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The Number One Solution to All Communication Problems

The Number One Solution to All Communication Problems

At the root of all communication problems, there is essentially one thing that goes wrong that snowballs into every scenario you may have encountered. Whether you’re trying to communicate with a toddler or a CEO, someone of a different culture or someone of a different political viewpoint, effective communication hinges upon one thing.

And that is for parties to listen to and understand one another.

Throughout your life you may have heard people in authority say to you, “You don’t have to like me, but you have to respect me.” While I can see why a parent, teacher or boss might want to say this, it doesn’t quite hit the mark. As adults, there will be people we must interact with or who have authority over us that we don’t like. For any number of reasons they may irritate us or rub us the wrong way. Beyond merely showing respect to this person, we must foremost be sure we have taken every effort to listen to and understand them when they communicate with us.

It’s true. We won’t like everyone we meet in life, nor do we have to. But if you want to be an effective communicator who gets more of what you want, you must, must, must learn to listen – attentively, openly and willingly.

Not quite sold on this idea yet? Think back to the last communication problem you’ve dealt with. This may have been at home, or the office or with a friend. In hindsight, how did a lack of listening to one another play into the problem? I’m willing to guess a great deal. A lack of listening leads to a whole host of problems including misaligned expectations, unnecessary conflict, hurt feelings and frustration.

Not listening to one another the first time around usually leads to a lot more time spent trying to work through the miscommunication and repair the relationship. Simply put, investing in fully listening to one another in the very beginning of the conversation, and asking for clarity as often as needed, will save you from a lot of wasted time, headaches and strained relationships in the future.

I imagine I have your attention now. Great! But what does it really look like to be an effective listener? And how can you identify and address someone who may not be listening to you? Those are great questions that I intend to answer in the four points to follow.

  1. Treat listening like your job.

Listening is a critical skill for achieving success in every part of your life. Why then do we phone it in sometimes? I urge you to take listening seriously; treat it like you job. Challenge yourself to be able to repeat back, accurately, what the other person is saying to you. Take notes if you must. Recap what’s being said and put it into words. Which brings me to…

  1. Repeat back what you’re hearing.

In mediation, we learn to use the “I feel…” statements. This carries over into all forms of effective communication. When you’re having a critical discussion, instead of “I feel…” you should say “What I’m hearing you say is…” Then repeat back in your own words what you feel the other person is expressing. When they hear it repeated back they have the opportunity to confirm that is indeed accurate, or re-communicate a message that may have been lost in translation. Think of it like “proof-reading” each other’s thoughts before you hit “publish” and make decisions based upon this understanding.

  1. Ask to hear what they think you’re saying in their own words.

In return, you should ask the other people (or people) to express back to you, in their own words, what they feel you are saying to them. Again, you will have the opportunity to re-communicate or clarify something that might be getting misconstrued. Though the reaffirming what you’re hearing someone else say is an added step to the process, it is one that will save you an extreme about of time and frustration over your lifespan.

  1. Diffuse and table a conversation if you feel there are distractions.

While you may feel you are being an attentive and open listener in the conversation, you might pick up on some cues that this is not being returned by the other person. If you notice they seem distracted either by the environment, their thoughts or their emotions, it’s worth putting a pause on the conversation and coming back to it in a day or so when everyone can be fully present. Be sure to schedule a time and don’t let too many hours or days pass before re-addressing the conversation and putting it to bed. Most importantly, end the conversation on respectful terms and with the understanding that your intent is to re-enter the conversation when everyone has collected their thoughts (and their cool).

Do you agree that all effective communication is built on the foundation of listening and understanding one another? What other key components do you feel contribute to effective communication?

Start a conversation by leaving a comment below!

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Posted by on July 16, 2018 in Business & Success, Life

 

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7 Public Relations Tactics You Need to Implement in 2018

7 Public Relations Tactics You Need to Implement in 2018If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of all the new strategies you think you need to implement into your business plan in 2018, I urge you to step back, take a breath and find a clear focus on what’s going to really make a difference in your business.

You don’t have to do it all! In fact, you simply can’t. If you have a limited amount of time and resources to devote to your public relations strategy this year, you need to prioritize these seven tactics that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Here’s what they are!

  1. Get serious about collecting customer contact information

All too often I meet with clients who are excited to finally implement an email marketing strategy to reach their customers. The glaring problem? They have failed to consistently collect this contact information over the years! Right now is absolutely the best time to develop your process for compiling customers’ names and emails. Even if you’re not quite ready to roll out regular emails to them, you will never regret having their contact information for future use!

  1. Position yourself as a thought-leader

Is one of your business goals for 2018 to rise above your competition as the go-to resource for information related to your industry? You know, do you want to be considered a “master of your craft?” If so, you need to have a strategy for positioning yourself as a thought-leader. You can achieve this through many different means, and in fact, it’s important that you approach it from all angles so that you’re reaching people in multiple ways.

Look to social media platforms like Linkedin where you can tailor your profile content and the articles you publish to achieving this goal. Speak like an expert! Regularly post content to your website and social media profiles that shares timely, insightful information on changes and trends taking place in your industry. Join group discussions where you can ask and answer questions. The more you put yourself out there and engage with other people, the more you will build a name for your personal and professional brand.

  1. Refresh your website content

Think of it like spring cleaning for your brand! If you haven’t reviewed and refreshed your website content in the last 12 months, it’s time to dust it off! Think of how you have grown since the time you wrote this content. You’ve likely gained new clients, added new services or hired new employees. Maybe you’ve restructured your business model entirely! All of these reasons, and many more, are why you need to refresh your website content in 2018. It doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul either. A few tweaks here and some updates there will quickly bring your content up to speed, increase your SEO and more accurately reflect the current state of your business.

  1. Have a strategy for self-promotion

To successfully use public relations strategies to benefit your business, you need to get comfortable with self-promotion. If you’re not promoting your accomplishments, successes and awards, I promise you that not one else will either. This year, commit to tastefully and tactfully enhancing your brand by calling attention to notable achievements. There are a variety of PR tactics to accomplish this, and it will mostly depend upon what you’re promoting and your target audience. You can send out press releases, host a press conference, make it part of your email newsletter, showcase it on your website, post it to social media and much more. What’s most important it that you keep an eye out for opportunities to promote yourself – and take them!

  1. Be prepared to handle a crisis

On any given day, you will see a new scandal or crisis come across the news cycle. Whether this has to do with the business as a whole, or one of the employees, not having a plan to respond to such a crisis can have devastating effects. This year, get serious about mapping out your crisis communication strategy, both internally and externally. It doesn’t have to be an extensive document, but it needs to answer key questions such as who will serve as the spokesperson, will you issue a press release, how will you communicate what’s going on internally, how will you communicate with the public that the problem is being appropriately handled. Anticipate the most common crises your particular business is at risk of experiencing and outline some key talking points in advance. You’ll be extremely grateful to have thought this through prior to a crisis occurring.

  1. Focus on the social media that matters

You can’t do it all and do it well. As the world of social media continues to expand at a rapid rate, you will need to get strategic about where you choose to devote your time. This year, narrow your focus to only the social media platforms that reach your target audience. Be realistic about the time you can devote to maintaining your social media presence. Do your research to understand the demographics each type of social media hits as well as the best practices for effectively engaging your audience. If it doesn’t align with your goals, don’t waste your time here!

  1. Get professional help

While the struggles and stresses of business ownership might make you feel like you need to see a therapist some days, this isn’t the kind of professional help I’m referring to here. Rather, this year I urge you to really assess the value of your time and how it is best spent. Hiring a professional PR consultant to help with strategy and implementation could be a very wise investment. Their years of experience and relationships in the PR field will yield far greater results than what you could achieve on your own. Moreover, your time is better spent focusing on business development and operations, so that when implemented, the PR tactics drive customers to a thriving business that is equipped to handle their requests.

Which of these seven public relations tactics do you plan to implement in your own business in 2018? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below!

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2018 in Business & Success

 

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5 New Year’s Resolutions for Better Time Management

5 New Year_s Resolutions for Better Time Management

Some of my very first blog posts have focused on the topic of time management. I’m passionate about discovering new ways to efficiently use my time so that I can have the greatest impact on my clients while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. The reality is, it will always be a work in progress and sometimes I slide back into old habits that leave me feeling overwhelmed.

For 2018, I want to refresh my time management tools to make this year my most fulfilling one yet, both on the professional and personal sides of life. If you find that you’re already struggling to keep you head above water in these first few weeks of January, I urge you to join me in making five small, but impactful New Year’s resolutions. The common goal of these resolutions is to help you balance your life so you’re doing more of what you love, and being mentally present in the moment to fully enjoy it.

Take this resolution with me! In 2018, I will…

  1. Start my morning with a clear “inbox”

Several years ago (once my kids were finally on good sleep schedules), I began to wake up one hour earlier than the rest of my family. I used this time to wake up, drink a cup of coffee and clear out my inbox. By the time everyone else was waking up, I had handled many small tasks and outlined the tasks I needed to accomplish that day. I could then close my computer and enjoy those morning hours with my family.

By the time my husband and sons were off to their respective locations for the day, I could again open up shop and jump right into my core tasks. I found this single hour in the morning gave me so much more patience and peace of mind to be present with my family. While there may be some mornings I choose to hit snooze, I resolve this year to use this “power hour” at least 3 times per week, or as needed.

  1. Keep an organized to-do list for each day

I have always kept a rolling to-do list of every task on my plate at a given time. However, this year I resolve to take things up a notch and organize this a bit further. I find that by placing my to-do’s on a list on my computer, I no longer carry around the mental weight of trying to remember it all. I also love the satisfaction of deleting something from my to-do list.

This year, I plan to keep a daily to-do list where I can spread out and prioritize my work tasks over the course of the week. In doing so, I know that I merely need to accomplish what is on today’s to-do list to stay on track. One long list can be paralyzing to tackle. Rather, a list that breaks it down by day and order of importance is far more manageable.

  1. Manage other people’s expectations of my time

This is an important one! Typically I try and complete work tasks as quickly as I can for my clients, often giving them same-day service. While this has helped to build up a great book of business, adhering to this standard every single day is neither reasonable nor necessary. Rather, this year I resolve to manage people’s expectations of my time, both professionally and personally. I plan to assign a realistic deadline so everyone is on the same page and so that it works into my workflow without causing undue stress. I anticipate I will often deliver tasks in advance of the deadline, which is all the better for building a good reputation with clients! But having a deadline as my buffer will help me retrain myself that many tasks can wait while I prioritize other things in my day like relaxation and family.

  1. Block schedule my time

Another secret to getting the most out of the hours in my day is to use a block scheduling strategy. On days when I have one out-of-the-home meeting scheduled, I try to schedule a few others as well. There are a few reasons for doing this. First, I know I will already be out and about and professionally dressed (not always the case when working from home!). Second, having just one meeting during the day really breaks my concertation and work flow. If it’s going to get broken anyways, I may as well make it worth it by blocking most of that day out for other meetings.

On the flip side, days when I have no meetings or phone calls scheduled, I am very protective of this time and strategically plan nothing else on such a day. I know I can get into a deep concertation and plow through a lot of work tasks that would typically take me far more time if disrupted by anything else. I love these days just as much as I love my client meeting days. It’s all about balance – and something that I resolve to gain more of in the New Year.

  1. Decline or outsource tasks I don’t have the time or desire to take on

When you spend any part of your career as an entrepreneur, you quickly learn to say yes to any work that comes your way. However, once you’ve built a solid business, you need to remove yourself from the trap of trading your time for tasks that don’t pay your market rate or that you simply down enjoy. While I have gotten better each year, I want to make a conscious effort in 2018 to decline or outsource tasks I don’t have the time or desire to take on. This applies to work tasks as much as it applies to household tasks.

Consider what you time is worth. If you can work an extra hour or two and afford someone else to do something you don’t enjoy, like clean your home, it’s more than break even! Before you start turning down or having someone else take on work for you, get a good grip on your budget and understand your “hourly rate.” Then, gradually transition into letting other people help you get things done. After all, it’s an opportunity to someone else to make a living too!

Have you made a resolution for the New Year? Does it focus on time management or something else? Share what you hope to accomplish in 2018 by leaving a comment below!

 

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Declutter Your Life by Asking These 5 Questions

Declutter Your Life by Asking These 5 Questions

I have shared the numerous differences between my husband and me. Though we are both passionate entrepreneurs and collaborate on many different levels, one area of our lives where we often run into conflict is over clutter.

I am the antithesis of clutter. It makes me anxious and unsettled when I am in a disorganized environment. Because I work from home, it’s imperative that we keep our house tidy so I can function at my peak level of efficiency. Even with small children in the house, organization is a daily routine that works for us. However, as my husband recently came into quite a few boxes of “storage” from his childhood home, we both struggled to find common ground as to what should be kept and what should be let go.

Though it required a couple tough conversations and some stress, particularly on my husband’s emotions, we ultimately came to an agreement. What we both learned from the experience is that there are a clear set of questions you have to ask yourself when addressing clutter. Also, everyone involved has to stick to the same standards.

Whether you’re the clutter bug in your family or the exterminator, consider these five questions the next time you’re faced with the dilemma of save or scrap.

Is it serving an immediate purpose?
We live in a culture that urges us to buy in bulk and store things away for a future time when we just might need it. Having excess is a security blanket that can also smother us if we are not careful. If something has no immediate purpose to us (i.e. will be likely used in the next 12 months – which is generous), why should it take up space in our home and in our lives?

If we can’t reasonably say we will use something within the next year, there’s simply no need to have it. There will be plenty of opportunities to find another one, should we need it. But I’m willing to bet that in 12 months you will have forgotten about this object altogether.

How does its current use bring you satisfaction?

This next question is important because it will likely address your concern about the first question. “What if it’s a collectible or irreplaceable?” First, rarely is something in life both irreplaceable and truly needed. Next, even the most valuable collectibles are merely dust collectors if they’re stowed away in storage, never to be seen or enjoyed.

Challenge yourself by asking “How is this object, as currently used, bringing me satisfaction?” Clutter in an attic does not constitute satisfaction. If it’s in storage because you don’t have a place for it in your home, you may want to carefully consider this next question…

Could someone else benefit more from having it?

If you struggle to get rid of something because you believe it has value, remember that selling or donating the item is a great way to pass its value on to someone else. Really, it’s pretty greedy to keep a collection of books packed away in storage because you enjoyed reading them once. Why not share the joy by passing them on to a friend?

Letting go of clutter gets a whole lot easier – and enjoyable – when you feel like you’re doing a good deed. Whether it’s clothes, a piece of furniture or a baseball card collection, think about how someone else might enjoy the use of this item far more than the “joy” it’s bringing you sitting in your basement.

Is the cost to replace it cheaper than the “cost” to keep it?

If there’s one area where even I struggle with clutter, it’s over the effort to save money. We tend to hold onto something because we believe we might one day need it. My husband and I both came to the agreement that if the cost to replace an item is cheaper than the “cost” (meaning the stress, clutter and risk of it getting damaged or going bad) to replace it in the future, then it’s got to go! I can’t tell you how many times this question has helped me to let go of something I never needed again – mostly because I can’t even remember what these items were!

Are you holding onto it for someone or something else?

Finally, this question hones in on the deep, emotional aspect of clutter. We tend to hold onto something not just for ourselves, but for someone or something else. In my husband’s case, many of his items from his childhood were emotionally connected to his father, who passed away. I don’t discount how hard it would be to let go of items that brought back good memories or someone who is no longer with you.

However, after an open and honest conversation about some of these items, my husband found closure with passing them on to family and friends who would appreciate and use them. Items that represent the past can hold you back from fully enjoying your present. Ask yourself why you really want to hang on to an object. If it’s in an effort to directly or indirectly keep a person “alive” in your life, remember that objects don’t accomplish that – but memories do. Getting rid of clutter doesn’t mean giving up the memories. In fact, with less physical clutter, you’re freeing up space for memories, both old and new, to fill its place.

Do you struggle with decluttering your life? What are your biggest hang ups? Share your obstacles and how you plan to overcome them in 2016 by commenting below!

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2016 in Business & Success, Life

 

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Want to Start a Blog in 2015? Read This First!

starting a new blog

The start of the New Year is the perfect time to dive into that bucket list and try new things. Among them might be starting your own blog. Whether this has been a postponed goal or something you just thought of this year, I encourage you to give it a shot! For me personally, it has had some incredible benefits and I’m proud of my commitment to keeping up with it every Monday.

Is it scary putting your personal thoughts out there? Absolutely. Is there the fear of criticism or apathy? Of course. But these hang-ups pale in comparison to the satisfaction and pride I get from publishing something that’s been seen by nearly 70,000 people to date. And you can too! Here are 6 expert tips for creating a successful blog in 2015…and beyond!

  1. Allow time to define the direction of your blog. When I first started my blog, I remember feeling the need to immediately define the topics/theme/niche it would center on. Ultimately, I realized I couldn’t make this decision just yet. Instead of letting it be an excuse to not move forward, I simply started writing about what was relevant and on my mind. It didn’t take long before I found a natural rhythm with the different topics I enjoyed writing about most often. Had I forced myself into a pigeon hole on day 1, I would have denied myself the freedom to write about topics beyond simply business and public relations.
  1. Do it well or don’t do it at all.

Yes, getting started is one major obstacle to overcome, but keeping your blog consistently fueled with quality content is arguably even more important. Before you start your blog, think about whether you can reasonably commit to it and at what frequency. You certainly don’t need to blog daily or even weekly, but I would suggest supplying fresh content at least on a monthly basis. Why? Because there are far too many abandoned blogs out there and we don’t need any more. What we do need is committed bloggers to join us with making the blogosphere a better (and more interesting place).  One of my favorite sayings is “Anything that’s worth doing is worth doing well.” Don’t bother investing any amount of time into something you can’t stick with.

  1. Don’t stop at hitting “publish.”

Okay, so you’ve vowed to publish a new post to your blog at least monthly. This takes time, energy and creativity – valuable resources that could certainly be applied elsewhere. Don’t sell yourself short by merely hitting the “publish” button and hoping that someone stumbles upon your content. Share your blog on social media like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin (here’s a great guide). Reference it in relevant discussions and link back to past blogs in new posts. If you want to grow your readership, you have to actively pursue them and make your content easily accessible on a multitude of different platforms. If you don’t take advantage of these opportunities you will likely be frustrated with how long it takes to gain momentum which could discourage you from keeping up with your blog.

  1. Be an active member of the community.

Starting a blog comes with the responsibility of being an active member of the blogging community. No matter the blogging platform you use, it’s important to visit other users’ blogs, leave meaningful comments and respond to comments that people make on your posts. It’s what makes the blogosphere go ‘round! From the beginning of my own blog, I made the commitment to comment on 5 other blogs every weekday morning. It quickly became a part of my morning routine that continues to drive a good amount of traffic back to my blog, not to mention the friends and followers I have made as a result of this simple gesture.

  1. Regularly evaluate your blog’s mission.

Just as over time you may decide that your blog’s theme or niche has taken a different path than what you originally thought, you must also anticipate your blog’s mission changing with time. This is why it’s critical to regularly evaluate your blog’s mission and how it aligns with its topics, readership and your business or personal mission. Be flexible and willing to change should it make sense to alter your mission to make it more relevant to your audience and goals.

  1. Be genuine.

Finally and most importantly, make sure your blog remains true to who you are and what you’re passionate writing about. One sure way to make your blog feel like work is to stray from what represents you. Yes, you want to write to capture an audience, but your ideal audience will appreciate posts that are genuine and personal. Make sure your blog pleases you first…and everyone else second.

Do you have other questions about starting your blog or have your own secrets for success? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2015 in Business & Success, Life

 

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Oh What a Year! Top 10 Blog Posts from 2014

2014-year

At the end of December, it’s become a new tradition on the BPR blog to pause, reflect upon and highlight some of the best moments from the year gone by. As we say “Goodmorning!” on this last Monday of 2014, it’s only appropriate to again feature a top ten list of the best blog posts we published in 2014.

What exactly determined what blog posts made the cut? A combination of things really, that – let’s be honest – just boiled down to my personal preference. But there is some method to this madness. I wanted to include the blog posts that you, the readers, deemed most popular based upon web hits. I also included some blog posts that captured an important memory or milestone from the year. In many instances, these overlapped, making the selection quite obvious!

If you’re a frequent reader, join me on this trip down memory lane. And if you’re stopping by for the first time, perfect! You get to experience a whole year’s worth of our best moments in one blog.

  1. The Easiest Way to Find Your Passion

In our busy lives, we often lose sight of our passion and forget to devote time to cultivating this into each and every day. This post looks at the single question you need to ask yourself to truly understand your passion – and it’s not “What do you want to be when you grow up.” As we look toward the New Year, we could all benefit from revisiting this particular post…and looking critically at whether our lives align with our passion.

  1. 4 Ways to Make More Money Without Raising Your Rates

I had a lot of fun writing this one and it’s a wonder the topic didn’t come to me sooner! As an entrepreneur, I have to stay flexible and resourceful when it comes to earning a living. These four tips show you that simply slapping a higher price tag on your products or services isn’t always the best answer. Think outside the box with these expert tips!

  1. The 11 Most Annoying Email Personalities

For this blog post, I of course came up with quite a few of these most annoying email personalities based upon my own personal experiences. But I also turned to friends and family who had some great input on ones I missed by sharing their own horrifically frustrating stories. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone, but unsettling to know how common these personalities are! Take a look and tell me how many you’ve personally encountered.

  1. Why We Need Rainy Days

This blog post was written on the tail end of an absolutely gorgeous and invigorating summer. We didn’t have too many rainy days to speak of, which helped me stumble upon the realization of just why we need the rain to keep us balanced on a personal and psychological level. Now in December, I would love for the summer warmth, but looking back on this post was a good reminder to appreciate the weather we have and use it to keep you balanced.

  1. When an Introvert Takes a Family Vacation

2014 was the year of our first family vacation with a toddler in tow. What a different experience! In addition to the wonderful memories, I also gained the realization that family vacations as especially challenging for introverts who rely on alone time to recharge. I was blown away by home many of my readers could relate to this scenario. Thank you for helping alleviate my guilt for liking my solo time!

  1. 7 Ways to Effectively Manage Busy People

I’m a busy person and I live with two other busy people (an entrepreneurial husband and a toddler). Not to mention the many clients I serve on a daily basis. Communicating with truly busy people can be quite the challenge, but I’ve developed quite a few techniques for breaking through the noise. Check them out!

  1. At the Intersection of Passion and Purpose

This blog falls into the category of “2014 milestones” as it describes my physical, mental and emotional journey taking on a crazy GORUCK challenge while raising funds for rare disease research. When you have a Special Ops Cadre leading your team for 6 hours of military training, you can expect to be sore and tired. What I didn’t expect was how fulfilling and life changing this experience would be…beyond that single day.

  1. Life Lesson: 5 Ways to be Your Own Advocate

In this blog post, I shared a personal backstory as to why this topic is so important to me – and my career path. While I am not an outgoing, demanding or selfish person by nature, I’ve learned that at certain moments I need to do a better job of speaking up and going after what I want. These 5 ways to be your own advocate will teach you how to do the same.

  1. 8 Time Saving Hacks I Use Everyday

I haven’t mastered the 4-Hour Work Week, nor am I sure I want to, but I am a huge proponent of saving time by being smart and efficient. Work smarter not harder, right? This blog takes a fresh look at what I am doing right now in my daily life to save time as an entrepreneur, mother and wife. I swear that these tactics have helped me to “make” more hours in my day!

  1. 5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand

Personal branding is a hot topic that calls for an expertise all its own. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many different clients and helping them to improve and market their personal brand. As a sole proprietor, I am my business’s brand, so I have also implemented these techniques on a personal level. What I like most, is that they are ones you can start doing today. You don’t need a grand budget, entire PR team or celebrity status. Your personal brand really comes down to telling your story in a way that connects with your audience.

There you have it! A sweet and condensed version of the 52 weeks of the BPR blog from 2014 transformed into a Top Ten list for your skimming pleasure. I already have some great topics on my “brainstorming list” cued up for the New Year, not to mention the many new milestones that will inspire topics I can’t even predict. I invite you to continue along with me on this journey of a 20-something entrepreneur!

What blogs or pieces from your portfolio represent your year? Share some of your most memorable moments from 2014 by commenting below!

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Business & Success, Life

 

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The New Years Resolution of a Lifetime

For so long I've surrounded myself with my business and career. My New Years resolution is to find the meaning beyond all of that.

For so long I've surrounded myself with my business and career. My New Years resolution is to find the meaning beyond all of that.

I’ve never made a New Years resolution. Reflecting upon this single sentence, I’m amazed at how clearly it reflects the intricacies of my entire personality. First, I don’t like doing the easy, obvious or expected. In school, I would purposely choose to write a paper defending an opinion that was less supported and against common belief just to challenge myself to think outside the box. Second, I hate waiting around for anything, especially the first of the year to make a great life change that I could have started months ago.

Whether it’s because 2012 is my first year as a business owner or because it’s predicted to be the end of the world, for the first time I’ve found a clear and meaningful New Years resolution. I want to reconnect with God.

You may not have seen this as the type of resolution I was leading up to, neither did I at first. It’s been a goal of mine for quite some time that I’ve found a thousand other things to put before it. And so everything I initially disliked about creating New Years resolutions has now emerged as an opportunity to finally commit to this goal. I have much to be thankful for and many talents which I wish to use for a greater good. I want to develop a mature relationship with God that will allow me to keep a gracious heart and understand the world on a whole new spiritual level. Religion isn’t blindly believing, it’s actually questioning and challenging everything you know on a daily basis which is what I’ve been doing nearly my whole life without knowing what to call it.

Having now written it in words, I know this is a resolution to which I will commit. I have everything to gain from this goal—spirituality improves all other aspect of life—and have already taken my first step. I’ve found a church that resonates with exactly what I’ve been looking for. Lives Changed by Christ (LCBC) takes an intellectual and thought-provoking approach to religion. The hardest challenge will be making this a priority week after week and year after year. It’s a goal that can never be truly met. There is no end; it will take me a lifetime. Having never before made a New Years resolution I’m starting with what might be the most challenging one of all, but I’m not overwhelmed. I’m excited because I feel as though I’ve found the only New Years resolution I ever needed all along.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Life

 

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