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Reflecting on The Year of Possibilities…How Did You Do?

December 11th, 2017

By: Karen Colligan

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Although it seems like just yesterday, way back in January I declared 2017 “The Year of Possibilities.” I challenged you to “Do at least one thing this year that will stretch your being…your thinking…your heart…your soul… Think about it. What will that be?”

I even gave you some tips to get you started:

Just DO IT already – go on that vacation, learn a new language, or do nothing for an entire weekend!

Stop multi-tasking – how can you see possibilities when you’re doing 3 things at once?

Pay attention to what’s around you – open your eyes to see what you miss when you’re on autopilot!

Listen…really listen – what is this wonderful, crazy universe trying to tell you?

Dream BIG – if you don’t dream for yourself, no one else will. Make a “possibility list.”

So…how did you do? What possibilities did you identify? Which of them did you turn into reality? Please share in the comments section below.

I’m happy to share that 2017 has truly been a Year of Possibilities for me – and that by following the above tips (yes, I take my own medicine) I turned a number of possibilities into reality. Here are three of them.

In July I went to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. This had been on my bucket list for years, and I decided to just DO IT! Did it stretch my thinking and feed my soul? You bet! It was so inspiring to see and learn about people who truly live their dreams.

By paying attention to what was going on around me, I learned that Bruce Springsteen was going to be performing on Broadway beginning in October. I’ve been going to Bruce’s concerts since 1975, but seeing him on Broadway would be a first. So you better believe I was going to turn THAT possibility into reality. I did and it was beyond my expectations! If you want to be good at your work, you have to take some time to feed your soul.

And by paying attention, really listening, and dreaming big, I embraced an opportunity in early November to stretch myself (and challenge my fear of heights) when a friend invited me to join her on a trip to Peru to see the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu.  We climbed Wayna Picchu (ahem…elevation 8,924 ft.) which rises over Machu Picchu, and offers a magnificent view of the 8th Wonder of the World. And, trust me, I was terrified!  Woo hoo!  I did it!!!

As for eliminating multi-tasking, I’m still working on it, and getting better all the time.

If somehow this Year of Possibilities slipped by you, I hope you’ll take some time over the holidays to think about what you can do next year to stretch your being…your thinking…your heart…your soul…

“Talk about a dream, try to make it real.” – Bruce Springsteen

Till next time,

Karen

Bruce springsteen, Life, Possibilities, wellness

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Year of Possibilities: Let’s Check In

July 12th, 2017

By: Karen Colligan

Earlier this year I declared 2017 the “Year of Possibilities” and I challenged you, dear readers, to keep your eyes, ears, and heart open for wonderful possibilities that might be in store. And if you’ll recall, I also challenged you to set a goal around a possibility that you wanted to turn into reality. By June 30, 2017.

So. June 30, 2017 has come and gone. How are we doing on that goal? Did you achieve it? Did you forget about it? Did another wonderful possibility you weren’t expecting overtake it?

If you forgot about it, I suggest that you set aside a couple of hours to think about something you want to achieve (a possibility that you want to turn into reality) and use this template to create an effective goal:

Step 1: Create a SMART Goal: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely.

Step 2: Create action steps to achieve the goal, each with a due date.

Step 3: Keep your goal visible. Write the goal and action steps down. Check your progress every day.

If you’ve allowed yourself to just be too busy to see possibilities, then let’s review what the Year of Possibilities is all about. And I encourage you to get on board. You’ll be so glad you did!

Do at least one thing this year that will stretch your being…your thinking…your heart…your soul… Think about it. What will that be?

Here are 5 tips to get you started.
1. Just DO IT already. How often have you said over the past few years – “I can’t do that now, it’s not the right time”? Well, if not now, when? Go on that vacation, learn a new language, or how to play an instrument (air guitar does not count). Read that book you’ve been meaning to read for years. Or just do nothing for an entire weekend!
2. Stop multi-tasking. How many studies do we need to read to be convinced that multi-tasking is nothing more than getting nothing done well? Besides, it is very disrespectful. And how are you going to see the possibilities if you are busy doing 3 things at once?
3. Pay attention to what’s around you. Do you ever get home from a day at the office and wonder, “how the heck did I get here?” Commuting can be stressful – by planes, trains or automobiles – and often we just tune out. Open your eyes and allow yourself to see things you miss when you’re just going through the motions.
4. Listen…really listen. What I’m talking about is listening to the signals all around you – what is this wonderful, crazy universe trying to tell you? I can promise you, it ain’t telling you to work more!
5. Dream Big. If you don’t dream for yourself, no one else will. You don’t want a “regret list,” you want a “possibility list.” Say what you want out loud. Tell your friends, family and partner. The more you say it, the more real it becomes.

Don’t let another day go by without embracing the possibilities!

Till next time, Karen

Goal setting, Life, Personal development, Possibilities

Women Entrepreneurs – We Rock!

March 10th, 2017

By: Karen Colligan

Last week I attended the SheEO Activation Summit, in Denver. SheEO World is a nonprofit organization that brings together women entrepreneur investors who provide no-interest loans, plus mentoring and coaching to other women who are building their businesses. Women supporting women. Just as it oughta be - #RadicalGenerosity.

Between 2007 and 2016 the number of women-owned businesses in the US increased by 45%, according to a report commissioned by American Express. Compare this to just a 9% increase in all businesses during the same time period. The 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the US employ nearly 9 million people, and generate more than $1.6 trillion in revenues. Since 2007, employment in women-owned businesses has increased by 18%. Employment among all businesses, on the other hand, has declined by 1%. We women are pretty amazing!

Not only that, women entrepreneurs are happier. According to a 2013 report on global entrepreneurship, American women entrepreneurs “rank their well-being higher than other women in the US, higher than women entrepreneurs in other countries, and higher than men.”

Yet here’s the startling reality. Despite the fact that over the past 10 years the number of women-owned businesses has grown at 5 times the national average, only 4% of venture capital goes to women. Only 19% of business news content mentions firms led by women.

Most of us who go into business for ourselves do so because we want to pursue our area of expertise without the constraints of corporate ladders and company politics. We want to be more in control of our time and our future. What we discover, though, is that in addition to pursuing our strength, we also need to manage other parts of the business that may not be a strength (or that we just don’t like doing) e.g., the finances, business planning/strategy, marketing, selling, record keeping, HR, etc. Getting to that position where you can afford to hire others to do those things while you focus on your strength is one of the biggest challenges of entrepreneurship.

The good news is, you don’t have to figure this out on your own. This is where women supporting other women comes in. If you are a woman planning to start a business, wanting to grow your business, or feeling you need to make some changes in your business, here are some tips for moving forward.

Start your own personal Board of Directors. Gather a small group of other women entrepreneurs who will commit to meeting on a regular basis to share ideas, discuss strategy, give feedback (and yes, hold each other accountable!) Need help getting started? My personal Board and I have a “how to” book coming out soon: The AdviseHERy Board. We’ll announce publication on Facebook (like PeopleThink to be in the know!)

Find a mentor. Think about someone you know through your personal or professional network who is farther along in their business, and whom you admire. Invite them to coffee to seek their advice on a particular topic and to explore whether a mentoring relationship would be a mutual fit.

Leverage available resources. The Small Business Administration has lots of information and tutorials about starting a business and also offers business loans. Also, SCORE, a nonprofit organization that offers workshops and business advice for entrepreneurs, has chapters all over the country.

Join a women’s entrepreneurial group. Network with other women entrepreneurs, in groups like SheEO World, Watermark, Astra - Women’s Business Alliance, and NAWBO. Also, check your local Chamber of Commerce to see whether they have a women’s networking group.

Stay focused and ignore the naysayers! Yes, there are a variety of challenges in starting and running your own business, and…the rewards are so worth it! Just. Keep. Going.

And remember as you navigate the entrepreneurial landscape to turn around and help the women coming behind you. Women supporting women. Just as it oughta be.

“If you get, give. If you learn, teach.” – Maya Angelou

Till next time,

Karen

Development, Entrepreneurship, Women, Women entrepreneurs

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From Possibility to Reality – Creating Effective Goals

January 23rd, 2017

By: Karen Colligan

We’re nearing the end of the first month of what I’m calling The Year of Possibilities. I hope you are keeping your eyes, ears and heart open for wonderful possibilities that may be in store for you.

Once you’ve identified a possibility you want to pursue, I encourage you to turn it into a reality by creating a goal and a plan. Make it a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) goal and keep your plan simple.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’ve heard that within the next six months there will be an opening for a team leader in your organization. This is something you’ve been thinking about and hoping for. Now it’s your “possibility.”  Your goal setting / planning might look something like this.

Step 1

Create a SMART Goal: To become a team leader within my organization by June, 2017.  It’s Specific (become a team leader); Measurable (you either do or you don’t); Achievable (you are already in the organization); Relevant (it’s an actual position); Timely (by June, 2017).

Step 2

Create action steps to achieve the goal. Find out what the qualifications are for the role. Which do you have? Which do you need? What do you need to do or learn to close the gap? What will you need to do or provide to apply?

Step 3

Keep your goal visible. Write the goal and action steps down. With dates. Revisit your goal and progress every day. Share it with someone who will keep you accountable. Better yet, find an accountability partner who will keep you accountable about your goal while you keep them accountable about theirs. Track your progress and add or modify action items as needed.

The main thing is to keep it simple and doable. Too often there’s SO MUCH we want to do or have to do that we end up getting bogged down in our daily “to dos” and miss the opportunity to transform possibilities into reality.

My challenge for you is: before the end of January think of one goal (and create your plan) that you will accomplish by June, 2017 to turn a possibility into a reality.

“In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.” – Robert A. Heinlein

Till next time,

Karen

Learning, Planning, Professional development

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Midpoint Musings - A Plan for the Rest of the Year

June 3rd, 2015

By: Karen Colligan

StopStart-1In the leadership development workshops I conduct I always include some kind of action planning at the end. After all, learning is a process not an event, and I think it’s important for participants to have some follow-through goals to continue that process. One of the activities I like to use is called: Stop, Start, Continue. I might ask, “Based on what you’ve learned about how you lead, and where your strengths and development areas are, what are you going to stop doing, start doing and continue doing?”

I think this is a good exercise for everyone to do periodically. And now that we’re nearly halfway through the year, I thought I would provide it to you as an opportunity to do a mid-year assessment and determine what’s working well that you need to continue, and where the gaps or issues are that point to behaviors that you need to start or stop.

Much of my work is focused on helping leaders and teams become more aware of their strengths, development areas and how they are perceived by others – how they “show up” on a normal day and on those days when they are under pressure or stressed out (no one has those days, right?) This knowledge, or self-awareness – contributes to better performance, improved communication, deeper relationships, and more overall success.

So here’s your assignment. Find a quiet place, grab a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a bottle of water or another beverage of choice, and think through the following.

What are your top 3 - 5 qualities? Think about things like purposeful, reliable, collaborative, imaginative, or any other qualities that have helped you succeed. How well are you using those qualities in your current role?

What are 3-5 “derailers” for you? These are those “overextended” behaviors that happen when you are stressed or under pressure. I like to think of them as “too much of a good thing.” For example, if you are evidenced-based on a good day, under stress you might get lost in the details; if you are spontaneous, when under pressure you may become impulsive; or if you are collaborative on a good day, when stressed you may be so focused on getting everyone’s opinion that you become consensus-obsessed.

Now, think over the last five months and write down one really great achievement – a situation when you just nailed it. And then write down a situation where you fell short of your expectations. What behaviors contributed to each?

Once you’ve thought through these items you’re ready to create your Stop, Start, Continue plan. Based on your review of the past five months, what’s one thing you’re going to stop doing, one thing you’re going to start doing, and one thing you’re going to continue doing? Write them down. Assign a date. And post your list somewhere you can refer to it often.

And whatever you do, DON’T stop believin’.

Till next time,

Karen

Learning, Life, Performance, Professional development

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Time to be Accountable to Yourself!

April 1st, 2015

By: Karen Colligan

Accountability-4When was the last time you woke up and decided it was going to be “your day” and you did EXACTLY what you wanted to do? Can’t remember? Well, you’re not alone.

If you’re like most of us, you spend a lot of time during your work week making sure you meet all of your commitments, arrive at meetings on time, return calls and emails promptly, and get done what you said you were going to do. Because if you want to get ahead, if you want the good performance review, you’ve got to be ACCOUNTABLE. And that usually means being accountable to your team, your manager, the company.

And little changes on the weekend. You need to be accountable to your family (as you should be!), accountable to the “homestead” and the pets and your friends and so on.

What about being accountable to yourself? Where do you fit in the mix? Generally last or a close runner-up. Am I right?

I’m here to suggest that it’s high time to start being accountable to yourself. This is different from “personal accountability” which is about owning up to your mistakes, accepting responsibility for your behavior, admitting limitations in knowledge or skills, etc. Most likely by now you’ve got that down. Being accountable to yourself means taking some time to think about what you really want and then allowing yourself (and expecting yourself) to do what it takes to get it. It means taking risks, being bold, stretching to the point that it’s scary and exhilarating and FUN.

Think about it for a minute. Is there something you’ve been longing to do – develop a long-percolating idea, get out of a job you hate, move to a place you love – but keep putting it off because you’re too busy being accountable to others? Who’s in charge here? YOU ARE.

Follow these steps:



    1. Write down what’s truly important to you. Don’t know? Get REAL and figure it out!

    2. Make a plan. Goals. Actions. Deadlines. STRETCH!

    3. Implement the plan. Be BOLD! Be ACCOUNTABLE (to yourself!)

    4. Give yourself a STELLAR review.



    Remember, you’ve only got one life to live. Make sure it’s your own.

    Till next time,

    Karen

    Accountability, Learning, Life

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