Monday, January 26, 2009

Taking Risks

If you had to come up with a name and song that represented your industry or sector, what would be your answer? This was the challenge facing over 70 members at the recent Company of Women mix & mingle dinner.

We’d pre-arranged for people to sit at tables with their peers and encouraged a sense of abundance instead of competition among the women.

As I wandered around the room, I could see that some groups were really getting into it, while others struggled, particularly those in the finance industry. “we’re black and white, not creative” explained one member of the group, and you certainly could feel their anguish at the task assigned.

One group – the coaches – had us all on our feet, clapping our hands and singing “yes I can” and another did a take on Desperate Housewives, but guess who won? The financial planners or the “Money Honeys” as they may prefer to be called. And their song – the 12 months of financial planning, sung to The Twelve Days of Christmas.

All of which goes to show, that when you step outside your comfort zone, take a risk – you’ve got nothing to lose, and sometimes you actually win.

As the late Dr. David Viscott, author of Risking wrote “If you cannot risk, you cannot grow. If you cannot grow, you cannot become your best. If you cannot become your best, you cannot be happy. If you cannot be happy, what else matters.

So kudos to the Money Honeys.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Winter be gone

I am tired of winter. I’ve had enough. I’ve discovered muscles I didn’t know I had, from shoveling the snow to my country girl role – collecting fire wood.

The other day as I was checking the weather forecast on the Internet, I noticed some ads down the side of the page for trips to Fort Lauderdale and other warmer regions. Beam me up I thought. But I also recognized that this was a company that was truly strategic in its advertising. As you’re checking to see just how low the temperature is going, of course, a trip to the sun sounds attractive.

How strategic is your advertising? How well do you understand how your ideal customer thinks, feels and spends her time? It is important to do your homework and invest your advertising dollars wisely, because when you do, you reach your target.

So am I off to Florida? No, not yet, but it sure is tempting.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Always the bridesmaid?

My head is alive with the Sound of Music, which I went to see with a friend this week. It was my Christmas present to her, but of course I got to come too.

Now Sound of Music was a big favourite in our family – from my grandparents who lived with us, to my parents. We all loved Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer in their roles, and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but I know all the words to the songs (just as well it wasn’t a sing-a-long version.)

At first I was disappointed that we didn’t have the winning Maria perform that night. We had her runner-up in the contest. She was terrific. But then it struck me that coming in second, doesn’t mean you are not any good.

And from a business perspective, just because you don’t land the big order or you don’t get the job, or you get laid off, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t good at what you do either.

I know there have been times when I have been disappointed when something hasn’t come to fruition as I planned, but without fail, something better has been around the corner. What’s the saying, as one door closes, another opens.

So stay the course, believe in yourself, because just like the Maria runner-up, you’ll get your moment in the sun.

Friday, January 02, 2009


How do you cheer yourself up? New haircut? Some retail therapy? With the current financial doldrums, these strategies may not be an option, but there are ways to feel good without it costing a cent. In a recent article in Psychologies, the following were listed as ways to feel good for free.

1. For the next seven days, carry out three random acts of kindness every day. Visit for inspiration.

2. Log on to for free one- minute meditations and join the quest to promote personal peace.

3. Go without your cell phone, Internet, television and newspaper for a day and try living in the slow lane. Curl up with a novel, try a new recipe, or write a letter to a friend.

4. Make it your mission today to give at least five compliments and enjoy how good it feels to make someone else’s day. Visit for inspiration.

5. Spend half an hour making a gratitude list. Psychologists believe that experiencing gratitude is a core component of wellbeing.

6. For one weekend, try becoming a tourist in your own town. Most residents rarely visit the tourist attractions on their own doorstep.

7. Call and chat with one of the friends you’ve been meaning to catch up with.

8. Plan a night with your favourite funny DVDs. Psychologists have found that we can raise endorphin levels just be anticipating a good laugh.

9. Spring clean. Not only is mess a background stressor, but research suggests that we subconsciously connect cleaning with purging ourselves of guilt.

10. Sit quietly, without movement for a couple of minutes. When you are still, you become who you are beyond your everyday routine.