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Getting over Blue Monday?

By some accounts, Blue Monday was this week.

What is Blue Monday, you ask?

It goes back to a campaign created by Dr. Cliff Arnall and Sky Travel in 2005, and it’s the third Monday in January.

It is a pseudo-scientific calculation that considers weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing your New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels, and feeling of a need to take action.

The idea is that all of that is enough to put you in a “blue” mood. Of course, the solution for your low feelings would be to book travel! Since then a campaign was started called #stopbluemonday.

I think Blue Monday is when you look ahead and see all you have set to accomplish this year and start to feel overwhelmed when you have barely gotten started.



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Money mindset lessons from my dog

I’m sure you realize that your relationship with money is important to your business growth. Seems obvious, right?

And, I know that you had a lot of reasons for starting your business. One of them was to make money at something that you loved.

What is odd is that we want to make money to support our lifestyle and make a contribution. At the same time, we can sabotage our efforts with our mindset. You could also call them “money blocks.”

So what does this have to do with my dog?

Recently our dog Button went through a picky-eater stage. We would end up throwing out partially used cans of food because she would no longer eat them. I found it frustrating “throwing money away.”



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Align Your Priorities

When was the last time you took a vacation?

I know it can sometimes be hard for those of us who are entrepreneurs to let go. After all, will your business run without you? Can you trust being partially or totally unplugged? When can you possibly find the time to go on vacation with all you have to do?

Truthfully, you need time to relax and recharge. If you don’t allow time for that, I believe in the end, you are not as effective at our businesses, and it is ultimately detrimental to your overall health and well-being.

For me, the best way to insure a vacation is to schedule it. Calendarize it, even pay for it ahead of time, so it becomes a non-negotiable.

While any getaway to recharge and refocus should be a priority, you have lots of other priorities in your life that don’t always get on the calendar.



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The simple act of choosing a word

Many people choose a “word” as a focus tool for the year. I have been doing this since probably 2005 when Kathy, the owner of the yoga studio where I practiced, passed around a basket with words.

I chose “openness.” At the time I asked if I could pick a different word. After all, the woman next to me chose love, which seemed like a much better word. I remember Kathy telling me that I was stuck with openness because the word had chosen me.

I went home, taped the word onto my computer, and let it be an anchor as I went through the year. Looking back, I know that this made a tremendous difference in my year.



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Old Year Lessons

In three weeks you’ll turn the calendar page to 2020.

Each year the years seem to fly by. And this year was no exception.

While three weeks isn’t a lot of time, you do have time to take some positive actions to end your year on a high note and get a head start on 2020.

Here are some tips that I’m taking to heart.

Don’t wait until Dec. 31 to check your financials.

I’ve been working on my financials the past week or so. As someone who is self-employed, I need to make estimated tax payments. While they aren’t due until Jan. 15, 2020, I like to get my settled before the end of the year.

Some questions you might consider:

• Do you need to follow up on any late invoices if you want the income to be in 2019?
• Do you need to defer the income until 2020?
• Do you need to make any expenditures by year-end?
• What tax consequences should you be aware of?

On my list is a quick call or email with my accountant. This will answer any last minute questions and allow me to make any adjustments I might need to minimize any taxes I owe.



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Can you handle it?

Several weeks back I had a conversation with a colleague about her distress over a poor review of her book on Amazon.

“But I want everyone to love the book,” she said, really meaning, “I want everyone to love me.” She believed that if someone did not like the book, they did not like her.

I think we can all fall into that trap, wanting to be liked. I can remember exactly when I decided I didn’t care if everyone liked me. I was working in the offices of an ad agency, and one of the men in the office told me he didn’t like me.

Well, how could that be? I am truly likable. Then I thought about it and realized that I did not really like him. He had poor work habits, always sloughing his work onto someone else, and I generally did not like being around him. Why did I think I cared anyhow?

It is just not possible to avoid criticism, especially in our social media world. And, hey, it does hurt sometimes. And, you can learn to handle it.

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Gratitude + Gifts + Goodness

This is Thanksgiving week in the United States.

It is one of my favorite holidays, and not just because it could be termed our National Day of Eating! 

Gratitude

Many of us, myself included, take time to consider what we are grateful for this time of year. As I look around, I am surrounded by so many blessings. I have good health and a family who loves me. I have a dog who makes me laugh every day. I have friendships that I treasure. And I get to explore my creativity. My life is overflowing in goodness.



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How confident are you?

When someone asks you how confident you are about something, do you cringe and second-guess or question your abilities? Maybe self-doubt starts to set in. You feel stuck or paralyzed about taking action. You may be even one of those people who end up in a downward spiral to the point of giving up.

I feel confident about a lot of my creative skills. A few Thanksgivings ago, I decided I would make and decorate a cheesecake for dessert with our meal. The impetus came from a friend who made his living in the wedding industry. He had recently retired and shared a recipe.

This recipe was good. So good, in fact, it paid his mortgage payment each and every month. And this cheesecake had a buttercream icing that was piped beautifully. Do I have those skills? Absolutely not. Did I feel a bit intimidated by the task? Definitely. Did self-doubt set in? Of course.

This is a just small situation, but it can play out every day in larger ways. Giving a speech to a large group for the first time or the 10th time. Entering your art in a show. Sharing a portion of your book in public. How did you get from feeling doubt to taking action to building confidence? Here are some ideas.

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Set Your Business GPS!

biz-gps

Recently on my way to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, I got caught in a mass of slow traffic. Anyone from these parts knows we only have one way to reach the beach, and that’s using the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Annapolis. Its two spans date to 1952 and 1973 and can’t handle today’s traffic. Slow-downs and waits are a normal occurrence, particularly during the summer, so I try to time my trip to avoid them. Despite my best efforts, I was stopped.

Because of the nature of the journey, my GPS isn’t of much use. It can’t re-route me across the water! As I edged along, I thought about the GPS you set for your business.

The beginning and end points

Your car’s GPS won’t work without a starting and ending point. It’s the same in your business. You need to know where you are now and where you want to go.

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Let’s take 15!

Do you ever look at what others have accomplished and think you can’t possibly do that? We all have that comparison gremlin to contend with. Do you then fall back on your standard excuse? I just don’t have time!

I’m going to challenge you on that.

I’ve written about “you management” as opposed to “time management” in the past. Today I want to share a simple concept that might make a difference in your day.

Let’s call it Take 15.



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