It’s no secret that the ability to pay attention is essential to our success. If our attention skills are strong, we can perform well on required tasks. If they are stunted, we perform poorly. Daniel Goleman is one of my favorite authors. His first two books explore the vital connection between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership: “Emotional Intelligence” and “Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence.” His most recent book is “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence.”
In the December issue of Mindful Magazine, Daniel discusses three types of focus that we all require to enjoy a connected, fulfilling life: Inner focus, Other focus, and Outer focus. Leaders especially require strength in all three areas to achieve their goals.
As much of the country is blanketed in snow and ice, this is a perfect time to pause… to take a deep breath, notice the beauty of our surroundings, and slow down. Yes, the snow wreaks havoc on our well-assembled plans. School is canceled, day-care is closed, meetings and appointments are pushed aside, our travel plans are either rescheduled or delayed.
Fortunately for most of us, however, the winter weather is nothing more than an inconvenience.
Two of my favorite things about the snow (besides snow angels) are the way it falls in solitude, and the visual effect it has on our landscape. Both of these gifts are actually deceptive, for beneath the snow lies Spring. While we are in the moment of the winter solstice, we shift focus away from the fact that just beneath our feet, and also just above our heads is growing grass and budding trees & flowers. Even in the stillness and solitude of a snowstorm, Spring life continues to push forward.
There is a big difference between “hearing” and “listening.” We often hear the people around us, whether engaged in a group dialogue or one-to-one discussion, but we don’t always “listen.”
Especially in today’s environment where there are so many platforms to speak, we are bombarded with noise and messages that dissolve into useless babble.
Ideally, the art of conversation is an intentional exchange between two like-minded individuals that is mutually beneficial, and creates connection and harmony. In this circumstance, the two participants are equal partners. The speaker is active, and the listener is receptive. A conversation in which someone is speaking but no one is listening – either intentionally or non-intentionally – creates disharmony in the conversation and the relationship.
Businesses can’t grow without strategic partnerships. When thoughtfully selected, the right partner can enhance a company’s client base, capabilities, market presence, and overall brand. When selected poorly, the wrong partner can result in wasted time, energy, and resources, with nothing to show for your efforts, and can potentially harm your company or reputation.
No one would buy a luxury home from a builder living in a shack, or trust a wealth manager that was financially irresponsible. When we evaluate the skills of web designers or graphic artists, we ask to see a portfolio of work, and we visit their sites.
Our own actions give us credibility, or they discredit us. There is no in-between.
Would you hire yourself?
Entrepreneurship is as American as apple pie, baseball, and SpongeBob Squarepants. The essence behind entrepreneurship is the freedom to live a professional life that has the most meaning to you – to not be defined by someone else’s value system, personal vision & goals, and decisions. But with that freedom comes tremendous accountability, responsibility, and risk.
As SpongeBob and Patrick so eloquently discussed, entrepreneurship has unlimited possibilities. With entrepreneurship, we are limited only by our own vision (and money – but we can often find it if we look in the right places). However, entrepreneurship does bring its own pain and suffering with it, so to answer Patrick’s question, yes entrepreneurship can hurt at times.
I had the privilege of speaking at the National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC – www.nwboc.org) conference last week in Palm Beach, Florida. One of the highlights of the conference (where 200 women business owners came together to learn, share, and connect) was keynote Barbara Corcoran. Barbara is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country. She took a $1,000 loan to start her real estate company, The Corcoran Group, which she grew into a $5 billion business. She sold the firm for $66 million in 2001.
Barbara is also a host and investor on ABC’s Shark Tank. During the last three seasons, she has bought 11 new businesses. She is also the author of three best-selling books, and is a regular small business and real estate contributor on all of the major networks.
Like all great entrepreneurs, Barbara’s journey to success has been filled with wonderful lessons. I have summarized them here for you.
Selecting your networking communities; Top DC 7, best learning community, favorite online spots, best events
As a follow-up to my March 10th Washington Business Report segment on strategic networking (http://bcove.me/xuc1biiy), I’ve compiled strategies on selecting the networking communities that are right for you. I’ve also listed the top 10 networking communities, along with information on the best learning community, the best events, and my favorite online spots.
First, let’s look at five ways that will help you decide where and with whom your should spend your valuable time.
February was a month of wins – and losses. Everyone talks about their wins, so I’m going to move right past those, and get to the topic that that leaders rarely glorify: the losses.
I was rejected in February by TED. TED stands for Technology, Engineering and Design. There are TED events all over the world that feature speakers that have ideas worth spreading. The TED website (www.ted.com) is my all-time favorite site because it opens our minds to so many ways of thinking about things we’ve never even thought about! It spotlights our greatest potential in any topic you can imagine.
Spouses that choose to work together embark on a very unique journey. This arrangement is not a conventional marriage. Two of the hardest things a person can attempt is to build a successful business and a successful marriage. 90 percent of all businesses fail within the first 5 years. The divorce rate (in the U.S.) is now higher than 50 percent. Combine these two endeavors, and you face a lot of risk. There is a lot at stake at home and at work if things get rocky. The levels of expectations for one another are much higher than in a typical business partnership or typical marriage. Consideration must extend much further than, “I have this great business idea, can you help me?”
As a follow up to my January 10, 2013 segment on Washington Business Report (http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/02/washington-business-report-feb-10-2013-85006.html) on working with your spouse, I’ve interviewed several other business owners who have braved this model to learn what makes it work, and how to avoid trouble in paradise. Rather than giving a simple bulleted list of strategies such as “schedule a date night” or “agree not to talk about marriage at home,” I’m sharing a more detailed behind-the-scenes glimpse of the complexities of this arrangement. If you are currently working with your spouse, or thinking about it, this is an important column for you.