As we start this brilliant and bright new year, I’m beginning the ‘Coaching Fellowship Program’. It’s a coaching program aimed specifically at young professional high potential women. During my career I’ve borne witness to many women who hit that moment in their young career which could be the catapult to the next level. Sometimes great things happened, and sometimes (sadly more often than not), steps were missed, action not taken, and much time was spent in regret.
Coaching is a powerful tool, it’s something I wish I’d had access to in my twenties and early thirties. Coaching helps you get clear on what you want, and then holds you accountable to make it happen. The earlier you can find clarity, the sooner you’ll be creating the path you wish.
To give back I’ve created the ‘Coaching Fellowship Program’. Whereby, I’m offering three young high potential women two hours of professional coaching per month for six months at a rate of $50 p/m instead of $400 p/m.
> If you are interested in applying please complete the application form before January 15, 2014.
> If you know a great candidate please forward this blog post, and tell her to apply!
> If you are a coach and would like to join me in participating and growing this program, please email me directly at email@example.com
Here’s to a great year, and keep being brilliant!
Until very recently my life purpose was an illusive, shy beast that I was starting to question even existed. You see I’d been on a search on and off for at least 6 years, and even with an extended sabbatical to find ‘the’ answer - it refused to show itself. The harder I looked, the more I read, the more I contemplated, the further away it ran from me.
Sound familiar? Have you been looking for your reason for being You see the answer is right there - in the ‘being’.
The mistake I made and what I see others doing, is trying to find the answer to “What should I be doing?”. When the real question you need to ask yourself is “Who am I being”?
This isn’t as easy as it seems. We are blind. It seems impossible for us to know. Why is that? Because your purpose is so deeply part of you and has been for so long, that it’s almost invisible. You don’t notice, or see it as a skill, as an important thing. You forget the person you are naturally, is unique. There is only one representation of you in the world.
Furthermore, we tend to confuse purpose with vision, goals and legacy. Those are all equally important - they drive us to action, to impact. But it’s the who we be every day, that is the why you are here. AND, when we get conscious about that + fuse with what you want to see happen, untold fulfillment and greatness in the world can happen.
If you are on your search for purpose, here are a few things to try whilst on your journey:
(1) Find a pattern.
It might surprise you to know you have already been living your purpose your whole life. It most likely started when you were a kid in the playground, it followed you to college, it was there in your first job, it’s there’s right now. Who were you being back then, and who are you being now? The helper? The warrior? The one that inspires? The one that truly sees?
Take some time to observe the patterns of your behavior. Think about who are you at home as well as at work. Often we only think in career terms, but you are creating impact with your purpose everywhere.
(2) Take the Strength Finder test.
This test is one of the best out there. I have used it dozens of times with my staff, clients and I’ve even given to friends. The test focuses on identifying your natural strengths as your most valuable assets. In my humble opinion, it has never been wrong. It allows one to truly understand one’s key strengths, and the sum of this can nudge you toward uncovering your purpose.
(3) Ask someone!
Seems simple, and it is. Since becoming a coach, if I had a dollar for every-time some told me I’m clearly a coach, I’d be a wealthy woman by now. As mentioned above, my trouble was not asking who am I being? Others can see you better than you can see yourself. Ask them. Also ask people you’ve just met, after only 10 minutes they can tell you too. You see, you can’t help but be yourself, you are always being you.
Believe me, you have been living your reason for being every day of your life. Just ask yourself - who do you be? And be happy!
[This post was first featured on The Heretic on Dec 20, 2013.]
"Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life." [Proverbs 4:23]
What was that thought today that held you back, made you mad, wrenched your stomach, served the cold soup?
How long did you let it influence you? A few moments, 30 mins, an hour? Are you still simmering? Were you even aware until now that it was simply a thought?
As human beings we revere the power of our consciousness. It’s what separates us from the animal world. What make us think we are superior and special. Yet, on closer examination - most of you would agree, we spend a great deal of our time in unconscious thought and belief.
Some of those beliefs have been formed over many, many years and have become so commonplace in our mind, that we believe it to speak the truth:
"I’m not good enough…"
“I’m not smart enough…”
“I’m too much…”
“It will never work…”
“Why should they care…?”
Get the idea?
Every single one of us has a least one inner voice, some have dozens - and you are not alone.
The key is to notice that it simply is just an inner thought. Stop it right there in its tracks. Choose whether you want to believe it or not. And then, act.
I speak to people all the time who want to make a positive change in their lives, and I guarantee you 98% of the time - that inner voice is both the truth and lie. The answer is to know when to listen and when to say “Go…take a hike!”.
TRY IT OUT
Here’s an activity for you. Over the weekend try to notice when that inner voice is speaking. How many times a day can you catch it talking? What does it say?
The more you become conscious of your thoughts, the more you’ll be in choice about what you believe, and therefore you’ll be in choice about how you act.
One of the most wonderful things you can do for a person is to truly see them. We are rarely witnessed, and even when we are - we are rarely acknowledged.
It’s easy to miss the human being as we go about our busy lives at work, at the supermarket and even sometimes even same house we live in. My belief and experience shows me - we are yearning to be truly seen. That means another has noticed the uniqueness we bring to this life, they are grateful for what that means, and they are wanting more.
Here are three powerful statements which were shared with me recently as part of the CTI trainings:
"What I am longing for you is… "
"What’s next for you is… "
"My vision for you is… "
Try speaking these statement to someone you noticed, and watch their reaction of being seen by you. Keep your words short, it will land deeper. Also try answering the questions for yourself, at times we forget to see ourselves too.
For those who like a challenge: try those statements out with people you’ve only just met. You’ll be surprised by how much you already know, and how much you want for that person.
This has been a second year of awakening for me. It was in the spring of 2012 that somehow things seemed adrift. I was out of sorts and there was a longing, but I didn’t know what for. I decided to leave my big important job, and figure it all out. And I tried, and I failed. And I learned a bunch.
Then, in the summer of this year, I had a very visceral experience. A head injury after falling from my horse bolting at a rattle snake. It was a wake up call. An epiphany. A resuscitation jolt.
I knew in an instant. All that time spent laboring over what I wanted, and what I could bring to this life - was suddenly clear. I’m a coach. I’ve been doing it my whole life. Coaching school friends, college buddies, the hockey team, work colleagues, my own teams, mentoring start-up founders, recent graduates, neighbors, fellow equestrians, people on planes. It was staring me down the whole time. I was completely blind to my natural talent, and disposition to help people find their passion and live their purpose.
Now, I’m delighted to state - I’m doing this full time. It’s a joy. It’s a drug. It’s like coming home.
And I’m so very thankful.
I was struck by so many of her and Michael Krasny’s analogies to the act of writing: the courage required, of beginning, of creating, of laying oneself bare, of persisting — and how beautifully it appears that writing is like any project or desire you wish to accomplish, or even of life itself.
Shapiro spoke of starting a new book, like “diving into a swimming pool and not knowing if there’s any water” and then once beginning there’s a comfort of returning, and persisting and working each day - a looking forward to the journey, that there is a job to be done.
My favourite metaphor from the show spoken by Michael Krasney was by E. L Doctorow:
“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
I adore this quote, and personally want to surplant “Life” for ‘writing’ in the sentence. It’s true. We don’t get to look very far into the future, life wants us to live squarely in today!
Take full pleasure dancing in the moment with full knowledge that you can make it all the way home.
One exquisite moment every day. Everyone should have one.
I used to keep a diary of the three things I was most grateful for that day. It was a ritual I practised. Taking time to reflect, be thankful and celebrate. My ‘things’ ranged from important life events, such as my Dad getting the all clear on his aneurism for another 6 months, to watching a humming-bird feeding on our bird of paradise in the morning, to making supper with Pascal.
Practising giving thanks makes one happier, healthier, observant and self-aware. I did this for more than four years, taking small breaks when I ran out of time, and life just got hectic.
Recently, I tried something new — making sure there was at least one exquisite moment in my day. This is working for me in two key ways:
(i) Firstly, the word ‘exquisite’ itself defines the type of moment. The dictionary defines exquisite as “extremely beautiful and, typically, delicate”.
(ii) Secondly, this practise is active - not passive. If no exquisite moment has occurred in your day by 6pm, you still have a chance to create one!
It’s interesting to observe that most of my exquisite moments include Pascal, my animals, and nature. It tells me what fills my heart and what makes me happy.
Why not try it for yourself for one week, and see what comes up for you? Remember, you only get so many trips around the sun. Make each day count!
I’m collecting the most wonderful moments in my life. And for that I am thankful!
Today, I’m starting a new exciting role. I’m thrilled to be joining Gooru Learning as their VP of Community and Engagement.
The last few months have been an amazing voyage of discovery and experimentation for me. After leaving Mozilla last year, I deliberately took time to decompress, really listen to my passions, and think about where I can next make the most difference in the world.
With the support of many friends (old and new) and the great people at Astia where I became an Entrepreneur in Residence, it became clear I had to find a new role where these components came together:
User as central to design and purpose
(Some of my dear Mozillians will recognize a bunch of those important values!)
If I could just find a new home with those attributes, I knew I’d be creating the most value and impact — and be the most happy. However, for several months it felt very much like finding a needle in a haystack. Turns out there simply aren’t that many organizations who think and act this way. Then, the fabulous Sharon Vosmek introduced me to Prasad Ram - founder of Gooru Learning. And in less than one hour of meeting with Pram, I knew this was it.
Gooru is a non-profit organization honoring the human right to education. Through technology they are providing access to the very best educational content. They are leading the charge with a new open way for educational content to be found, collated and shared.
I’m absolutely honored and over-joyed to be joining this amazing team. Over the coming months I’ll be writing more about my role, and the intersection of community and education. But for now, it’s time for me to get started!
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me on my journey. Please know I’m truly grateful and really excited for the future!
My guess is – not really. I’m not going to tell you what marketing mix is right for you, but there are a few basic lessons that apply when it comes to marketing any start-up.
Embrace good is good enough
Somehow when a product is ready to market, folks freeze, and won’t ship until the ‘marketing’ is perfect. And, this will be the certain death of you. Believe me, you can and will eventually change everything: your app or website design, the messaging, even your name, but you won’t have a chance unless you get yourself out there.
Now, whatever you launch still needs to be good. I said good, not perfect. Don’t have a designer at hand? Check out sites such as 99 Designs, or Squarespace. And when it comes to your name and messaging, why not ask 20 people in your network, or even in the queue at Starbucks? You will always be evolving your marketing (it’s a living thing); but in the beginning you can get very far asking for advice from a small pool. The important thing is to get the ball rolling.
Don’t boil the ocean
Who is your customer? It can’t be everyone. You must choose. By focusing on a core audience you can focus your resource and energy. Ideally, it will be a group who are super-connectors and influencers who will love what you do – and then tell others.
Presumably when you started to build your product this was the audience you had in mind, the one whose problem you were solving. It’s tempting to want to market to (and build features for) several different audiences and widen your prospect pool, but doing that will actually dilute your appeal.
Start with a clear customer segment, and set out to own it. Then you can look to grow the pie.
Choose wisely and be fast
Whilst you are small, you can be: incredibly agile, react to the market and capitalize on trends. This is your advantage as a startup. But, you only have so much time – so you need to choose wisely. Resist the urge to do everything.
Social media is an area which I love to point out to start-ups. Why have a presence on five different social sites? Are you managing all of them (well)? Is that where your core audience are engaging (see point 2)? This is the trap of believing you need to do everything.
You can play where bigger brands cannot, and you can capitalize if you are fast. But you can only do that if you haven’t spread yourself too thin. Do a few key things really well.
Experiment, Test, Learn
Your product / service is new, and you don’t yet know what’s going to really work in terms of marketing. So you must try often. Test often. Learn, and then try again.
Growth hacking has become all the rage, and it’s easy to see why. Take your website for example, you can do a lot to optimize sign ups or your checkout process. That action might yield greater conversions than any social media / ad campaign.
Every company is different, and this is your journey, so you must be open to experiment with new ways of reaching and engaging your users. You have to find the best path for you, and that will take time and creativity. If there’s no room for experimentation, there will be no innovation.
You must follow the golden rule though: Don’t do it, if you can’t measure it. Your time and resources are limited, so don’t waste them.
As you’ve probably guessed marketing your start-up, sounds a lot like lean development. No surprises there. So don’t only apply it to building your product, start applying it to marketing today!
This post was featured on the Heretic (April 11, 2013)
These days it’s so taboo to talk about things we’ve bought: a new house, new car, clothes et al (yes, with the exception of gadgets my beloved geeky friends). It seems all the conversations I have with people these days are about experiences: things that happended to them, things they know, things they care about. Or experiences they want to have: places they want to travel to, things they want to see, read, take in, have happen.
Haven’t you noticed this?
So marketers when you market your products and services, please bear this in mind. Someone will talk about you when you made their life better, when it created a delightful experience, when they had fun! It won’t only be because they bought something new.
Made with ♥ in Saratoga, CA.