The New Word of Mouth

The New Word of Mouth.

Pause….stop? slow down?

A tough week rethinking what I want and what I don’t want in my life for the next 30 years… boy that’s a long time!  Just thinking about how long we could be retired makes me more committed to “doing it right” and including my husband in my journey. Our goals and actions need to be aligned in retirement, just as they have been over the past 28 years of marriage.

Pre-Marriage and Pre-Retirement

One of the aims of pre-marriage courses or weekend retreats is to have couples discuss really important topics such as finances, children, and careers to see if their values and goals are aligned.  These are often hard conversations to have with the “love of your life” as each person is afraid the other won’t approve or agree with what is said.  The same is true for retirement!

Throughout our marriage, we made career, parenting and business decisions together with the vision including:

  • saving or investing to make sure we could afford the standard of living we wanted
  • raising our children(4) to be independent, contributing members of society and to be respectful of each other as well as their fellow-man
  • supporting our children so they left the “nest” with a post-secondary education, reliable transportation and minimal debt
  • being involved with our children’s activities
  • operating business ventures in a profitable way
  • choosing  jobs or positions allowing us to realize the work/life balance we desired

We have realized this vision.  Now, with my 9 – 5 job winding up April 30th, we enter the Pre-Retirement phase and need to have conversations about the future. Once again, we are registering for a 2 day session to work with a group and have these conversations facilitated.  Until we have a shared vision for what retirement looks like and what we need in that life to be fulfilled with a purpose, I’m hitting the pause button on my “work” project.  If we’re both envisioning a porch swing, we need to make sure it’s on the same veranda!

My husband laughs when I tell him I’m never going to quit working.  I told him all the other options that I am considering to keep me engaged in community, learning, colleagues and the family cost money:  I could work or I could go to school ( maybe do that PhD after all.)   I explained that I thought engaging in a few activities that brought money into the household would be a good idea, but if he supports a “lifelong learning” plan, I’m okay with that too.

What do you think?  Any suggestions for working through the pause and hitting the play button again?

Take 2: Friends and Allies

In Take 1, I shared my struggles discovering what I wanted to do with the next decade of my career and told you I was working on a personal branding statement.  My branding statement is now into version 5!

Thankfully, my mission is getting clearer, so I’m onto Take 2!   My elevator speech:   I help busy, overworked professionals get a grip on the avalanche  of information coming their way to help them improve their productivity, stay sane, and bring balance back to their lives.  You may have noticed that I underlined the word avalanche in the sentence.  Please take my quick poll and let me know what image you see when you think of the size of the digital information coming your way.

Back to friends and allies… I’ve been around the block long enough to know that there is no free lunch (that was an important lesson to learn in Intro to Finance!)  and no easy way to build a successful service business.  My strategy incorporates some contracts run through my venture coupled with strategic alliances with firms who could use my talents and skill set to serve their existing customers or expand services.

I’d rather be a member of a tribe than a lone ranger.  Each member of a tribe has a role to play for the well-being of the tribe.  They celebrate as a community and support tribe members.

Please use the comments to let me know what you would like help with to manage your digital overload.


Get a Grip!

I met with my coach last week to review the first draft of my personal branding statement.  Now  I have harder work to focus my niche.  I think I have found it.

My Niche

I really enjoy working with Web-based tools and applications that help me keep current, manage multiple projects and automate some tasks.  I also enjoy helping others improve their performance using Web-based tools. There are many resources, books, Websites, podcasts, videos, blogs, and consultants ready to jump in to help leaders be better people, change, and process managers, but  rarely is there any help or assistance for managers and leaders in making sense of or managing the avalanche of digital information coming their way every day.  Many managers comment that they need to get a grip on the digital information coming their way, but don’t know where to start.  That’s where I can help.  For example, everyone know how to use email to send and receive messages, but few people use the tools in email applications to effectively manage their inbox and manage their mail.  Did you know:

  1. E-mail tools can help filter, file and  automate mail tasks?
  2. There are tools to help summarize the articles you want to read?  
  3. You can use tools to automate common tasks such as sending you a text message if your company is mentioned in a tweet?
  4.  There are tools to help you filter digital information so you only pay attention to the articles that need your attention?

What could you use help with in managing the digital information coming your way every day?

If you would like to help me collect data on how people are using and managing digital information, please take a few minutes to complete this 10 question survey.  Feel free to share it with others.

Take 1: Discovery

As I continue my journey to find a niche for building value for myself and others in the next phase of my career, the development of a personal brand was an interesting part of the process. I was a bit overwhelmed at first with this notion of branding myself. In addition to searching the internet and reading many articles about personal branding and the elements involved, I was able to draw connections between personal branding and mission statements for companies. The hard part was asking others about my personal qualities. I must say I have great friends and coworkers who were objective in their comments and I thank them for stepping up to give me those adjectives to help me describe my personal qualities as others see them. I am also thankful my three sisters remained silent on the topic! My Mom, however, was not. I think some of my friends had a chuckle when they read her comments about my “being good at soliloquys” LOL! My husband chose to focus on my skills and background and steered clear of the request to describe my “personal qualities”… smart man!

Armed with the first and second versions of my personal branding statement, I am “off” to check in with my coach today.  Onto next steps…

What’s in a Name?

I began doing some research about building my personal brand. The first few articles spoke highly of the need to own your name/brand on the internet, so I purchased several domains that I might use in my new direction. As I continued with domain searches and reviewed my cart at the end of the process, I decided that I did not want to invest $1000 right now in making all these investments, so I scaled back the requests to a “good enough” list…for about $250.00.

I was still able to buy my name as well as several potential business names. I even bought all my kids names… easy enough to put the list and info in their birthday cards! Their domains represent about 1/2 of my purchase.

How much is enough? has figured out how to “supersize” your order quite nicely. They have packaged less popular domain extensions (.org, .net, .info) with the more popular (.com, .ca, etc). Of course, with a 60% discount from the regular price. I don’t think I need all of them, do you? The standard 5 year registration is enticing… I’m pretty sure all 13 domains I registered today will need to be registered annually for awhile…. I’ll pay later and make decisions later.

I’m not yet ready to set up websites and all the other details, but at least I’ve got my name! Never would have dreamed I should be buying my name a few year ago. Have you purchased your name? Any advice?

Cold Calling is Kinda Fun!

I was nervous about having to cold call people to expand my network.  I don’t know why!!!  Anyone who knows me could tell you that I am outgoing and a good “networker”.  I’m not anxious about going to an event by myself or joining MeetUp groups and attending events without knowing a sole.  I volunteer and eagerly walk up to others and introduce myself.  I’ve never been “that girl” who couldn’t go to the washroom alone.  I guess I can thank my parents for living a nomadic life and moving several times during my development years.  Reaching out to make new friends was a way of life.
This week, I have actively looked for more ways to network with those who might be able to connect me with a new passion or a new work connection.   I’ve hit the “send” button on several e-mails asking total strangers to meet me for coffee.  No rejections yet. I’m not sure how calm I’ll be if I actually have to phone someone cold… I’m much better at cold calling in person or using social media or digital methods.

I was at an event a few days ago and looked around to see another woman sitting alone at her table with her lunch.  I picked my lunch up, walked over and asked, “May I join you?” Neither of us was able to use the lunch hour to check in at work, but I enjoyed getting to meet her.  I hope she feels the same.  Now, I just need to pop by her workplace and invite her for coffee 🙂

How do you expand your network?  Any cold calling tips for me?