesses, especially in the early stages, are running in circles on the soccer field. A clear strategy is not put to paper and followed. Perhaps the owner does not know the right course and is jumping at whatever comes up in the hopes that it will lead to success. Success, however, is usually the result of focused and consistent efforts.

For us personally, the soccer ball analogy is usually the cause of overwhelm and stress. We are the old juggler trying to keep fifteen plates spinning. We are running from one commitment or emergency to another. We are trying to do too much because we have over-committed and won’t ask for help. We have put the importance of the tasks above our own health and run ourselves ragged. Instead of finishing one task before moving to the next, we are inefficiently switching between tasks.

Besides being a soccer ball – those of us being pushed or pushing ourselves in multiple directions – sometimes we are a ball in a pinball machine. We are floating through life, failing to act, and being sent this way and that depending on what we bump into. We do not act. We are only reacting to things around us. The result is the same as the soccer ball and is even more harmful because we are completely out of control of our personal goals.

Where in your life are you unfocused and constantly shifting? What is the result? How does it feel to constantly change directions?

How would things shift if you focused on a single goal? You don’t have to make a hole in one. It is not speed but efficiency we are after. Being focused and not changing course constantly gives us the power to more effectively achieve our goals.

Take some time to review your work and home life. Are you a soccer ball or golf ball? How are ways you can become more focused?

Melissa Heisler, Stress Reduction Expert

Uncover Your Mission

Melissa Heisler, Empowerment Coach
Melissa Heisler, Empowerment Coach

Recently I presented my Creating the Position of Your Dreams class to job seekers at the Harper College Career Stimulus Program.  Most job seekers will look at positions available and then try to fit themselves into the job descriptions.  However, a perfect job like a perfect outfit fits better when it is designed specifically for us and is not just something we try to make work off the rack.  The key component to creating the position of one’s dreams is looking at one’s personal skills, passions, and values and then seeking positions which match us, instead of trying to cram ourselves into something which doesn’t quite fit.  The same is true if you are a business owner.

Over the last few months I have been re-evaluating my own business plan and strategy.  Business planning has also been a hot topic in my monthly Small Business Empowerment Group as well as with some of my clients.  A major revelation from all of this focus on business planning is the importance of starting from the inside out.  All too often businesses create their plans by first defining a target market or a niche.  Or, in the worst case scenario, they start by looking at “where the money is” and then try to craft their business around it.  Either way, this is the same issue job seekers experience.  The business is trying to fit itself into what exists versus taking the time to reveal what it is really meant to be.  By starting from the inside out, one can truly identify their unique offering and purpose which leads to precisely targeted marketing and truly unique differentiation, which are both keys to business success.  So how does one identify their mission statement?  There are two ways I like to use to get to the core of your mission statement. 

First is to look at your journey.  Look at your life.  What are your challenges?  What obstacles did you overcome?  What powerful lessons did you experience?  No one has taken the exact journey you have.  Within your personal journey there are lessons and gifts from which others can benefit.  Sometimes they can be large and powerful and sometimes they may seem small.  Either way, sharing the road you took and what you learned on that road can help someone else.  By sharing the lessons of your experience, you can help someone else gain your same knowledge in less time and perhaps less heartbreak and frustration.  For instance, if you spent five years really honing in your social media presence there is a wealth of information you can now share with another.  Your customer can benefit instantaneously from your five years of experience. 

A second way to identify the core of your mission statement is to look at your pet peeves.  What are those things you react to?  What gets under your skin?  What about these things set you off?  What values do they point to?  By identifying your pet peeves and then looking at their opposite you can identify your passion and mission.  For instance, if you get angry at those who come to meetings unprepared, it could point to your mission for efficiency, preparation, and courtesy to other associates.

Once you have an idea about your core mission, you can then use that information to determine your market.  Who could best benefit from these lessons?  Who is looking for this information?  Now you are armed with a meaningful message to a ready audience.  With this foundation, your marketing efforts will be targeted, meaningful, and highly effective.  So stop trying to fit what you think you or your business “has to be,” and take some time to uncover your unique mission.  It will not only be powerful for your business success, but will also greatly impact your satisfaction in your work. 

It's My Life Inc.

The Shoemaker’s Children

Melissa Heisler, Empowerment Coach
Melissa Heisler, Empowerment Coach

Let me start with a big thank you to all of those who voted for me in the Next Greatest Speaker and Author competition.  Your vote, support, and kind words mean so much to me.  I truly appreciate your compassion and encouragement during this competition.  Unfortunately I have not made it to the next round.  But I did have a major realization about my business during this competition.  Do you know the anecdote of the shoemaker’s children?  The story goes that the shoemaker is so busy making shoes for everyone else in the village his own children go barefoot.  Well, I have realized my business is barefoot. 

If you have known me or read my blog for any amount of time, you have heard me preach time and time again the importance of knowing Brand You.  Knowing your brand and being able to communicate that brand is the basis for business success.  Each brand is composed of who, what, how, and why.  Who do you serve?  Your target customer needs to be distinct, narrow, and well-defined.  What do you offer?  What is the problem you solve?  What is the product or service you deliver?  How do you do it?  How is your product or service different than your competition?  How does your uniqueness help you stand out in a crowd?  And finally, why do you do what you do?  What is your passion or mission behind your business?  One of the reasons I believe I did not make it to the next round of the competition is I failed at communicating Brand Me.

twitterI would appreciate it if you could take the time to review the following information and leave a Reply below with your thoughts.  Which parts of my brand resonate with you?  Which do not?  What is missing? 

Who do you see me serving?  Who do you think I can best assist?

  • Disempowered, stressed out workers
  • Job seekers:  dissatisfied, unemployed, college-aged
  • Small business owners: current or start-uptwitter

What do I provide?  What problem do I solve?  What service do I offer?

  • A balanced life: work and home, technician and business owner, self and others
  • Objectively uncover and help you accept your true, authentic, unique gift to the world
  • Dissolve reliance on societal expectations and processes around business and work
  • Define and accept your personal version of success and how to achieve it

How do I do it?  What do you think makes me different from other life and business coaches out there?

  • Piercing insight
  • Real world applications
  • Been there, done that understanding and support
  • Open networker connecting clients to potential partners, customers, and resources
  • Providing an accepting, caring, compassionate, and non-judgmental atmosphere
  • Using humor to help break through fears and blocks
  • Practical applications of spiritual concepts

Why I do it?

  • I truly want to make the world a better place, one person at a time. 
  • I am meant to be an example, to lead other people to their happiness and success by my example. 

Brand Statement:

  • Creating joy, balance, and empowerment to employees and business owners by bringing humanity back to commerce through reinventing why and how we go to business.

And now it is your chance to comment.  Looking forward to seeing what you come up with and thank you so much for your help.

It's My Life Inc.

Is Your Business Overrun?

weeds or flowers?I don’t like to weed.  There are a few things that I can say I truly dislike, but weeding is one of them.  It always seems like there are so many weeds and that once I pull them, the next day there are just as many back.  So I had a plan.  I told my husband I wanted to plant a natural perennial garden.

The garden was going well.  If something was green and growing, I let it grow.  Most of them were pretty in their own way.  There were tall stalks and bushy ground cover with blooms.  I told my husband, who knows less about greenery than I do, that they were all natural wild flowers.  He bought it for a while.  Then the some of the “natural wild flowers” took over.  One became two.  Two became twenty.  Twenty became sixty.  My well planned garden became overrun by these natural beauties.

At first I embraced my new garden.  At least they were green and most of them had flowers of one sort or another.  But my garden began to look overrun and mangled, not naturally composed.  So I started to pull out some of the less desirables.  What I discovered was there were beautiful black-eyed susans and daisies barely breathing underneath.  So I cleared out more of the plants that got out of control.  I started to remember the plan from the year before.  As I pulled more of these intruders out, I found more and more of the beautiful perennials I had intended to watch bloom this year.  The original plan for my garden was slowly revealed with each pull.  By the end of the day, I had cleared the infiltrators from the entire garden except one corner.  That is where they will stay and be monitored.

As I often do, this experience made me think of my own life and business.  You see just like these unplanned wild flowers, there have been some aspects of my business which have become overgrown.  They were not really planned, but I left them to grow to see what they would become.  Unfortunately over time they have gotten out of hand.  Just like in my garden, these little projects took on a life of their own.  They moved from being a little side interest into a nuisance.  They became distracting projects keeping me from focusing on my planned core business.  These projects became the 80 of my focus, but produced only the 20 of my success.

Take a look at your own business.  What weeds have taken a stronghold?  What projects have your focus but are not benefitting your bottom line?  What needs to be removed so that you can go back to your original plan and foundation?  What did you intend and how are things actually looking?

It's My Life Inc.

Constant Business

Happy National Small Business Week!  Since 1963, the President of the United States uses this week to recognize the economic contributions of small businesses.  One in two Americans either own or work for a small business, and these businesses are responsible for 60-80% of the new jobs in the country.

But owning a small businesses isn’t easy.  There are pressures from being solely responsible for the success of the business and maneuvering the tenuous work-life balance.  As a small business owner you are the product manager, marketer, sales team, finance department, production manager, customer service, and CEO.  With all this responsibility and workload, some might think that working for someone else might be easier.  But the small business owner has a dream, a vision, a passion, and a purpose.  She has the desire to make the world a better place through a unique product or service while creating the home-life she desires for her and her family.

There are many ups and downs in business ownership.  To ride these waves remember to be constantly evolving and constantly joyful.

 

businessmen
image by barunpatro

Constant Evolution

I would love to share with you the one stop shop, ultimate solution for your business success, unfortunately it does not exist.  The best I can offer is a system to keep your business growing through constant evolution.

Business planning is the foundation for your success.  However, business planning should be viewed as an ever-evolving moving target not a document to create once and store on one’s shelf like a prized trophy.  The marketplace is constantly changing.  There are new competitors, new technology, new user needs.  What you once offered may no longer be viable in its current configuration.  Think of the heyday of Blockbuster video and what happened once technology introduced On Demand and convenience introduced Netflix and Red Box.   It is important to roll with the ever changing flow of commerce or you will be left behind.

One way to stay ahead of the curve is to have quarterly or bi-annual plan reviews.  This way you can be sure to stay abreast of the changing marketing place so you can act accordingly.  The second way is to constantly review the programs you have put in place.  Be sure that you are monitoring the results of your sales, marketing, and product/service plans.  What worked yesterday, may not be working today.  Adapting to the ever-changing marketplace is a key to success.

Constant Joy

To help you during the low times of your business, remember your joy.  Remember that you went into business for yourself to have the freedom and joy in your life that you desire.  When work is no longer fun, ask yourself why not?  What has changed to make the business challenging?  What are you making more difficult than you have to?  When situations get you down, step back and remember why you started.  Then shift your mindset or your objectives so that fun enters back into the picture.

This week celebrate National Small Business Week by looking back at all you have accomplished and reset your eyes on your goals for tomorrow.

It's My Life Inc.

Brand You

People buy from people; they do not just buy products.  Think about your favorite store.  Do you shop there just because of their inventory, or do you shop there because of the feeling you experience and the customer service you receive?  The same is true for your business.  It is not just about the product or service you are selling, but it is about YOU.

What is Brand You?  Brand You is composed of four (4) parts:  Who, What, How, Why.

 

Who – Who do you serve?  All too often business owners think that their product is right for everyone or that they need to sell to everyone to survive.  The adage is “if you are everything to everyone, you are nothing to nobody.”  By defining and focusing on your true ideal customer, you will save marketing dollars, spend your time where you can gain the biggest benefit, and receive the highest conversion rate.

What – What do you provide?  This is not only the product or service you provide, but more importantly it is the problem you solve or the benefit received.  People do not want to buy an automobile.  What they do want is to safely arrive at work each morning, they want a way to deliver three children and gear to soccer practice on time, or they want the thrill of a high performance experience.  What is the problem you solve?

How – How do you do it?  What is the system, process, or experience you provide?  How you deliver your product or service is unique to you.  Many people may provide the same item but how you personally provide it is a unique differentiator.

Why – Why do you do what you do?  This is an aspect that is often overlooked, but is also most often the reason people will buy from you.  It is your passion.  It is what makes you special and why you are perfect to work with your ideal customer.  What is your mission and reason for providing the work you do?

Take some time to answer the questions above for you and your business.  The answers will lead you to the brand, tagline, look, and feel for your company which will lead to more revenue because you will attract the right people who will understand and be attracted to what you have to offer.  Everyone has a personal brand.  What is yours?