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Finding Your Strengths: My Journey and Purpose

on March 31 in #30DaysofQ2, Clarity Through Strengths, Strengths | 0 comments

Today I am in San Francisco for the first day of the Gallup Successful Strengths Coaching Program and it is the last day of #30DaysofQ2. (Confession: I am late in posting but I drafted this on Day 30.) Looking Inward and Finding Your Strengths It’s not often we spend the time to take stock and find our strengths. But they can tell us so much . . . especially when clarity, inspiration, or change seem like distant planets. That’s why I decided to take this journey. So many friends, would-be entrepreneurs, and current business owners can benefit from knowing themselves authentically, and aligning their jobs, brands, service offerings, and lives accordingly. By bringing strengths into focus, I can help entrepreneurial-minded leaders bring about a clearer vision of where they need to go, gain more momentum to get there, and amass the courage to make the changes required to do so. I’m excited to use the knowledge I gained to fulfill my promise to Creative Partnering(TM) Engagement clients: I create a safe space for you to be and discover yourself, to practice embracing and LOVING your strengths, and being inspired to ACT and LEAD with strengths while sharing your newfound discoveries with others so that we may all better understand one another.  Does using YOUR strengths to find your direction, create more clarity, gain much-needed focus, or bring a big idea to life appeal to you? Become a Strengths Enthusiast to learn more or contact me to see if creative partnering using strengths as a tool is for you. (NOTE: Updated May 2018 to reflect how my training is being put to use...

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Gaining Client Insight

on March 28 in #30DaysofQ2 | 0 comments

If you are a coach or a consultant–and especially if you have “productized” your solution by creating a program or are looking into doing so–you want to see success in your clients’ development and in your relationships. But sometimes, unless clients blatantly express dissatisfaction during our engagements or begin “bad appling,” we can’t really be sure what their satisfaction level is. And we know this impacts our ability to be referred. When clients are dissatisfied with their experiences or their expectations are violated, our value in the marketplace is diminished. Signs that we might be losing ground include: attrition, low success rates, no client action on up-sell or cross-sell options, our own frustration with the direction our clients are going (or not going, because they’re not making change), more prospects balking at price, and of course, fewer referrals–either over time or by percentage of clients who work with us. Too often, solo service providers and business owners will try to treat their symptoms with a perceived panacea (usually tactical), but without a complete analysis and proper diagnosis. This is unfortunate because all of the aforementioned signs might also point to a number of “diagnoses,” including but not limited to: Shifts in the marketplace New alternatives Attracting the wrong clients in the first place Lack of brand value Brand messaging that doesn’t resonate Communications issues Lack of change on our parts to make our vision a reality If you can’t be sure you have the right diagnosis, it’s a good time for us to talk. Before you waste money and time on efforts that will not work–or will only work temporarily. If you suspect client dissatisfaction is the problem, gaining client insight is one important first-step activity. But it must be done expertly and by a third-party to get the unbiased, REAL answers. Painful as they might be, this knowledge points us in the direction of improvement. It gives us the answers we need to increase our repeat business, stave off attrition, eliminate “bad appling” by clients or participants, and ultimately to be part of their success while being appropriately compensated for it! Ready to develop a plan to get that valuable feedback and make positive change? Let’s talk. Gaining client insight–or even diagnosing the...

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What Do You Want? Developing Your Litmus Test for Better Decisions

on March 27 in #30DaysofQ2 | 0 comments

How Do We Make Better Decisions? If we take the time to identify what we want, at the BIG PICTURE level, making decisions becomes easy. When we know OUR own pH, everything that comes our way can be tested against it. If it doesn’t match, we can politely walk away. I imagine we waste a lot of time in decision-making. And maybe that comes from not having “top-level criteria.” What do I mean by top-level criteria? Your 3 most important things. Three things that MUST be present for you in your life or business. When you know these, everything becomes a lot clearer. And they are unique to YOU. For example, I will only do things that make me feel happy, successful, and appreciated. That’s MY litmus test. (Everyone’s is different.) A new opportunity, a prospective client, an event, a volunteer position–anything that comes my way–is tested against the probability for meeting each and all 3 of those criteria. They are REQUIRED. And if my initial reading changes or if I perceive it to change, my involvement can change too. Can you see how this knowledge takes the guesswork out of decisions? How it brings clarity to what I am supposed to be doing? How I can use those 3 criteria to re-focus myself and get myself back on track should I veer away? I hope so! And I hope you are inspired to find your “top-level criteria.” Have you taken the time to identify YOUR 3 things?  It’s one of the best time investments you will make and guess what? I can help you to achieve this in only 15 minutes. Feedback . . . “This was exactly what it said – a jumpstart! Thank you! . . . Good questions can help get to the heart of a matter quicker and more efficiently. I really enjoyed the call, you, your energy, and the very focused, targeted questions you asked to efficiently and effectively get to the top 3 in just 15 minutes. This was a helpful call. Much appreciated!”   “GREAT SESSION!!! I am super motivated. I love that I’m held accountable for the process to myself and you.” “Tracy, this was such a great start. It’s SUPER helpful in...

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Try Something New

on March 26 in #30DaysofQ2 | 0 comments

We’ve all heard the Einstein-attributed definition of insanity. And yet sometimes when we make change and try something new, we might seem insane to others–or at least incomprehensible. Some might be scratching their heads because they don’t understand us. That’s OK. (If you are scratching your head, read this.) The good news is if we have cultivated relationships–deep, caring ones–we will have support and freedom to change without judgment. And even if we are not understood. Judgment is one of the things that keeps us small. When we do it to others. When we do it to ourselves. And it really stops us from making change AND connecting with others.  That’s why I created the (now discontinued) Certified Authentic Networker (CAN) program. Those of us who have been working on reducing judgment (I’m looking at you, CAN alumni!) are probably getting better (different!) results from our networking activities. Anyone who isn’t even aware that judgment might be a liability in their networking approach can benefit from trying something new–joining our ranks as re-imaginers of networking. Join us on April 21 to achieve better networking experiences through deeper connections and relationships–or to ensure you’re getting MORE of those from your efforts. (Update: The spirit of how we approach networking is live and well, even though we do not have this offering. If you wish to connect with us authentically, please do so here.) (This is Day 27 of...

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Uncovering Expectations, Not Just Managing Expectations

on March 25 in #30DaysofQ2 | 0 comments

It seems everyone talks about managing expectations but it’s just as important to do the work of uncovering them. I say “uncovering” because sometimes they can be buried. Even from the people who have them. And ourselves. Too often, service providers will assume what the expectations are and cater to those assumptions. In fairness, sometimes these are experience-based and built over time from client engagements, but let’s keep in mind: Clients are not clones. As consultants and service providers, we have to do a little detective work to understand individual clients’ unique needs. The good news is we are used to asking good questions, right? We need to design questions that will extract what people expect from us when providing our services. Especially where they differ from other clients’, partners’, or our own expectations of ourselves and our clients and partners. How is that experience matching or out of alignment with a client’s ideas? (This is also useful for strategic marketing communications efforts.) If you are new to business, you might might begin with making a list of all the things that can go wrong. But, since you don’t know what you don’t know, talking with fellow consultants in other sectors is a great way to be prepared. (If you are in Phoenix, contact me to be a part of a group who can help you.) Some common things to focus on might be expected turnaround times for email response times for anything really. Also what will be the path if there is no response or repeated your responsiveness lack of their of or if meetings are missed lack of respect with respect to someone else’s time. It’s important I guess not only to say what will happen if these things happen but to say hey here’s what is OK and what is not. Oftentimes professionally we do not do this from a personal level and I think it makes all the difference. I talk a lot about authenticity and I think this is a great point of intersection between the personal and professional which I don’t separate out anyway. Whether you are new or seasoned, after uncovering expectations, you might want to address the communications around that. In other words, “How...

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Practicing Learned Inspiration

on March 24 in #30DaysofQ2 | 0 comments

I am the first to admit–I’m not always able to see myself with pride and compassion. I suspect we all waiver at times, no matter how much we love ourselves. My theory is “this is constant work.” But that’s also a concept I grapple with. Why does this have to be so much work? Why am I not just perfect as is? How come I found yet another flaw to work on today? This line of questioning is NOT productive. It is NOT healthy. And so I am learning how to “undo” it. I am learning what to do and teaching it at the same time in order to inspire myself and others. Oftentimes, this feeling of lack, of imperfection, of self-doubt arises when we’re in comparison mode. We look at someone under the microscope, maybe dwell on something we see in them (us!) that we don’t like. But what if we observe as if from afar, with compassion? With curiosity? With support just because someone else is human and deserves it? What if we say to ourselves, “I deserve success.”   Instead of comparing ourselves and looking at an accomplished someone with a volatile combination of awe and jealousy, what if we said, “Thank you. Thank you for showing me the way. For proving it can be done. I am happy to see you making change. We are the same. I can make change too. Thank you for shining a light on what is possible for me if I will only CHOOSE it.” And then . . . what if we choose it? This is the two-fold #30DaysofQ2 challenge for today: Spend time choosing it and Practice learning and teaching what you need to do to inspire others....

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