Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Set Your House on Fire

"Do you ever feel just so paper thin, like a house of cards, just one blow from caving in?" -Katy Perry

Can you tell I've been downloading some running songs lately? Well, I have to admit that I love Katy Perry's new song, "Firework." Dedicated to help stop the bullying against gay & lesbian teens, it's also a nice anthem for anyone who's in a rut. "Baby you're a firework, show them what you're worth." Who WOULDN'T respond to a call to action like that?

I'm in an era of self-discovery myself, and I'm doing it while running a new business. I have people doubting me all the time (especially in a my primary industry of stock car racing) - questioning if I really belong there amidst the guys. It's okay, I'm not judging whatsoever - it's an absolute privilege to be at a racetrack to work, and I like to think I don't flaunt it. I also understand that I have a flair for the flamboyant - so if you saw a set of blond pigtails speeding towards you with a headset on, a notebook in hand and pen in mouth, you'd probably do a double take. What the? Who tha? Head scratch....

That's what I think is cool about the whole situation. At my core, I really have no care for what people think of me. I've had every label that you can have, based on pre-judgements, insecurities or even positives. In order to really light the fire within, you can't be afraid of what others think. You've got to set your "inner house" on fire to discover those fireworks that Katy Perry is talking about. Once you love yourself, you're going to radiate that out into the world. And at that point, it won't matter if you paint your face blue, wear pigtails or dreadlocks or shave your head - it's YOU that matters.

I'd love to sit here and say "your work should speak for itself." Well, our society has a long history of branding those with individuality - which translates to an innate sense of self. So rather than going down that road, I'll just give this advice.

1) Work hard, no matter what it is you do. Do it well first, then love it.
2) Be yourself. If you don't know what that means, then FIND YOURSELF.
3) Find yourself = peel the onion. What do you love? What do you NOT love? Be that.
4) Find ways to set your inner house on fire. What have you put off today, this week?

I guarantee you, once you find a passion inside, you just lit the flame of what makes you tick. Once you do that - man, watch out! You will be setting the stage for igniting your own spirit.

My pigtails were an accident - it was a hot day, and I had been doing it to my daughter's hair. I figured I could still put a headset on with pigtails, rather than one ponytail. What began as a utilitarian experiment became what sparked what's at my core - a spritely, energetic Girl Friday that runs like a fire. It really can be as simple as that.

Let it shine, baby, let it shine - make those colors burst...BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! Peace.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cruisin' Downhill

Yes - crash, burn, fly downhill at the speed of light. Let all your cares blow away with the wind and just FAIL. Screw the world, no one has helped you, right?

Or not.

Cruising downhill is a runner's term. You see, all beginner runners start out doing the same thing (it's pretty textbook) - they take off running and see a downhill and think, "oh yeah, this is where I'll book it and make up some serious time." The more experienced runners shake their head and let them pass, knowing the outcome. Lo and behold, as they press to the uphill (because yes, everything that goes up must come down, and vice versa- that which goes down, must come back up)...they start the burnout process.

Weak knees, burning calves, heaving chest...all due to bad energy management. As time goes on, that novice runner learns to "cruise" downhill- meaning using energy super efficiently. Tucking elbows in to sides, letting legs "go" (rather than tensing up & speeding up), going loose like jello and breathing consistently. That way, when they get to the uphill, they are ready for a steady incline and "spurts" if necessary on a jaggy hill.

How does that apply to life? Well, in my world, running has everything to do with life. Think about it, the last time you "fell downhill" in business - call it failure, or call it just plain got down on yourself. It was a big fat downward spiral, probably - speeding through negativity, letting it snowball on itself and adding more limiting beliefs to the equation. So once you got through the process of the downturn and looked to the uphill in the distance - you just didn't have the oompf. How is that a recipe for winning the race? Um, it's kinda not.

So here's a scenario - next time you feel like you're spiraling...be it in a business relationship (say you haven't been paid by a client; or you just lost an account for your company; or you can't find funding for a venture; or you're not in that dream job). There are a million examples here - the only consistent being that feeling of snowballing downhill.

Take a deep breath, and see what you can do to tuck those elbows in, conserve your energy, and go loose. Loose = calm in almost any situation, and once you're loose, you can assess a situation and pinpoint a solution. After you've loosened up, see the positive and make it your "uphill." So if you haven't found that dream job, where have you been looking? Go turn over a completely different rock in a completely different place, and go ahead and take on that uphill.

I guarantee if you cruise in your downhill, you'll have that breath and energy to look forward to any uphill - and completely conquer it. So go get to cruisin' and find your inner rock star!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thanks, Thanks and More Thanks

Gratitude. It seems appropriate to have a post about giving thanks, especially as we're moving into the Thanksgiving holiday season in the States. When we think of gratitude in business, we normally associate it with being thankful for the people around us who do things for us. However, I'll pose the question to you - have you ever just given thanks for the blessings & opportunities in your business life...or even further, just thanked yourself?

I'll take it one audience at a time. Giving thanks for the blessings in your business life. Here's what I mean - okay, yes, people do things to help advance your career, or bring you clients, or give you funding. That's awesome, be thankful for sure! Flip that coin though, and take a moment to look around you during your day. What do you have around you? A house or shelter or a place of business; a world full of opportunities at your fingertips - with a phone call, an email, a meeting; a circle of friends or associates who really do mean well by you, but ones who don't necessarily have to do something for you, for you to appreciate them.

Jeffrey Gitomer, one of the prominent sales trainers in the States, once said, "The key isn't to call the decision maker. The key is to have the decision maker call YOU." How does that happen? I like to think it's one part REALLY doing what you do to the absolute, passionate, to-the-wall best of your ability; one part taking care of your customers or clients like family; and one part, having amazing gratitude for the people, places and things around you. It's not just positive energy - it's FAITH that with a humble, grateful attitude, all things return to you in time.

Second audience - giving thanks to YOURSELF...well, you've heard that advertising slogan, "You deserve a break today." Yep, that's right, you. Give yourself a little mental pat on the back for what you've accomplished today, this week, this year. Cut yourself some slack while you're at it, because we have a tendency to be the hardest on ourselves. When we forget to be grateful for our health, our mental well-being, our talents - that's when we lose immunity in both our personal health arena as well as business.

Being confident enough to thank yourself isn't boastful - it's incredibly necessary. For you to be able to bring enthusiasm to your job and the people around you, you have to be able to admit that everything is just fine. That calm, cool, centeredness comes from being aware of where you are and what you're doing. I know I preach about being present all the time, but it really is a gift to yourself - so BE PRESENT.

Wherever you are today, do two things. First, reach out to someone in your immediate sphere of influence and give thanks for their presence in your business life. You'll find it's amazing how that gets passed on to someone else. Second, take a massive inhale and an even deeper exhale. Close your eyes, feel gravity take your chest down on the exhale...and thank yourself for where you are today. The future will come, the outcomes unknown.

But for right now, just put gratitude in your conscious world. And by the way, thanks for reading this - I appreciate you. :)