Friday, August 27, 2010

What About Me??

I don't know where I first heard this quote but it is one I live by: When we say we don't have time for something, we haven't stated a fact, but rather a priority.

There are several priorities in my life that have shifted in the last year in order to "make time" for things. One of which is my physical health. I now exercise every day (5 days a week) and I shop locally at the farmers market as much as I can (by that I mean I go every week and buy as much of my food there that I can find: if they sell it, that's where I get it).

As moms in particular, we tend to let our health go. Last night we were out visiting. It was 9:00 at night and I said to my husband "We really should get going. I still have to exercise." This has become a priority for me. I make the time every day, even if it is the last thing I do before bed.

Another thing I often hear is "I don't have time to cook," or "I don't have time for breakfast." But then that same person spends 20 minutes in the drive-thru at Tim Hortons. Hmm - like I said, we haven't stated a fact but rather a priority.

By taking time to look after ourselves, we in turn will have so much more to give. Pick one thing you would like to improve that would help you feel better and work on making it a habit this week. It might be eating breakfast, adding more fruit and veggies to your daily intake, exercising more regularly, reading a book that doesn't rhyme at the end of every line, getting to bed before 11. Don't try to change everything all at once. Start small. Make one thing a habit and then add another change.

Another favorite quote that I know I have shared but just seems so fitting for today:
I am worth 30 minutes of my own time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Name Brand

Kleenex. Q-tips. Google. What do these things have in common? Major brand identity. How many of us ask for a tissue or use a cotton swab to clean our ears. How many of us "search" for something online?

It used to be that this type of branding was reserved for large corporations but things have changed radically. Do you know who is a brand now? You are. Each and every one of us are not just "consultants" for our company; we are a brand. People look at us to see what it's all about. When we present our product, we also present ourselves.

So what does this mean? How can you use this to your advantage? What do you need to be aware of?

In an age where so much communicating is done virtually, every thing you say is fair game. For example, if you are on Facebook and you have identified yourself on there as a consultant, it is best not to have posts that include swears or inappropriate material. If you're having a bad day or you're mad at someone, don't post it. Just a suggestion - but if people are aware of what you do, then everything you say is linked back to that. Whether or not you intend it that way, that is the perception.

Also, when you are doing business, whether its a party or just talking to a mom at the park, be sure to put your best face forward. I have learned to no longer go to the grocery store in sweat pants and a paint shirt and to always take the extra 2 minutes to run a brush through my hair and throw on some eye makeup. I don't go to the store in a 3-piece suit, but I do look respectable - like someone you wouldn't be afraid to invite into your home.

When we are prepared for business, business shows up. My kids have been taking swimming lessons every day for the past 2 weeks, which means I am sitting at the pool every day for a couple of hours. I have made sure to have catalogs and business info with me and to join in the conversation. I have some great leads from opportunities like this.

When it comes to branding, the main thing is awareness. Know that people are tuning in. How we present ourselves in non-work situations often speaks louder than when we are in consultant-mode.

Leslie (our VP of Sales) loves to say "Be Proud Out-loud!" I totally agree! Opportunity is everywhere. Be prepared to share with the people you meet. You are a brand. Make it the best brand you can!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Three Essentials

"Three essentials: Know what you're doing, love what you're doing, believe in what you're doing."
-- Steve Musseau

What a great quote!
Know what you're doing:
We live in a time of the savvy consumer, a time when word-of-mouth is paramount. It is important for us to be knowledgeable. Know your products. What is the best way to do this? Use them! Get on the floor and play with your children. Plus take advantage of the training available. Read books and blogs and articles about child development. This doesn't have to take mass amounts of time but it is essential. Just like any other career has a training program and a learning curve, so do we.
Love what you're doing:
I truly love what I do. I wake up in the morning excited to face a day of possibilities. When we are passionate about something, it shows and people are attracted to that. They want to be a part of something that gets people that juiced. Let your passion shine through in everything that you do. You will be amazed at how people react!
Believe in what you're doing:
Can you think of anything more important or exciting than the future of our children? We have the opportunity to help parents learn about the way developmental play impacts brain development. What a mission we have! To me, it means so much to see a child truly engaged and learning with their whole brain. There are so many that have completely tuned out and it makes me sad to see it. I believe that we have something important to share and if we don't do it, who will?
Being a part of this company is so much more than just moving product from producer to consumer. It is the opportunity to change a life. It is the chance to help a child soar to reach their potential. It is the opportunity to help someone reach their dreams and goals. Who are we to keep that to ourselves?
I encourage you to step out of that comfort zone and talk to someone new today. Realize what we have to offer and then offer it. You never know who you might meet along the way!

Monday, August 23, 2010

In Search of Solitude

For the past week or so, I just haven't quite been feeling my usual self. I've still been in a fairly good mood and still been happy to talk with people and share all I have to share, but underneath it all, there was something that just wasn't quite right.

Then yesterday came and it was just a compilation of little things that became a much bigger deal than they needed to and I was downright grumpy. I even burned the cookies I baked. That was the final straw.

And then the realization came: I haven't been having my quiet time. I've been sleeping in and missing my time of reading and journaling that normally starts my day. It had become much more hit-and-miss over the last month. The effects had finally caught up with me.

So this morning I got up with the alarm, made my coffee and sat down to start doing my morning routine. Ahh. Things were feeling right. And then my son woke up early. No big deal - he went downstairs to watch a little something. But not 5 minutes had past when I heard the call from the basement. He had spilled the tea I had left in a mug next to the couch last night. Sigh. I got up to dab it out of the carpet. Apparently since I was the one who left the tea in a bad spot, I was the one that had to clean it up.

Okay so I came back upstairs and got back on track. Then I spilled my coffee on the couch. Bigger sigh (maybe some cursing too). I got up and cleaned up the mess that I had made. I sat down again and looked at the words I had just written in my gratitude journal: "I am so thankful for this quiet time to start my day and help me focus." The words were ringing hollow at that moment.

I continued on. Once I finished journaling, I picked up the book I was reading only to discover my bookmark had been removed. This was becoming laughable - except that I wasn't laughing. When I finally found my page and started to read, things began to fall into place. It's an excellent book, entitled Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk.

The lesson I learned? Things don't always go smoothly and sometimes when we think we've got the perfect plan, obstacles will arise and try to derail us. How we react will determine whether we succeed or fail. I could have very easily walked away and said that I'd try again tomorrow. But I didn't. I stuck with it and ultimately - eventually - it became a beneficial time that did help me focus.

We usually don't have to look very hard to find reasons or excuses to give up on something. But when we look for the lesson and push through, ultimately it is worth it. That is when true growth happens. Look for the lesson and of course, be willing to laugh - especially at yourself!

Focus, Cindi....Focus!

I had a bit of an epiphany over the weekend with regards to my blogging. I am a little unfocused. I have several things that I am passionate about but the 2 biggest are inspiring other women (which was supposed to be the purpose behind this blog) and more recently, food and food production.

For that reason, I am starting a separate blog for all my food-related posts. Also, I realized that I send these great emails to my Discovery Toys team every morning and thought I should start sharing them with you. So you can look forward to those each morning.

I hope that by streamlining and focusing this will become more coherent and enjoyable!