Take a break

The folks over at Online Business Degree have put together this super cool visual illustration on the importance of taking breaks. Love it. 

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The art of letting go

I hear a lot of talk about  letting go. Letting go of old habits, letting go of people, of things, of old beliefs.  We all want to be able to let go of something. 

The question to ask is not "what do I want to let go of?" but rather "What need that isn't being met that causes me to have a hard time letting go of something? Most people don't work on healing the need but rather focus on the thing that represents that need. 

I can let go of alcohol, but has the need to drink been healed?

I can let go of a relationship with a person - but is the need to be liked by others still around?

Healing a need isn't easy. We often don't even realize we have it. We can get addicted to those needs if we don't pay attention.  Healing the need will help letting go. And letting go brings freedom. It is a release. That's what we really want. 

But how do we find that freedom?

We find the freedom when love is active and present in our life. "All you need is love" is not just a pop song. It's the direct path to releasing any need of something outside of ourselves. 

But what the Beatles forgot to add in that gorgeous little tune is the word "self". All you REALLY need is Self-Love. 

When you have self-love and it is powerful, strong and true you can let go of anything. Because that self love would be so powerful, you wouldn't need anything else to feel love. 

Love is truth and when we are truthful to ourselves, when we stop believing lies that we are telling ourselves and let go of those lies, we can face our truth and know that we have everything that we think we need already inside of us. 

So instead of trying to learn how to let go of more, focus on how to bring more self-love into your life. When your self love is active and healthily practices, letting go of anything wouldn't be so hard.

It's my birthday today. I'm turning 45. I'm celebrating ME and taking a moment to look back at the other 5's birthdays so far. This one is by far the best one yet.

Be the gardener of your business

Bee and lavender

I live in Los Angeles, California, and though we tolerate bad traffic, bad acting and bad earthquakes, the gorgeous weather we get year round makes it all worthwhile. One thing I enjoy as a result of the weather is the ability to have a garden with an abundance of plants and flowers. My partner and I work hard to keep this garden alive, but we also have some help from mother nature. 

As we were designing the garden, we wanted it to expand and grow. We knew that if we could attract bees into the garden, they would bring with them ongoing activity and help pollinate the space. So, we planted a few lavender bushes around the edges of the garden in hopes that they would attract bees and pollinate the garden. 

It occurred to me that the garden, the lavender and the bees are a lot like your business, your marketing and your clients. 

Your business is the garden that provides you with the fruits you desire. The lavender is the marketing you put out into the world, and the bees are the clients who come and pollinate your business. 

Planting lavender in our garden was intentional. We knew that if we wanted a healthy garden, we wanted to attract bees. And, we knew that bees would come only if we had the right type of plant to attract them. 

Your ideal client is that bee that will look for the lavender in your business. The lavender is your marketing plan that needs ongoing care and nourishment for clients to keep coming back. Having healthy lavender will attract the clients you want. 

Want to grow a better, healthier business? Treat that business like a garden and you are the dedicated gardner. Here are a few tips on what it takes to create a flourishing garden. Apply this to your business and watch it grow. 

1. Experience: Gardening makes you a better gardner. The more you spend time on your garden (not just in it), you will learn more, fail more and grow more. Nobody wakes up one day knowing exactly what to do in their garden. You learn by doing. Same for your business. You need to spend time working on it, not just in it. 

2. Consistency and Persistence: Plants need ongoing care. Growing a garden isn’t like learning to crochet. You can’t put it down and take it back up three months later and expect everything to be right where you left off. Develop a habit of going out there on a regular basis. Your plants are like your marketing—consistency and persistence will give you a chance to understand your market, catch problems and observe changes. 

3. Plant the right plants for your climate: Chances are you won't be able to grow every type of plant you would like, so choose the type of plants that will grow well in your environment. Start with a small variety of plants and see how they do. Once they are growing well on their own, you can add more. Same goes for marketing. Choose the right tools that are the right fit for you and your business. 

4. Embrace Failure: Perfectionism is dead. As long as you have a garden, you will have plants that die. Sometimes plants die on their own and sometimes gardeners kill plants. Don't let that stop you from keep planting. If a marketing tool fails or stops working, learn from that experience and move on. Take chances and give yourself room to screw up. It's often in those failures that we have our biggest a-ha! moments.

Growing a business doesn't happen by itself. Without you, the business owner, nourishing and loving your business, you may find yourself in the middle of a dying garden filled with weeds and pests. Be the best gardner in your business and watch the magnificent beauty you can grow. 

The ABC index for choosing clients

I used to take any client that had a checkbook. That was the early days of my business, when every dollar mattered and I was working in fear and needy mode. I soon leaned that just because a client has money, it does not always mean they are a good client to work with. 

I needed to come up with an index that could help me make the decision if the client I am about to engage in is a good fit. I wanted a simple tool that will help me examine the most important values I look for in a client.

In your creative business, having a clear index to use when you are creating clients will help you filter out the bad apples from the bunch. This means that you must put yourself first and make a decision that comes from a place of loving your business, not desperation and neediness.

The index that worked best for me, and one that I often teach my clients is the ABC index. This index contains three simple questions that you can ask yourself when you examine a prospect and its fit with your business.  

A - Artistic :: Is working with this client going to allow us to be most artistic and creative?

B - Business :: Does it make business sense to take this client on? In other words, is the budget right? Are the terms OK?

C- Compatibility :: Do I like this client as a person? Is this someone I would want to cook dinner for?

If you are not getting a solid YES to any of these questions, chances are you're about to get into a client nightmare situation. I have yet to see a healthy client relationship that doesn't fit this index. 

In your business, what's your index?