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BossWoman eNews – June 2005
Combining prosperous work lives and balanced personal lives

Welcome to the June 2005 edition of Susan Robison's free e-mail newsletter for women business owners, executives, and professionals.

Our goal is to bring you news, insights, and information about leading a balanced and prosperous life while making a difference. If you are on this list you have been a client, an advocate, or attended a workshop. Pass this newsletter on to others who might be interested. This e-mail list is not sold or exchanged. Details on subscribing (and unsubscribing) are at the end.

In this issue, you'll find:

  1. Midcourse Correction
  2. BossWoman coaching
  3. Up and coming workshops
1. Midcourse Correction
We are halfway through your best year ever. You haven’t forgotten to have your best year, have you? Well, I haven’t. And just in case you weren’t a reader in January, send for my newsletter that told readers how to have the best year ever (Susan@BossWoman.org).

Here’s the truth you never read in those fun goal books – it doesn’t work exactly like they tell you. It’s the same as with cookbooks. You buy the ingredients, follow the directions exactly as they appear and what comes out of the oven looks nothing like the picture in the cookbook. Not that the books and the motivational speakers and the workshops on “being all you can be” lie to you. They just don’t tell the whole truth. They fail to take into account how new information can impact a good plan. It may be that Your Best Year Ever plan isn’t working because you have new information that you didn’t have available in January. Maybe:

  • You made more money than you expected.
  • You made less money than you expected.
  • Somebody you were dating and wanted as your life partner/soul mate broke up with you.*A fabulous new job came along when you least expected.
  • The fabulous new job you had just started isn’t so great.
  • You forgot you were supposed to have you best year ever.
  • You didn’t even read the January BossWoman newsletter.
So this is why you need the Midcourse Correction. You are off course from where you started in January. You might even be on a better course.

Where Was I?
In his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey gives the example that even though jet pilots fly with a flight plan to get from Point A to Point B they actually fly off course 90% of the time. They and their technical equipment are always measuring location on and off the path. Aren’t you glad that they don’t tell us that information when we’re flying? Can you imagine the announcements on a flight from New York to Los Angeles?

“Well, folks we were doing ok for the first 10 minutes after leaving the airport and now we’re headed to Manitoba. But don’t worry, we’ll get back on … there we are, folks… straight towards Los Angeles.”

“This is your pilot speaking again. Sorry, I dosed off ever so slightly. I flew the red eye from Los Angeles this morning and my eyes are still a little red but I feel better now. The bad news is we missed Cleveland so I can’t point it out but Chicago is coming up soon so we are back on our flight plan.”

“This is the co-pilot. Just in case some of you noticed the buildings didn’t look as tall as they usually do in Chicago, it was because that wasn’t Chicago, it was Columbus, Ohio. In order to not go to Canada, the captain leaned a little too far south and we flew over Columbus but we are heading over Cincinnati which turns out to be a good thing because it isn’t as crowded and polluted over southern Ohio than over South Bend-Gary-Chicago so we can actually see where we are going instead of flying on instruments.”

“This is your pilot again. You may have noticed we hung a hard right over the Gateway to the West in St. Louis. We’re not lost. We are trying to avoid weather in Nebraska to give you a more comfortable trip. Don’t worry; we may even get to L.A. a little early. We’ll keep you posted.”

Please don’t. One of the things I like about flying is that I don’t have to pay attention to the map, drive, cook, or answer the phone. It is sometimes the only break I get from those activities all at once. I don’t want to worry about whether or not the plane is on course.

When it comes to your flight plan, you are the pilot. You can get help from co-pilots and navigators but you are directing the plane. Where did you flight plan start from in January? What new information has arrived that makes you know that the original plan is no longer valid? What rough weather patterns need to be avoided? And is your destination still someplace you want to arrive at?

Your plan might not get you to the place you need to go. You might be like the woman who was climbing the ladder of success only to find out that the ladder was leaning up against the wrong building. Instead the midcourse correction allows you to redesign your plan to take you to a different destination, one that will be so much better for you.

Get out your January plan and see where you have veered off track. Do not compulsively drive yourself to get back on the plan. Evaluate first if it represents a plan for the rest of the year.

  • Some apparent distractions give new information about you and/or the world changing. One of my clients returned to teaching after her children were in school and found out that when it came to kids, she could either raise them or teach them but not both. What has happened in the first half of the year that will prompt you to change your course? For example, an unexpected opportunity to partner with a good friend with whom I used to do faculty development workshops rekindled an old interest. As a result I am expanding my work on “Managing Diverse Faculty Responsibilities: Saving Time, Staying Sane, Doing Well" and looking for new venues at colleges and universities to work with faculty in their quest for work/life balance and effective teaching.
  • What feedback have you gotten about your work and personal life? If you listen carefully, feedback can give you a confirmation of being on track. One of my coaching clients worried she had wasted her time when she attended a pre-conference professional workshop that she realized she could have presented. At our next session, she realized that the experience confirmed her sense of expertise in the field and wanted to work on how to position herself to conduct the workshop she knows she was born to do.
  • What new people have come into your life? What are they teaching you about the kind of direction you might have? They may tell you that you are good at something. They might tell you to not do something, like my tennis coach told me to stick with dancing. Think of all the time and money I might have wasted on tennis lessons and memberships instead of using the same resources on a fun, aerobic, artistic, and social hobby, ballroom dancing.
  • What does your gut tell you about the direction of your life especially in the hazy moments just as you fall asleep and wake up. I ask clients to do an “AM/PM exercise” every morning and night.
In the AM part, they imagine three things they are looking forward to during the day and three things they have to face that they are dreading.

In the PM part of the exercise, they review the day by asking what three things were particularly satisfying and what three things did not go as well.

If you write down the results of the AM/PM exercise, you will see patterns emerge in less than two weeks. Your new flight plan will become very clear: Do more of the things that make your feel successful and loving and less of the things that don’t go well. (Some of my readers already know that I give credit for this exercise to my Jesuit college education where we studied the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. His purpose was spiritual: to help spiritual advisees use their pleasure and pain to focus on their spiritual path.)

  • What gets you excited? For example, what books, movies, and activities suggest new interests that are developing?
  • What goals have you accomplished since January that feel absolutely right? What are ones feel like not much return on investment? What goals are you procrastinating? Here is an exercise, called “Creative Procrastination” from my time management workshop. List the things you are currently procrastinating on. Categorize them into groups.
  • Right but too big. Solution: divide into teeny tiny steps the first of which takes five minutes and the second of which takes fifteen.
  • Right but don’t know how. Who can help you? What book or website could teach you? Is there a class that can help? Could a coach or a mentor with expertise in this area help you?
  • Not-so-right. Procrastinate doing these items while you work on the sure things, the first two categories. Come back in a month to see if they seem right. If they don’t, drop them or move them into a “someday” category and get on, guilt free, to doing something else.
  • Not-right-at-all. Get rid of these energy drainers. Delegate them, hire someone to do them if you really need them done, or eliminate from any consideration at all. One of my clients reported feeling freer than she had in years. She had carried around the same to-do list for years feeling guilty but never reexamining whether the goals were worthy of doing.
Theme for the Year
In the January BossWoman you set a theme for the year – something to organize your activities and a focus. For example, my theme is “the year of the house” the year we take our much neglected house and spruce it up. Setting that theme has helped organize my activities to visit kitchen design places and to look through brochures, books, magazines and websites.

Now we are have plan to follow for the actual remodeling project, drawings on graph paper, and lists of small details that will add the finishing touches. While I am not good at this stuff and hate every minute of it, I want the results badly enough to do the research and shopping. I handled the overwhelming nature of the project by doing a little at a time, working with my husband to clarify our needs, and consulting with helpful professionals who are experts in these matters. How are you coming on your theme for the year? Is your theme for the year still right for the second half of the year or do you need a new one? Perhaps, you have been so successful that you have completed everything around your theme. If so, how about repeating the process to find a theme for the last half of the year? Or you could hang out with no theme just reacting to what comes your way – as long as you play fair and promise not to feel guilty and unproductive at the end of the year.

Secondary Theme
Sometimes while you have one big theme, a second one runs in the background. My secondary theme this year is gratitude. Aware of the many gifts and opportunities that have come my way I want to act on that gratitude by:

  • Offering a month of complementary coaching to new clients that commit to two months of additional coaching by the end July.
  • Offering a month of complementary coaching to returning clients with whom I have worked in the past – with no commitment to go beyond the first month.
Several of my clients have accomplished much already this year by establishing a theme and breaking the theme into small goals. Here are a few examples:
  • A consultant tripled her income.
  • A scientist published a definitive work in her field.
  • A sales professional designed an effective marketing plan that did not include making any cold calls.
  • A trainer defined her niche and her fee structure and received immediate confirmation by booking two workshops in the week after she put these structures into place.
Do you have s secondary theme that has appeared during the year? What action do you need to take to move forward this theme? What do you still need to add in to your best year ever?

It is not too late to have your best year ever.

A Happy summer to readers in the northern hemisphere - keep cool. And happy winter to readers in the southern hemisphere – keep warm.
Susan Robison

See the January issue of BossWoman: How to Have Your Best Year Ever.

2. BossWoman coaching
About the publisher: Susan Robison, Ph.D. is a professional coach, speaker, author and seminar leader. She loves to coach women who want improvement in:

  • work-life balance,
  • career transitions,
  • building your business or practice,
  • time management,
  • increasing productivity.
If you are feeling stuck on the way to your ideal life, give Susan a call for a complementary half-hour coaching session.

She provides keynotes and seminars to business and organizations on the topics of:

  • leadership strategies for women,
  • relationships,
  • work-life balance,
  • change.
She offers her audiences a follow-up coaching session because she knows that workshops don’t work.

Contact Susan for your coaching, speaking, or seminar needs at Susan@BossWoman.org or at 410-465-5892.

3. Up and coming workshops
I am currently booking workshops for the fall and winter. Contact me if your group needs a speaker on the topics listed above.

To start receiving the BossWoman e-Newsletter send an email with “Please send BossWoman” in the Subject to: Susan@BossWoman.org.

BossWoman e-Newsletter is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Coaching should not be construed as a form of, or substitute for, counseling, psychotherapy, legal, or financial services.

© Copyright 2005 Susan Robison. All rights reserved. The above material is copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site without the publisher’s permission.

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