Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone- Taking Risks…

Most of my life I think I played it pretty safe. Yet, when I look back, there were times when I threw caution to the wind, went for a job as Director of International Marketing that I thought was out of my reach and ended up getting it and literally saw the world. Then again, I also was laid off several times in a 6 year period and totally took a leap of faith and started my own business. ( I just finished writing about this experience. I have a chapter in an upcoming book that will be out this summer- more to come!) But to me, these things don’t seem like that big of a risk because I had support. I had a wonderful success team to help me. I had plenty of referrals from colleagues, friends and family to fuel my marketing business and now I’m off to the races…

The real key I find in business is that you really have to take risks to be more successful and you often times have to step out of that comfort zone. The more I’ve done that, that’s when I’ve reaped wonderful successes.

I wanted to spotlight someone I met a few months ago who’s recently inspired me to rethink my comfort zone and maybe even taking a few more risks. Her name is Gina Otto.

[ A quick sidebar- That’s me and Gina in the photo, taken at these wonderful Women On Fire Tea Parties in New York City that are created by my incredible Executive Coach, Debbie Phillips. In fact, she’s holding her first Tea party in Los Angeles and she’s almost sold out- interested- check out Debbie’s website- http://www.woflosangeles.com ]

If you don’t know Gina, you will indeed in the coming months. She wrote this inspiring book for girls called Cassandra’s Angel. “It’s an amazing book that will move and delight children from four to ninety-four. Its heart-melting story and its timely and empowering message will enable children and parents alike to recognize, own, and nurture the special creative gifts each person has brought to share with the world.” Gina worked in film production, advertising, and the fashion industry for fifteen years. She then began speaking to groups of teenage girls about the importance of self-perception and how it is affected by popular culture and this book was born. She’s someone who I so admire because she had the guts to take a risk to leave a high paying industry to go after her dream. Since her book she’s written a musical which expands the realm of the book and puts her wonderful words into memorable songs.

I had the pleasure of being invited last night to the first reading of the musical. I’ve never attended one of these before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was amazing to watch the actors sit around the table with their scripts, a piano, director and musical director and how they brought it to life. It was so incredibly moving and awe-inspiring.  Seeing Gina’s dream come to life.

Gina is the epitome of someone who had the courage, gumption and support to take a huge risk and go after her dream of seeing her inspiring booked turned into a musical. So I hope what you can take away from here today is that it’s never too late to step out of your comfort zone, take that risk, jump off that proverbial cliff and just hang on because I bet you it will be the best most incredible ride you’ve ever had!

You are who you hang out with…

Have you ever heard this statement before? “You are a product of who you spend the most time with.” I’ve heard this a number of times in the past two years since I started my own business. In fact my friend and Master Coach, Rob Berkley just wrote about this and tells me and our Mastermind group this all the time. I think I finally get it now…

Me and Kristi Frank at the GKIC Superconference in NashvilleI just came from a very inspiring and idea filled event- Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle Marketing SuperConference in Nashville. It was amazing to me how being surrounded by immensely successful people really elevated my thinking and opened my eyes to a much bigger way of thinking and doing things. Instead of figuring out how to grow my business incrementally, I left with some much larger ideas on how I can grow my business fast in a much shorter time frame. This is what happens when you hang out with incredibly successful people more often. That’s me in the photo with Kristi Frank, she was one of the original members of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice.

I have to admit, it did take me a while to get this. I really had to take a hard look at myself and who I was spending time with on a regular basis. I really needed to get rid of those people that, to put it bluntly, sucked the life right out of me. I realized if I wanted to move forward in my work and my life I needed to try to upgrade my friends and colleagues. It takes immense courage to be able to look at who you’re spending time with and ask the question- are these the people who are going to lift me up in work and life or are they going to bring me down? If you want to become really successful, the best thing you can do is hang around with hugely successful people.

The next courageous step is to move towards letting go of those folks who are bringing you down. Take a look at who you’re spending the majority of your time with and seriously look at upgrading your colleagues and friends. Take it from me, you deserve to be incredibly successful and happy. Why not have people in your life who are supportive and want to help you get there.

When you do this exercise, you are basically focusing on your soft skills. You know, how self-aware are you to “see” who those people are that you need to let go of. Are you willing to take that risk?

One thing I did was join a Mastermind group that meets every other month. Hanging out with these successful business owners has improved my business tremendously. In addition I also travel to two – three conferences a year where I get to hang out with entrepreneurs, like Kristi Frank, who are making thousands and millions of dollars. As I said earlier, you are who you hang out with, so why wouldn’t you want to hang out with people who are hugely successful. Don’t wait, upgrade your colleagues and friends now. Join a networking group, a mastermind group, go to a conference that attracts people you want to hang out with that can help you be successful- you deserve it!

What do you do when you have a roadblock in your life or in your business?

This past week I was driving to Boston for my Mastermind meeting. I was running a little behind schedule. I really don’t like taking the George Washington Bridge and going through New York because of traffic. However, my traffic radio station said it was the quickest route.

GW BridgeAs I was just passing the toll booth going onto the upper level of the bridge, I saw this rather large pothole and swerved to avoid it. Unfortunately my tired nipped it and then – “boom.” My tire blew out, just as I was getting on the bridge-yikes. I tried not to panic. In fact I was on my wireless headset speaking with a colleague when it happened. I quickly got off the phone, took control of the car, took lots of deep breathes, and severely slowed down and contemplated my options. What would you have done if you were in this situation?

holosyncBefore I started doing some personal work on myself like usingeckhart-tolle.gif Holosync (Centerpointe Institute) to meditate and reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, I’m sure I would have panicked and been pretty freaked out about the whole experience. (Did I mention how I really loathe the GW Bridge and driving through New York?)

Thank goodness I knew I had to keep driving and that I couldn’t stop on the bridge. If I did, I’m sure I would not be here writing to tell my tale. What was more important, my BMW 330xi or my life? Well, certainly I chose my life.

flat tireI finally saw this emergency place and quickly pulled my car over. I cautiously got out to inspect the tire- yikes, as the trucks and cars whizzed by. I called AAA and they were stupendous. They had someone out to get me within 20 minutes. I was a bit anxious because where I was pulled over was not the safest place. The AAA rep told me that I was safer in my car than outside of it and she was right. Instead of thinking about all the atrocities that might come, I practiced my new skills of being in the moment, not worrying or panicking about the next one. I called my loved ones and dear colleagues to explain my mishap and tell them I was ok. The nicest thing was the AAA rep called me back and stayed on the phone with me until the truck got there. I

Tow truckWhen the tow truck came he said he couldn’t change my tire here. He said the last person who changed a tire here lost his legs. I was so incredibly thankful that he told me this story after me and my care were safely in his big tow truck. He was kind and very helpful. He dropped me at a tire center close to the highway. As I was shaking his hand and saying thank you I asked his name. He said his name was “Angel.” I said that was wonderfully ironic because he certainly was my angel that day.

Then at the tire center, the person who fixed my tire was named Gabriel. I knew for certain right then, that this whole experience had happened for a reason. That’s when Gabriel told me not only was my tired flat, but my rim was cracked. And the bad news was that I wasn’t going to make it to my Mastermind meeting in Boston which I was really sad about. Yet, I knew there was a reason for this mishap. My sign was that I needed to slow down and use this extra time to take care of myself and use it wisely, so I turned around and went home.

Has anything like this every happened to you in your business? Have you ever hit a roadblock that prevents you from where you want to go or simply takes you off course? How did you recover, or did you? Did you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and do something differently? This is what I would want for you. Don’t ever give up. Surround yourself with a success team and/or a support system and rely on them to help you get through the difficult times. We all can persevere, we just need to keep moving, find a different path, look at things differently and don’t ever give up.

Now for something a little different…

Have you ever gotten a new technology “toy” to play with and find yourself using it a lot because it’s so easy and fun? And yes I did use the words toy, easy and fun all in reference to technology. This certainly could be an anomaly because most technology certainly isn’t easy, or fun, especially when it comes to computers.

Yet, there is a very cool shining star in stores right now that’s my favorite new, fun and easy technology toy. It’s called a Flip. Some of you may have already heard about it. In fact my favorite tech editor David Pogue from the New York Times just did an article and video about it. You can check out his article to discover more or just read on…

A flip is this sleek new and simple to use video camera. So with my new flip in hand, I’ve been videoing everything. (It takes 2 double AA batteries, holds 30 minutes of video and about $114 on Amazon.) Mainly I’ve been videoing our new 8 month old puppy Lily. (She’s a Golden Shepherd that we rescued.) OfThe Flip course everyone thinks their dogs are cute and funny, and of course she is! The best part of the Flip is its SO EASY to upload the file from my camera to my computer. It has a simple USB port and downloads in a snap.

In fact I was so excited and motivated (I also found I had Moviemaker on my computer.) that I created a Youtube account for the Lily and uploaded my latest creation. Warning, if you’re not an animal lover, don’t check out this video. Now here’s the best part- you can actually use this for your business! Yes, you can get one of these little cameras and start using it to tape your video testimonials or interview people for your website. Second warning- I’m no Spielberg, so don’t expect an award winning creation. Yet, I do promise you’ll smile.

The kicker, is you can go on Youtube right now and register a channel for yourself and start uploading videos . There’s so many things you can do with this to drive traffic to your website. I know many information marketers who have their own channel and have tons of videos up there that give lots of value for their clients for free. So go check out Youtube, have some fun with it and think of the new possibilities. In fact, after posting my video of Lily, it inspired me to get my own channel for my business. My next step is to upload some value added marketing videos, so be on the look out. In the mean time, go get this new technology toy, have some fun and maybe you’ll even think up some great new ideas to help you in your business! P.S. More Lily videos to come 🙂

Don’t be afraid of your “super powers…”

I’m dumbfounded by the number people I meet and work with who take so much of their talent for granted. They take their own knowledge for granted and assume everyone else has the same knowledge that they have. Time and time again, I run across this and I’m not excluded in this category either. I think I’ve gotten much better over the years in really recognizing my knowledge (or as my Executive Coach calls “my super powers.”) in certain areas, how it’s useful, how I can help others, and even how I can package and sell some of it.

We did a great exercise at our Mastermind meeting where we had to list our “super powers.” This was really fun and kind of cool. By “super powers” I mean things that you’re really good at above all else. You ought to get your pen out right now and try this, I dare you. Some examples could be- you’re a stellar writer, you’re a fantastic editor, you’re a great listener, you can add big numbers in your head, etc.

Batman

Photo Caption: Shannon & Batman at the 2007 Marketing Superconference

My list started out with only 1 thing, then the more I thought, the more I wrote. Not that you need more than one, but I bet you everyone has at least 3 or 4. I’ll let you in on one of mine, it’s x-ray vision into people’s businesses. Which means, being able to assess someones business or situation, and give them some concrete solutions to help them right away. I have an uncanny ability to zone in on the problem areas in people’s marketing of their business and will give quick easy steps to fix them.

So think of something that you do really well, something you’re really good at and that you love to do, and write it down. Knowing what your “super powers” are will greatly enhance your skills and how you do business. Having this laser focus will get you one step closer to bringing your business to that next level.

Before I end, I just wanted to say that after last weeks blog I received quite a few emails from folks. Shielding myself from negative news and negative people really hit a cord with many of you. In fact, I even found a cool website you can check out that only talks about “and now for the good news.” Click on the link and see for yourself. I think it’s wonderful idea and needs to be passed on. So feel free to share this link with as many people as you think would enjoy it!

The Little Engine That Could…

Little Engine that couldDo you remember this childhood story? I remember it well. Maybe because I’ve read it to my nieces, nephews and my own son many, many times. This story about the little engine, huffing and puffing his way up the mountain was always a favorite of theirs. I think it struck a cord because it was a classic tale of the little guy saying yes and going beyond his comfort level to persevere. This story was originally written by Watty Piper (a pseudonym used by publishing house Platt & Munk) and published in 1954.

A quote from the book that is most famous today (which you may remember well) is one that I think all of us ought to look into adapting as our own- “I think I can, I think I can…” The thing I found most interesting was that this book was written to teach children the value of optimism. This is something we all need a great dose of now and often! I used to be so pessimistic and negative about my life, my work, etc. It’s been only recently in the past 4 years that I’ve really worked on this aspect of myself and think I’ve come a long way.

Hence, I’m writing today to inspire that little engine inside all of us, to wake up, and to get back on that track and know that you can do it. You can do anything you set your mind to. I mean look at Oprah and her online book club course with Eckhart Tolle. It only took her and her engine of experts 1 week to fix the internet problem of having a half a million people watch 90 minutes of streaming video all around the world, and take Skype video/phone calls and email questions. I was on the class last night and was so thrilled to be able to see the whole thing. It was an amazing experience for me.

You might be thinking, well yeah, that’s Oprah, she can do anything. But that’s a whole other discussion I’ll save for my newsletter. The point is- we all have the inner makings of being our own Oprah (so to speak:-)), of persevering, knowing that we can overcome that next obstacle. The thing is, we just have to take some action, even if it’s only one small step, to get up that mountain. So what’s one small step you can take in your business to propel yourself forward? What do you need to help get you there? Because I know you can and I know you will. I’d love to hear about it.

Lessons from Oprah

eckhart-tolle.gifLast night was a pretty big internet event- Oprah held her first ever online, live streaming video class. It was the first class of ten where she interviews and talks to Eckhart Tolle, author of A New World, Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose.

It was a fascinating event. I signed on early and got my “seat,” wondering how they would pull this internet feet off without a hitch. I mean trying to stream video to over half a million people around the world is pretty gutsy and courageous, yet this IS Oprah.

The first 20 minutes were amazing. Hearing him talk about why he wrote the book, how important is was for him to make space to write and honor the time to do it daily. He said, “I find spaces of stillness to find my answers.” Wow, this was pretty fascinating and something I’ve been trying to do for years with my meditation. In fact, I meditate every day for an hour with a program called Holosync by Centerpointe It truly has helped me in all aspects of my work and my life. So picking up Eckhart’s book and listening into this class was really moving me to shift and change.

The only downside was after 20 minutes the internet connection basically collapsed and I lost the feed. Of course I tried everything to get it back, to no avail. I was hugely disappointed that I couldn’t participate and see the rest. Yet, it got me thinking that there was a reason I only saw part of it. This must be my lesson from Oprah. I only needed small chunks of information last night.

The other lesson from Oprah was she really knows how to think big. She’s not afraid to try something, like do video stream for half a million people, knowing there would certainly be problems. Which later I found out today, there were many. I was not alone when I was knocked off. The big question was who got to see the whole thing live? No worries though, Oprah’s put the video on her website and you can download it to watch on your ipod or your computer at your leisure.

So let’s take these lessons from Oprah, let’s think big in our businesses in our lives. What step can we take right now to do something different, to get out of our comfort zone. Let’s not just sit there anymore and be happy with complacency. Let’s all do one thing to shift, to grow and to make a difference in our businesses and our lives- do it today!

Too many overwhelming Marketing Ideas and Too Little Time…

Welcome to my first MarketingImplementer.com blog post! You might be one of those entrepreneurs, information marketers or business owners who has way too many marketing ideas and just never enough time in the day to implement or take action on them. Or maybe you have the opposite problem. You’re able to implement your ideas but they’re not working to bring you the new clients that you’re seeking.

These are both stressful and frustrating places to be in, especially when all you really want is for your business to be successful, to make some real money so you can have the financial freedom you deserve.

I’m with you on all fronts. I started my direct response marketing consulting and coaching company a year and a half ago. When I first got it off the ground all I can say is whoa…. was I in for a roller coaster ride. The key for me was being a voracious learner and reading, talking and meeting everyone I could to get my business moving. I also got a wonderful boost from my Executive Coach, Rob Berkley . He introduced me to Dan Kennedy style marketing and after I signed up for Dan’s newsletter I was off to the races. In a year I increased my client base by 90% and couldn’t take on anymore clients. All because I used the principals of direct response marketing to grow my business.

My business is focused on working with entrepreneurs, information marketers, and business owners. A big hole I find is you have all the ideas, and in fact an overwhelming mountain of them. You also know what to do. You just don’t know how to get started or you don’t have the time to actually “do it.” That’s where I come in. We can do an assessment of all your marketing ideas that you want to implement. We can work together and figure out which ones will make the most immediate impact to your bottom line. Then we can simply get started right away and I can implement these ideas for you.

But enough about my business- you can find out more by going to my website

I wanted to dedicate my first blog to helping you take that first step of taking your idea and implementing it. Keys to remember are- You need to pick one (or several!) Maybe it’s the idea that is the easiest and less stressful for you to do right now, or maybe it’s the one that will bring you the most money right now. Whatever it is, pick one, and start doing some research, write down the steps you need to take and make some time for you to do these steps each day until it’s done. It’s all a process, once you get the process down, then you can do it. Don’t let the time vampires or those negative thoughts get in your way- just get off your tail, plan your steps and take one- RIGHT NOW!

Let me know how you did, I want to know. I want to help you as best I can. I know just writing about this is helping me take more action on my own ideas. Like this blog for example, it has been on my list FOREVER. All I can say is YEAH, I finally did it and it feels good. So get some courage, shut out the world, hole yourself up in your office and take some action NOW!

Here’s to Your Incredible Success!
Shannon