Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Relationship Marketing 101 - TIP #1

How do you build better business or personal relationships? It's not rocket science, but in the flurry of life, facing deadlines and fighting fires, we forget the basic wisdom Mom taught us all those years ago.

Whether you want to establish a long-term relationship or sell knives door-to-door, you need to make a friend and build trust first.

How do you do that?

TIP # 1:
Listen and ask intelligent questions based on what they have told you. It's not hard, but most people as so busy thinking up the next thing they are going to say, they don't listen to what is being said directly and between the lines.

(c) Susan James, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Want to Feel better? Try Gratitude!

In these times of economic stress, fast-paced lifestyles, trying to accomplish more with less available time, we barely stop to eat with our families, let alone have time to ourselves to just think, to just 'be'.

The pressure is on to be, do and have more than ever. Just to get started about our modern lifestyle: we eat highly processed foods and sugars, drink gallons of caffeine (Statscan reported the average Canadian drinks 516 cups of coffee and 312 cups of tea yearly), are sleep-deprived, don't exercise enough or at all, spend too much time in front of the tv or computer, and not enough time outdoors. No wonder we are all exhausted and don't feel like getting out of bed in the morning.

There are so many things we can do to improve our lifestyles, if only we had the time or made it a priority. The key is to commit to making, small, easy changes over time.

One small thing we can do is to start our day, spending 60 seconds or more, thinking about what we have to be grateful for in our lives.

No matter what our challenges, there is always someone out there whose lot is worse than ours. Additionally, no matter what our situation, there is always something to be thankful for, even if it's for something simple like the sun shining outside. Recognizing these facts, on a regular basis, will increase our joy, and start our day with a positive outlook. When we start with that mindset, we are better able to cope with stress, accomplish more, and be happier then when we don't.

When I take time to meditate, or even just 3 minutes at the beginning of my day, no matter what ugly challenges I have to face, it always turns out better on the days I've stopped to count my blessings and just 'be' for a short while.

(c) Susan James, All Rights Reserved

Monday, February 16, 2009

Research vs. Action

Today I noticed someone having a conversation about research on Twitter. I only read one comment, and don't know what the chat was all about. The comment itself triggered my thinking about research versus action and when is enough research enough?

Today, with our lifestyle at a nose-bleed pace, it's easy to jump onto a blog, forum or begin a venture without researching. You don't have to look far to find someone spouting their opinion, or quoting another person without having looked far enough to see if that "expert" truly does know what they are talking about. People jump without looking all the time these days.

So there is a need for research.

At what point, however, does research become a hindrance? When does it slow down progress or become an excuse for not moving forward? I know I often feel I need to know more before stepping forward, but now I look at some of the best decisions I've made. They were when I made a leap of faith and "just did it". (See my post from Feb. 13, "Leaping Intuitively"). I stepped forward without a plan, and decided I was going forward. Sometimes it was nerve-wracking, and I wondered if my confidence was unfounded. Certainly in every case, I learned a lot more about myself, and about the laws of the universe. You have to be Rip van Winkle or hiding in a cave for the past 5 years to not have heard about the Laws of Abundance, and The Secret. Used properly, those laws WORK.

I guess what I'm saying is, while there needs to be a balance of research and action, is that the underlying issue? Once you've made a decision to act, you still have time to research. What stops us is not the need for research, but fear itself. We SAY we need to research, but when you look between the lines, it's fear and not research that gets in the way.

Sometimes, fear is masked by reasonable "objections", like "I'm going slowly to do this properly" or "I don't know enough yet to launch my project". And we buy into those objections, our own lies, because it's much harder to acknowledge to ourselves and to others that deep down, we are afraid: of failure, of success, that we are not worthy.

So, when that wee quiet voice in the back of your head says, "I can't do it" or any other negative comment, stop dead in your tracks and counter it. Say, "Yes, I can!" and change that destructive line of thinking. Your day, and your life will improve immeasurably!

(c) Susan James, All Rights Reserved


During our recent stay at a hotel:
"Mommy, every time people come in the door, they need money!"

(c) Susan James, All Rights Reserved

Friday, February 13, 2009

Leaping Intuitively

Sometimes we are faced with unavoidable decisions, decisions where we have to choose whether to open Door A or Door B. Weighing the pros and cons, it can be an exhausting process without any clear route to take. Other times, we make the leap, knowing intuitively it is the journey we must take. We don't know HOW to get there, but get there we must. We dig in our heels, and start to figure out how to make our way.

When I think back to those times: taking on choreographing my first fashion show, producing my first live tv show, moving to Toronto with no job and no place to stay.... those were the best decisions of my life. I had no idea what the next step was. I simply put my faith in my abilities and that life is abundant with enough to go around for everyone. You just have to ask clearly and concisely. And at each step of the way, what I needed presented itself when the time came. And each venture was a success!

I hope this is the case for young Alfie Patten, a young new father at age 13 (link to the news story at the bottom). Luckily, he and his 15 year old girlfriend did not have a premature baby (higher risk for moms under 18); they will have enough to cope with right now. Young Alfie has no idea what he is getting into; he is scared. But he made his choice, knowing deep down he wants to be a good father. And he is walking his talk. What more could you ask from this young man? He has a lot of choices to make, and perhaps each decision along the way won't be so clear cut. Time will tell. He has a tough road to hoe and I wish him all the best.


(c) Susan James, All Rights Reserved