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#30DaysofQ2

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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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. Sign me up! 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...

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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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Communications Planning

on March 21 in #30DaysofQ2 | 0 comments

At Arthur Andersen, communications planning was part of my day-to-day activities. And I was trained to plan communications. Our marketing department had a distinct way of doing this. (In fact, it was at Arthur Andersen that I received training on The 7 Habits.) To this day, I apply communications planning to strategic communications for service-based clients.  But I’ve learned not everyone has the patience–or ability or framework–to PLAN their communications efforts. For example, fast thinkers sometimes don’t plan their communications effectively. They expect everyone to be operating at their speed. They forget to paint the picture and bring an audience along step-by-step. They have a tendency to gloss over things or leave out elements as they discuss their vision. (I admit, I fall prey to this, too, but mostly when speaking.) They might also be overlooking opportunities to make their materials work for them. In other words, create trust or drive buyer action. Or, they attempt to achieve too much in a single communications piece. You can only move a prospect along 2 steps at a time with any given piece. And you must align communications so that you have the right materials for every stage. This is at the heart of communications planning. And avoiding the other pitfalls. We all forget sometimes that the purpose of written communications is in fact communication! That means we must step outside ourselves and see our writing as our audience would. (If this is difficult, outside perspective is a big help.) It’s not just about the writing but about the structuring of the material and information so that it is palatable and powerful. People need guidance on how to read things and what is important. Not everyone can do this visually.  That is, lay it out in a way that makes absorption of information seamless. This is part of the value that a strategic marketing communications consultant provides. It’s not just about semicolons and em dashes. Even people who are expert communicators–especially in the realm of speaking–or marketers themselves may be missing out on opportunities to really communicate and engage their audiences in ways the audiences need when crafting written materials. As a strategic marketing communications consultant, I find the blind spots that you have and...

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Giving Others a Vote of Confidence

on March 20 in #30DaysofQ2 | 0 comments

Taking the time to let those in your professional network know that you support them is an important but not urgent activity.  An easy way to do this is to endorse them on LinkedIn. Endorsements are those opportunities you see to “check off” that a connection knows her stuff.  As opposed to recommendations, which are another (albeit more time-consuming but important) way to show support for an A-lister or someone you have worked with before. I realize many don’t take those endorsements seriously–and for good reason. In fact, for the very reason I’m listing here:  Endorsing people is really a vote of confidence. It says to them, “Hey, I believe in you.” Most of the time, I suspect we will only endorse people when we have awareness of their skill set. Sometimes, I admit, I do not have direct knowledge of someone’s expertise, say with SQL or Project Management.  I figure, common sense. A database admin and PMP probably do have that knowledge. When we endorse in this way, we are simply taking the person at his word. An endorsement simply says, “I trust you.” Sometimes we can be skeptical of people’s skills and that’s fine, too. We can also like them and not endorse them for something if we do not have first-hand evidence that they know something. I’m not “endorsement-happy” in that I skip over a lot. Making time to endorse others and let them know you believe in them is a good way to reconnect with our weak ties, build relationships, and say “I’m thinking about you.” It’s not to be taken lightly. Not to be used as a marketing tactic. But to be approached with authenticity, joy, and honesty. How do you feel about LinkedIn endorsements? Are you endorsement-happy? Do you approach it mindfully with the intention of giving someone a vote of confidence?...

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Find Your Pillars

on March 19 in #30DaysofQ2 | 0 comments

Self-discovery is a necessity for authenticity. And it never ends. But there’s nothing urgent about it, so making time to find out all that we believe in can be challenging. While some people are highly conscious of their beliefs–whether limiting, expansive, definitive, etc.–I suspect that they haven’t tapped into all of them. My take is there’s always more to explore. Time spent looking inward and finding our “pillars”–those unique ideals we rally behind is important. For growth, for leadership, and for marketing. And while we may not be able to build Rome, is there one pillar you can find today? That’s the Day 20 challenge for #30DaysofQ2. Here is one of my pillars, based on my core value of AUTHENTICITY:   Need help discovering a pillar? Let’s...

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