When things go wrong

Retro style motivational poster with calligraphy text encouraging people to remember that even that which seems impossible is possible to achieve

When things go wrong – identifying risks and what to do if they happen

Today was an interesting day.  I learned a few new things.  For one, I learned how to expedite an emergency CAB (Change Advisory Board) meeting within my company.  That was kind of cool.  I also learned what the CAB requires for an approval.  I learned how to get certain resources I needed to work on tasks.  It was all good.  Except it really wasn’t.  Something big had gone wrong and I had to lead the troops to fix it.  When you get to the point where you NEED an emergency CAB meeting, the shit is hitting the fan.  You know what I mean?

So what happens when things go wrong?  What is your knee jerk reaction when things don’t go as planned?  If your first line of attack is to go back to bed, well then chances are you will still have that problem when you arise.  But if you approach problems head on and keep seeking the right solution, then you will probably figure something out that works.  It may not always be the way you wanted things to work out, but usually you can find a way to solve the problem that will be satisfactory to all those involved.

But let me back up for a second.  For any project manager (and I hope you feel like you are the project manager of your life), one of the key things they teach us is to anticipate risk or problems that may arise.  When we are implementing a new technology or hardware, for instance, we go through a checklist of things that can break.  Then we create a plan for what we would do if that happens (roll back code, or try another way, etc.)  In life, we can’t just “roll back code,” although, wouldn’t we all love to at times?  “Uh yeah that relationship?  Yes let’s roll that back.”  I definitely wish I could do that in more than a few “life projects.”  So what CAN we do with our life projects?  We can seriously take some time to think what COULD go wrong.

For example, I want to get a new car and I’m saving for it. Buying a new car is really not a major life project, but, it is a necessary evil when your minivan has 250,000 miles and the time is coming when she will need to be put to pasture.  I could hit a medical emergency that requires that money.  I could see a decrease in income for some reason and not be able to save up as fast.  One of my kids cars could need work.  Whatever it is, I like to think about what COULD go wrong so that I already have a plan in mind if that does happen.  This way if something goes wrong, I generally know how to proceed and I will not be devastated if the plan takes longer than expected.

Now hold up sparky, that isn’t license to go into debilitating worry about all the possible things that could possibly befall you.  That is NOT what this is about.  I am talking about approaching your life project in a clear, matter of fact way so that you are able to move through the various milestones of that project with less problems and more success.  I have never had a project that just went perfectly.  There are always things that cause something to be delayed, or there is an extra step that needs to be added in.  But when you are prepared for that, it makes it all the easier to move past it.

I always talk about your top 3 life projects… so in those projects, have you thought about risks?  Take a few moments and write them down and plan for what you will do if things go wrong.  You will go into your project much more prepared, and secretly I believe we ward off the gremlins when we are aware of what could go wrong.   When we approach our goals with careful thought processes, we really do achieve them faster and more easily.

Keep up the good work!

 

Start Now

bigstock-A-white-speedometer-background-29356652Today I was thinking about some of the challenges I’ve faced over the course of my career and what generally caused some of them.  I realized as I was walking in the sunny desert today that a lot of the reason things didn’t work out at various times, was that I simply didn’t start.  You know how that goes, “I will wait until….”  (fill in the blank).  I couldn’t believe how many times I had sabotaged myself simply by not beginning a project I really wanted to complete.

Why is it that we do that?  I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s Rising Strong and one of her catch phrases throughout the book is “the story that I’m making up is….” in regards to the stories we tell ourselves when we don’t address something head on.   She talks about how we literally make up stories to support the impression we have about a situation at any given moment.  I could really relate to this.  I have made up SO MANY stories in my head about why I couldn’t grow my business, why I couldn’t travel, why I didn’t have the relationship I wanted, why I felt like I didn’t make enough money.  It goes on and on.

But then I thought about the times that I DID actually take the step of beginning a project IN SPITE OF the story I was telling myself.  And how a great amount of the time, those projects I saw through to completion with better results than I initially imagined was possible.   What was the difference?  Why do we listen to the stories sometimes and then others we find the strength to persevere in spite of them?

For me, I realized it was the times when I pushed forward with a plan and schedule, with daily tasks and actions.  It is so much harder to begin a project if we don’t really see the first few steps at least.  It becomes this grey area of some “dream” that is way out there and we won’t really accomplish.  Sometimes, just taking the first step makes the 2nd appear.  One action leads to another to another and then suddenly it becomes clear what the rest of the plan should be.

When you get better at just starting, you get better at planning.  Over time, through just doing the first thing – whether it was trying to lose weight and so on day one all I did was take a walk, or a household project where all I did was prepare the area I would work by cleaning it up, or a business idea where all I did was register the domain name and set up a simple wordpress site to begin, just those first steps began a path that became more clear with each day.

Then over time, you get better at seeing what actually needs to be done to complete your projects with a more complete plan.  As a Project Manager, I have gotten really good at this, but the reality is that no matter how many projects I take on, there are always curve balls, set backs, and challenges.  So as long as you know that going in, it won’t derail you.  Be ready for road blocks and they won’t knock you on your butt when they show up.  But even if they do, you just have to know that essentially you just need to start again.  It’s that first step that truly will be a game changer.

What are the top three projects you want to accomplish in 2016?  Write them down on three different pages.  Under each one, write as many high level milestones you can imagine would be a part of that project.  Then pick your top priority project.  With this page, see how many more detailed steps you can add under each milestone.  Now, what has to happen first?  What is the first step?  Can you do that step right now?  If not, when?  Put a concrete date and time on it.  Voila!  You have your project underway.  Even if you can’t take another action step right now, guess what, you already began.  Stay tuned for more goodies on how to organize and complete your next steps.

One of my all time favorite quotes is “A year from now you will wish you started today.”  Do one thing right now to keep today from being a wish of what you should have done.

 

Are you ready to be GREAT?

The School of GreatnessI just finished The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes.  I think you should read it too.  Here’s why:

So often we get caught up in the minutiae of life.  We settle for mediocrity.  We languish.  We get up, make the coffee, drive to work, put in the necessary time, drive home, make dinner, watch tv, go to bed and then repeat it all over again the next day.  How often do people really think about being great?  About achieving the best that is within themselves?   These are some of the questions that came up for me when I was reading The School of Greatness.  I realized how much of my life was just “happening” to me.  And it inspired me to change that.

I’ve been following Lewis Howes ever since I saw him at Yanik Silver’s Underground 8  – a seminar for elite online entrepreneurs of which I was not one.  I probably didn’t have much business being there at all as a matter of fact, except for the fact that my daughter had won a scholarship to attend for being a “Young Entrepreneur” for her young adult book review site.  She was rocking the world of Young Adult fiction and had even helped launch a few up and coming authors.  Now that is someone who was achieving greatness.  I was just along for the ride.

Lewis was not someone I had not heard of until the seminar (sorry Lewis) but he did a fantastic talk on LinkedIn and the power of marketing through that particular social media tool.  His story was inspiring – having gone from crashing and burning after an injury ended his dream of being a football player to living on his sister’s couch to figuring out how LinkedIn could grow his business and then teaching others to use it for their businesses – to the tune of a significant income stream – was intriguing.  Of course back then, I don’t think he was doing a podcast, but I signed up for his newsletter and followed him ever since.

When I saw he was releasing this book, The School of Greatness, I immediately pre-purchased the book.  I knew I wanted to read it and that it would be good based on his blogs, podcasts and other things I’d seen from him.  I was not disappointed.  I had another book I was reading when it was delivered and I got sucked in immediately once I started reading it that alas, the other book is still sitting there open but face down waiting for me to to return to it.

The tag line is “A Real-World Guide To Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy.”  I definitely think Howes hit the mark on the “living bigger” part and while I don’t really recall a lot of time being spent specifically on “loving deeper,” I can see how following his suggestions through mindset, habits, and healthy lifestyle that would naturally become a by-product.   “Leaving a legacy” is something I think many people want to accomplish and again I think that would be a result of implementing the habits and lifestyle Howes discusses.

So take a minute and order yourself this book. I am now reading another book that Howes recommended in The School of Greatness and I will be telling you more about that book next time.  Meanwhile, ponder what your life would look like if you incorporated more “greatness” into it.  Come on, you know you want it.

 

Project Management Processes For Life

bigstock-Goals-Strategy-D-Cartoon-Man--8934556As a Project Manager, I have learned a lot about the processes for my job.  What I realized is that I can use very similar ideas for managing my personal goals or “projects” as I like to call them.  To me, turning a goal into a project means it is something I’m actively working on and moving towards results.

There are typically 5 processes I use in my work:

  • Trigger
  • Goal
  • Actions
  • Direction
  • Achievement

 

When I have a personal goal, I use the same processes to help me achieve it.

First I trigger the entire project.  I ask myself important questions like what am I currently doing with this goal and how do I want it to be different?  I list my current habits and look at my history with this particular issue.  If it is a particularly big ass hairy goal, I break it down into smaller chunks.  I identify who are the key people I need to help me achieve this.  I write down why I need this particular achievement (this is probably one of the single most important steps in any project you take on).  Knowing WHY you want to do something is one of the biggest factors in the fire in your belly in achieving it.

I specifically identify what the objectives are.  I note if I have made any assumptions – for example, if I was training for a marathon, I might assume that I have running shoes or a place to regularly run.  I also note what are my constraints like if I have my youngest daughter with me, I can’t really do a long run.   I write a declaration of my intent.  And then I write about what the goal specifically is….the scope of the project.

During my Goal phase, I figure out how to do the planning.  Do I want to create a timeline that is rigid or do I want to take each piece as it comes and plan those smaller pieces out in detail.  I create a project scope statement.  It usually is something to the effect of:  The goal of this project is to  – write my next book by X date, I will write 3 chapters per month for X months, I will decide how I want to publish the book and contact the necessary people, I will create a marketing strategy, website, email campaign etc.  Whatever your specific goals are for your project, it should be listed in the Project Scope Statement.

Next during the Goal phase, if there are more people involved in helping get this goal achieved, I assemble the “team.”  This is how it works in a corporate environment.  Project Managers are never an island unto themselves.  All projects take a team.  Chances are, your project will need a team too.  Whether it is your spouse, kids, a coach, a contractor, whatever – you need to identify the important players that will contribute to achieving the goal.

It is always a good idea to create a visual picture of your project.  This is where creating a WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) comes in handy.  For non project managers, this might be a vision board of the goal, including various necessary items, or sub-goals along the way.   It is a visual aid that enables you to quickly see the different phases and steps to each phase that are necessary.  An example in my personal life would be to breakdown my training for IronMan into Four Phases – one is training for the run, another is training for the cycling, a swim plan and then finally a bringing it all together plan for Race Day.  A good WBS will help you keep your project in focus and help you keep track of the different parts and where you are at in any given phase.

This may all seem very clinical for a personal goal.  But I’m going to be honest with you.  The reason most people always have a dream of “writing that novel” but never actually sit down and WRITE THE NOVEL is because they don’t have a plan, they don’t make the commitment to that plan and then they don’t execute the plan.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not the Project Manager nazi over here.  In fact, I have probably failed at achieving almost as many goals as I have successfully seen through because at various times in my life, I didn’t begin things with purpose and a plan.

Once I realized this and started applying what I did for my JOB in my personal life, I started seeing drastic results.  So take advantage of my experience and try it out.  You may just plan your next project into the success you always wanted.

 

Reboot the blog!

bigstock_Components_Of_Success_Concept_6170683I have decided to reboot the blog. Mostly because it has been in limbo for a long while and I want to get back in touch with you, my faithful readers.

I think its time to give you an idea about the new project I’m working on: Life.

Yeah. Its a biggie. And not something to be taken lightly. It is a project that takes care, planning, learning, mentorship and more.

You see I’m a Project Manager by trade. And after a while of dealng with personal life crisis (You know the little mundane things like home foreclosure, divorce, financial ruin, crazy parents…) I began to think that I needed to take a look at how I approached my life and apply a little of the finesse of how I run my professional life.

That got me thinking. I had not exactly had the results I wanted up until now. What what missing? Sure I had moments of good things…but the consistency was lacking and I was not attracting things into my life that were good for me.

It hit me that I would be way better off if I would project manage my life. So I am going to start a path of truly managing my life, from goals, to fun, to travel, to even my love life. I’m going to think carefully and manage my life the way I would manage my biggest project at work. With care, understanding, flexibility and intelligence. I will minimize risk, and maximize return on investment. I will use the least amount of resources to achieve my goals but spend time and energy when the quality of life dictates it is necessary.

For those of you who can relate, I invite you to come along. I will be documenting my journey and putting together a mentorship program based on what I learn.

In the meantime…think about the areas of your life that can use a little project managing. What areas have you felt lacked direction? Where have you felt lost? Let’s climb on the bandwagon together and choose our outcomes. You only get one life. Let’s rock the shit out of it.

New Directions

It has always amazed me how when you tune into the Universe and really pay attention, suddenly things start to happen that really move you forward in your purpose.

I am a big believer in finding and living the purpose we each have here on Earth. I know that we don’t always have what may be perceived as huge goals or dreams, but to me, if we even make one person’s life better, then you never know where that influence will end.
Zach Sobiech Clouds
This is a time of great change in the world. Hopefully for the better, but there is still much to work on and make better. I went through a lot of challenges to get where I am today. Nothing worth doing is ever easily won.

So stay the course, have faith in the Universe. Remember to trust and listen to your instinct, you are on the right path that you need to be on to fulfill the role you are here for on our limited time on this planet.

I found my Mojo in Durango

DurangoYeah, you know I totally SEOed my title. Here’s the deal. I felt like I lost my mojo. I wasn’t feeling very well. I was feeling disillusioned….or maybe ILLUSIONED – like reality hit hard.

I’m not one of those people that goes to Google Keyword Tool every time I write an article. In fact, I don’t believe that is what SEO is really all about at ALL. Nope. What most marketers miss (and I use the term marketer loosely) is that it’s about people. You know…your readers. Do you think that Seth Godin does a keyword search when he writes his 300-500 word blog posts? Or how about Tim Ferris? You KNOW I think Gary Vaynerchuck does keyword research before he goes on a rant in one of his videos…. please hear the sarcasm in my voice.

So I knew it was time for a little breaky-poo when I started looking up keywords to write an article. Here’s the thing – I’m a Jersey girl. I don’t need keywords. You either read my stuff because you like it, or you don’t. When you start putting too much thought into your writing, you will lose your audience.

Does that mean you should never use the Google Keyword Tool? No – in fact it can give you some great synonyms to use instead of saying the same word over and over and over (you get my drift.) BUT writing an article based solely on keywords can make your article very dry and boring.

Why do people follow you? Because of your STORIES and how those stories make them FEEL. If they feel connected to you – they will sign up for your newsletter, buy your products and want your training.

Here is my story for today. – I thought I lost my mojo. This year has been full of changes for me. I had been feeling uninspired, lacked the focus and clarity I needed to write and was generally feeling blech. Have you ever felt that way? All of sudden you’re rolling along and whamo, you feel like you just drove into mud and can’t get out.

taking a time out in DurangoWell, I did what any normal person would do – I took a time out in Durango. I will admit, I’m lucky that I am within driving distance of such a beautiful place. I am also lucky that I have such a good friend that I can call and say “I’m coming for a whole week!!!” But when I lived in Jersey, I would find the same solace in going “down the shore.” It doesn’t matter where you live, there is always a little get-away place you can find and make it your own.

Summer is the perfect season for taking a “time out.”

Most of us plan a vacation of some sorts. If you constantly work, work, work – there is no time for your brain and body to regenerate, renew. When we remove ourselves from our normal surroundings it becomes easier to get perspective, to find solutions to challenges and to plan out your next course of action.

I was lucky that I was able to get some down time, but also to work with a renewed spirit, to figure out what I needed to be focusing on for quarter 3 and to appreciate all of the blessings in my life. That is where the true mojo comes from…a place of gratitude.taking a time out

I was sitting one morning in a hammock at my friend’s house overlooking the Aspens and I realized I had found my mojo again. I realized I was ready to come home and crack the 2nd half of 2013 wide open. Now I can look back at the challenges I was facing and know they were just what I needed to take the action I’m about to take. I’m fired up!

Today’s action step: Find a quiet time in the next week to evaluate the first half of 2013. Did you achieve your goals? If not, where did things get out of alignment? What needs to change to get back on track? Realize you still have 6 whole months to finish out the year strong. Take your bigger goal and break it into 6 smaller goals….for example if you have a goal of making $60,000 by the end of the year, break that down into $10,000 per month, $2,500 per week.

Please like and share this post! And don’t forget to tell me how YOU are going to take a time out this summer in the comments below!

Top Five Ways To Get Loyal Followers

follow meIn the opportunity market, there is a lot of noise. One of the things I see so many people struggle with is how to set apart their content so that people will follow them.

There are a lot of things involved when you begin marketing your blog. As of this writing, the interweb told me there are over 250 Million blogs right now. Let me now state the obvious that you will have some work to do to get noticed and to get a following.

Many new people to the online marketing world are under the impression that if they build it, people will come…meaning if they slap up a website, all of a sudden there will be buyers and fame. Not only is that not true, but it takes a good amount of consistent effort, and other factors to get on the blogosphere map.

Getting followers to your blog

So I thought I would share with you some of the things I’ve found helps get readers fast. As the author of over 50 blogs, I have definitely seen what works well and what bombs horribly…as in crickets….ZERO readers.

Here are The Bossy Redhead’s Top Five Ways To Get Loyal Followers:

  1. Be Entertaining.

    When I started my first blog, I was lucky – I had no intentions of selling anything at all and I was simply sharing my experience of losing weight as a mom of four. Folks – this was just a funny topic because, let’s face it, trying to do P90X with a two year old climbing on you can be a challenge. Not only that, but I was going through a divorce at the time, and I was real, honest and didn’t pull any punches about what was happening in my life. I learned just by writing from my heart that if you are REAL, you will get a following because people want to connect with others they can relate to.

  2. Provide value.

    My next blog became – you guessed it – an official fitness blog. So now, I was niching down into a specific sector of fitness – specifically with P90X, Insanity, Turbo Fire and the other Beachbody programs. How did I gain followers with that in an area where there are SO many fitness blogs? I did the same thing…I just blogged about my personal experience of what worked and what didn’t. I gave away menu planners and other tips. I never was about perfection – but really IMperfection – because life took over a lot in my world. I wanted to reach other parents who were time crunched and needed someone to help them get a handle on their health and wellness.

  3. Capture.

    About a year in, I finally learned that it didn’t matter who was reading my blog if I didn’t get their name and email address to begin a relationship with my consumer. Alas, better late than never, I added Aweber to my arsenal and began growing a list of followers. Then I began writing TO them to invite them back to my blog. You will be amazed at how much your readership goes up when you simply invite your list to read your latest post.

  4. Contests and Giveaways.

    The folks that have this DOWN are the Mommy Bloggers. Go to any popular mommy blog and you will see a deal of the day, a contest, a giveaway…. these bloggers are really helping their readers by sharing a deal with them. And who doesn’t like to get a good deal? Who doesn’t get excited when they enter a contest? There are lots of great tools out there as well that can help you run a contest without a lot of work on your part – and they integrate with social media!

  5. Share, Syndicate, Share.

    Go forth and prosper. What this means is – don’t write your blog and then walk away. PLEASE – share the blog on all the social media sites you frequent often AND those you don’t. There are great tools like onlywire.com that can help you get your blog posts everywhere and in front of as many eyes as possible.

Whatever you do, don’t be dry and matter of fact. Every blog post should reflect your personality and be your own flavor.

Keep blogging and sharing!

Bossy Redhead OUT!

Waiting For Momentum

MomentumBeing in business for yourself can be …and usually is a very daunting and challenging experience. The reality is, that most people simply don’t have the determination to see themselves through all of the ups and downs of getting a business off the ground.

For me, it is one of those things that is in my blood. I really and truly just can’t picture myself doing anything else but running my own business. Its something I have to do.

What is the single most destructive thing for a business owner to ensure the failure of the business? Giving up. Deciding they’ve been defeated and not pursuing their dreams and goals anymore.

“Yeah, I tried that – but it didn’t work.” These are the words I just hate to hear. It is the statement of someone who has given up on themselves.

The answer is in simply realizing that momentum takes time. It takes consistency. I don’t think I have ever seen someone fail that did the right actions day in and day out every single day.

If you need a lesson in consistency I recommend you read “Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuck. In this runaway best seller, Gary Vaynerchuck talks about the things business owners need to do to set themselves apart. He talks about the value that must be provided over and over again FIRST…for a LONG time before rewards set in.

Most of the people I help don’t start out with a big wad of cash burning a hole through their pockets to spend on ads, social media campaigns, direct mail and more. Most people I work with, actually have very little capital to invest at first. If that is you, you simply have to face reality that it will be a longer road for you. You will have to bring value to the marketplace consistently, without fail for a while before your message catches fire.

I get frustrated when I hear people talk about getting rich in 90 days or creating a 50K per month revenue stream in a short time because the statistics say that is just not the way it works. The people I know who are making good money with their businesses, worked very hard for several years before they had the breakthrough. Yes, breakthrough is when momentum hits and your income suddenly shoots up. Income grows fast but the business itself took years to cultivate.

You have to be in this thing for the long haul. If you feel down, or frustrated, get with other entrepreneurs who can encourage you and lift you up. Or hire a business trainer.

Either way, you can create the future you desire, you simply have to know it will take time, you need patience and deliberate value providing activities (VPAs).

Marathon runners don’t wake up one day and run a 26k. No, they train for months and months every single day…and THEN they run the race. Is a first time runner going to win the Marathon? No…but he or she hopefully will complete the race. That is the way you need to look at your business. Your first run to momentum may not be exactly where you wish to be, but your next run and your next run, you will grow and get better and better.
Marathon Runner

So bunker down, get your supplies and be ready to run for the long haul.

Top 5 Ways to Work From Home For Moms

Don’t get offended guys, this post is just for Moms. Moms that want to work from home.

work from home momsAs some of you might already know, I’m a mom of four. I have been a work from home mom for almost the entire time my kids have been alive. There were only 3 years that I worked in a corporate environment since having children. I am passionate about helping Moms who want to be home with their children find a way to make money from home if they wish to.

Not every mom has the burning desire to be at home with her kids, but for me, I was heart broken when I had to leave my little ones with a daycare. I didn’t want someone else seeing those first steps, experiencing new breakthroughs and taking care of my babies while I was off working for someone else.

I found that where there is a will, there is a way and I began my journey into being a work from home mom shortly after my first child was born.

Here are my top 5 ways for Moms to be able to work from home:

1. Telecommute

Many moms start their journey of being able to work from home simply by telecommuting. When you telecommute, you are basically an employee, but you do your job from home instead of going into an office. I have done this, but I also found the hours very constricting. When you are employed, you generally are expected to put your work hours in during the typical 8-5 timeframe. Well, if you want to be an involved parent, that may not work. You can’t just drop everything to do things with your kids if you telecommute.

2. Become a Virtual Assistant

If you have adminstrative skills and can fit several hours of work in each day, you can start making money from home by being a VA (virtual assistant). Places like Hire My Mom and Elance are great ways to get your first clients. What is nice about this, is you can work as much or as little as you wish to and make some nice extra money.

3. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is a perfect way to break into the world of online marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you market and sell other people’s products. You can either check sites like clickbank or commission junction or just check product sites you like to see if there is an affiliate program.

4. Network Marketing

A lot of moms I know really enjoy running their own business from home with a network marketing company. Like affiliate marketing, it is really easy and cheap to get started because you don’t have to create and ship products. But, you also don’t have a unique product and the competition is high. That being said, there are many benefits to network marketing for moms. I know for myself, it enables me to socialize a lot more. I have made some of the best friends of my life in my network marketing business. I make a decent amount of money – for some it would be just the ticket. I have fluctuated between making a full time living and making supplemental cash for my lifestyle, but I love the incentive trips and other bonuses.

5. Create Your Own Products and Sell Them Online

This is by far the most difficult and cost intensive unless you create an info product (an info product is something like an eBook, a training course, audios etc.) If you have a vision to create a physical process, this can be very costly and challenging to produce and market. That being said, it can also be one of the most lucrative and rewarding businesses. Sometimes people start with one of the other options and then create their own products down the road. I think of FlyLady as a great example of someone who created a following with value FIRST then came up with products later that made her some great money.

work from home momBeing a mom is the world’s greatest job. Finding ways to make money along with that can be one of the best ways to have a rich, fulfilling life.