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Your dream came true… now what?

Your dream came true… now what?

What comes next?  You’ve achieved your dream.  Now what?

My tag line is “Cast your vision ~ Catch your dream.”

I believe that the hard work starts once you catch it!  Once you achieve what you have been striving for.  But I had not considered this until recently.

My dream was to have my book become a best-seller.  It was like reaching the summit of a grueling climb.  What comes next?  There is always another mountain to climb, or as the saying goes, “another fish to fry.”  (sorry, I had to do it!)

It seems like nobody talks about the “now what” syndrome.  You’re done writing, editing, dealing with the publisher and your distributor.  What does each day after that look like?  Where do you go from there?

For that matter, for all of you non-authors, let me help you consider this with me.

Let’s say you:

  1. graduated from college or
  2. started a company or
  3. got married or
  4. (fill in the blank with your dream)____________

THEN WHAT?

Those are all big, life-changing events.

Have you ever noticed that the real work, the hard work STARTS just when you think you have arrived?

It would have been easy to just sit back on my laurels and wait for the book sales to happen.  You could do the same with a new business, or a new marriage.  We can busy ourselves with the “job” of running a household… dishes, laundry, and paying bills.

But I believe what happens AFTER achieving the dream is just as important as what happened before and during.

Last week in an interview I was asked how I have kept “Riskformation” at the top of people’s minds since it was released last year.     I can boil it down to three things.

 

The three R’s…

  • Remember
  •  Research
  •  Re-evaluate

 

Remember

Remember your WHY – focus on the reason you do what you do, on your values and on the people you hope to reach.

This is a big topic these days.  What is your WHY?

If you haven’t seen Simon Sinek’s TED talk on this, be sure to check it out.  I posted it on my Flying Fish Ventures, LLC Facebook page www.facebook.com/annefishauthor .  It is well worth the 18 minutes!

Why do you do what you do?

To remember my WHY I repeat it, look at it on my whiteboard, and share it when I talk to others.

Why do I do what I do?  … because I see so many people who are stuck in a rut, fearful of change and unhappy with their current circumstances… I know because I have been there.

So, what’s next?  Action – show people how to break free of their negative patterns.

     Research

Research – read, read, read… search for new content, new opportunities for growth, new technology.

I am constantly reading.  I also watch TED talks… a lot!  I love to learn.   And I try to embrace Deepak Chopra’s concept to always keep growing.

“People don’t grow old.  When they stop growing, they BECOME old.”

I research what other authors/speakers are doing on social media.  I look at their websites.  I join groups on LinkedIn and read the articles that are being posted in those groups.

If you are in a new job, or even better, if you are looking for a new job, research the latest in the field you hope to break into.

Newly married?  Read every book or article about relationships that you can get your hands on!

Researching new opportunities can help you move past the “honeymoon phase” and into the reality of the days, weeks and months after the big achievement.

 

                 Re-evaluate

Re-evaluate – is there more to the message or another message altogether?  Will you go on to graduate school?  What’s next?

There is an expectation of an author, or of any professional who does something BIG in his or her career AFTER the achievement has been met.

Once you reach the summit, take time to consider your next move.  Consider if you will do this again. What else do you want to achieve that may be tied to this accomplishment?  Decide how you will measure your continued success. Find ways to maintain momentum.

I didn’t write about the post-achievement method in my book.  I focused on SMART goals, but not on how to proceed once you reached them.

I think the Three R’s are a big part of the Riskformation process, and I literally stumbled upon them while preparing for my interview.  I was re-evaluating…

What strategies have YOU used when you reached your goal or after your dream came true?  What did YOU do next?  I’d love to hear your stories.  Send me an email to:  stories@annefish.net

If you’d like to have me speak to your group on the Power of Risk, the Three R’s or any of my other topics, please visit the contact page on this site.

To your success!

~Anne

 

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Tired of comparing yourself to others? Learn 3 ways out!

Are you always comparing yourself to others? Here is the good news! If you’ve ever compared yourself to someone else… you are … NORMAL.
Keep reading and learn 3 ways to stop falling into comparison mode and reclaim your joy!

Teddy Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

For many of us, comparing ourselves to others began when we were young.

We compared what our friends got for Christmas with what Santa brought us.

As we got older, we compared the good looks of our boyfriend or girlfriend with others’.

Comparing followed us into college, business and now into life. “He or she is smarter than I am, has a better job, bigger paycheck or more beautiful home than I do.”
Social media doesn’t make things any better.

Now we see what our friends are doing on a daily (or hourly) basis.

It gives us ammunition for comparing ourselves to others incessantly.

Does someone else’s news feed have a positive or negative effect on your state of mind?

This is called comparison mode. The more we compare ourselves to others, the worse it becomes.

Comparing yourself to others can make you:

  • Feel less than.
  • Feel intimidated by someone else.
  • Feel like you can never do (x,y or z) as well as someone else can.
  • Make you want to quit.
  • Give up your dream.

That is when I say – stop! Do not pass go, or collect $100!

3 Ways Out of Comparison Mode

Think of the 3 C’s:

  1. Be CONSCIOUS of the fact you’ve fallen into comparison mode. Awareness is the first step. If you find yourself looking at others and having your own pity party, recognize that it is happening. Admit that your feelings are coming up because you are comparing yourself to others.
  2. Try COMPARING yourself to YOURSELF (rather than to someone else). How have you made progress towards something? Remember, progress – not perfection! What did your business look like 6 months ago or 1 year ago? If your body image is the issue, have you been working on it? Then compare what you are doing now to what you were doing last month. It can be self-defeating to compare yourself to someone who is on a different path. Many times that person has weaknesses like anyone else but you don’t see them from the outside.
  3. CARRY ON. “Keep calm and carry on” is such a great phrase. I find that I use it quite a bit when something hits me and threatens to send me sideways. Carry on… keep working towards that goal that you set for yourself. Stop looking at others’ accomplishments (and social media) and get back on track to do the best you can do today.

There are a lot of incredible people in this world. The challenge is to allow them to inspire rather than threatened you.

If I compared myself to some of the amazing individuals who live in Jackson Hole I would never leave my house! Extreme athletes, well-educated 50-year old retirees, and successful entrepreneurs dominate our community. I am inspired by them, and frankly, I am intimidated as heck by some of them as well.

Today my goal is to work on the 3 C’s. I will be conscious of my feelings. Compare my success today with where I was in the past and I will carry on and do the best I can do right now.

Please comment below or share via social media if you want to start comparing less and being more joyful!

Carry On and Compare Less!

~Anne

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Take a giant leap…and network!

There’s a children’s book entitled “Take a Giant Leap, Neil Armstrong! (Before I Made History)” about what the famous astronaut was like when he was a boy. I’m guessing he was a fearless little guy who was usually the first one in line when it came to trying new things.

Not long ago I decided to take a giant leap and start a blog. The funny part about it was that unlike Neil Armstrong, I was NOT the first in line to try this “new” thing… As a matter of fact, I told my marketing team that I wasn’t going to blog. I didn’t want to blog. No way would I blog! I had published my book earlier in the year and wasn’t sure how I felt about getting started on yet another big writing commitment.

Then I realized that I still had things that I wanted to say, life experiences to share, and people to touch. I already had content from decades of journals. I found that new ideas would come to me while driving, on my morning walks, or in the middle of the night. I could keep using that writing “muscle” and make it stronger by blogging. I acquiesced and here I am, blogging about trying new things.

Taking a giant leap is all about trying new things.

Taking a giant leap is not just about taking a physical leap (which most often comes to mind first) or trying new things like blogging.

I believe it can also refer to being open to meeting new people.

Networking with others can feel risky.

You become vulnerable when you share intimate parts of your life with others. But there can also be wonderful rewards in store for you by doing so.

While working in the airline industry, I observed that something magical happens on airplanes. Two perfect strangers can sit down next to one another, and at the end of the 1, 5 or 15-hour flight, they may know more about their seatmate than about their family members or close friends. Has this ever happened to you?

Two years ago I was on a Southwest Airlines flight returning from a writer’s conference in California and I actually selected the empty seat next to… yep, you guessed it… an astronaut! “Really, Anne? Are you kidding me?” Nope. I am totally serious. You say, (as so many others have in my life), “Seriously?! How in the heck do you do it?”

The giant leap of networking is quite simple… I believe it is a matter of:

  1. BEING OPEN to talk to people. Unplug. Be aware of who is around you. You might be surprised!
  2. LISTENING to what they say. Listening is a wonderful skill to hone. Truly listen, not just wait for the other person to stop talking so you can give your opinion.
  3. ASKING QUESTIONS and CONFIRMING that you heard them right… You bet your boots I made sure I heard this astronaut right! He went to space not one, two or three, but FOUR times and is one of the astronauts to have lived on the International Space Station longer than any other! Yes, I listened intently…and asked questions for confirmation.
  4. SHARING A BUSINESS CARD with them… always have a card – if you are an aspiring entrepreneur and especially if you are unemployed.
  5. REPEATING their name! Sometimes I have to catch a glance several times at the card before the name is hard and fast in my memory. Believe me, when this astronaut got off the plane I wanted to remember his name and use it to say, “It was nice to meet you, Leroy Chiao.”

So unplug, stop reading your Kindle (unless you are reading my book, “Riskformation”!) or listening to iTunes… and try living in the present… Assess your surroundings and select where to sit in a restaurant, on an airplane, or in a doctor’s office. You can be strategic about your “chance meetings”!

Do like Neil Armstrong and “Take a Giant Leap” and talk to the person next to you. Disclaimer: You may not sit next to an astronaut, but it could turn out to be one of the most interesting people you meet in your life!

Ready, set… LEAP!

~Anne

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STUCK

Have you ever been stuck?

You know the feeling, not knowing where to turn next, not sure if you need to change direction or actually stay on the path you are on.

I write about how to avoid this. I speak about moving forward and taking risks, and yet, here I am, just a few short months after my book launched and became an #1 International Best-Seller, and I am STUCK.

Let’s get real.

The reason I am stuck is a FWP. First World Problem.

I am safe, I have a roof over my head and plenty of food on the table. I don’t have to walk miles to fetch water and then carry it home on my head. The fact is that I have a burning desire to help others, and I feel like I am not doing my job right now.

I feel like a slacker.
I also feel a bit like a 49 year-old computer loser.

I remember the computer lab when I was a freshman in high school in 1981. I never set foot in there. There were a few kids who did, but they were pretty much all dubbed nerds. Nobody understood what the big deal was with these things that just looked like small television sets.

Man how I wish now that I had bitten the bullet and become a computer nerd. Had I done so, maybe I wouldn’t have to resort to asking my friends’ children to help me create folders for my 25,000 photos on my MacBook Air now. These young people get to listen to me express my frustration about how my folders of photos from my old PC didn’t transfer and now they are all in one huge folder – or is it an app? But do my picture folders matter?

No, what really matters is that I learn how to post my musings onto a blog, because blogs matter… and sizzle-reels matter, and according to some people, hashtags matter. All of these things give me additional SEO (search engine optimization) and that will help me be found by Google…. so that I can HELP PEOPLE. That is my mission. To help inspire, encourage and lead others.

Just give me a microphone, a stage, and an audience of people who are ready to get UN-stuck, and I am happy… but please pay me. You see, all of this computer SEO stuff, and blog and sizzle-reel stuff makes me crazy, but it must be done, and it costs money to have someone else do it for me… because, remember, in 1981 I didn’t take the computer class for nerds. Dang it!

Now I wish I had, and that I could do all of this for myself, because my time is free, my thoughts are mine but I need to make money to call what I do a business.

So, you ask, how do we get un-stuck?

1.  START:  The real way to become unstuck is to start.  Start working on one small task, one portion of the larger goal.

2.  ASK for help.  In my case starting required sitting down with someone who knows computers better than I do. Someone who could show me how to use Word Press and help me with my social media strategy.  The tasks become smaller and not so daunting when I tackle them a little bit at a time. I start to feel less afraid of them.

I have found that moving towards something is much better than not moving at all.I think of riding a bicycle. When we are in motion, heading towards the goal, the pedals moving, even if they are moving slowly, we are in motion.

If we stop pedaling, the bike falls over.My bike fell over about a month ago. That is when I wrote the first version of this blog post. I began with my honest feelings about being stuck.

3.  KEEP MOVING:  Today I picked up the bicycle, had a strategy meeting and started pedaling again.  Ever. So. Slowly… but I am pedaling and I actually posted this to my WordPress blog all by myself! Soon I’ll be moving a little faster. At some point I’ll be riding the race of my life, but it had to start with picking up the bike and doing one small thing…

What are you waiting for? Is your bicycle in motion or are you still on the ground, wallowing in the fact that due to inaction, it fell over?

Well, I’m moving forward, and I’d like to have you move with me.  Hang on, we are about to hit the road… and it is going to be a wild ride!

Here’s to you becoming UN-STUCK!

~Anne

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Is it luck or preparation?

The concept of luck has been in the forefront of my mind all week. On Tuesday there was a storytelling contest put on by the Teton County Library. The topic, you guessed it.

Luck.
It is funny how many people attribute good fortune or luck to their situations in life. Then there are those who don’t think luck has anything to do with it.

Just ask John Guzzwell. I interviewed John for my book. He took on a risky endeavor and sailed around the world solo in 1955 in a 24’ boat he built himself. He had NO modern navigational equipment. He said people told him for years how lucky or brave he was, but he disagreed.

John thinks of luck as a dirty word.

He says it is intangible and it conveys the wrong message.  In his words…

preparation and having a plan is what it is all about.

As I wrote in my book, “luck” is a comforting word that insulates us from our responsibility to take risks; for when we rely on “luck” the responsibility of fulfilling our goals does not fall upon our shoulders, but rather on that ever-elusive “matter of chance”.

When preparation meets opportunity, THAT is called luck.

It isn’t something that happens TO you, it is something that happens BECAUSE of what you have done.

Thursday afternoon I was inspired to tape and post my first video blog or VLOG. I had been asked to facilitate a meeting and communication exercise with a group of inspiring entrepreneurs here in Jackson Hole that day. The group is called the Start-Up Institute. The instructors coach the entrepreneurs on everything from making a business plan to marketing and execution. The meeting had the goal of helping these individuals with their elevator pitches – the one minute and thirty second explanation of who they are, what their company does and how the consumer can benefit from the company and/or its products.

I listened as the various speakers shared their start-up ideas. The idea of luck kept coming back to me again and again. Would you consider one of these entrepreneurs “lucky” should he or she be invited on the show Shark Tank to pitch their company to investors? Would he or she get “lucky” and make his or her first million dollars in a very short period of time?
I believe that luck is really when preparation meets opportunity. Each of these businesspeople has a passion attached to a great business idea. Based on their presentations, they aren’t just dreaming up an idea and throwing it out there to see if it will stick. They have done their research. They have made a hefty investment in the Start-Up Institute (and in themselves) and they anticipate success.

We each have to do our research and prepare to achieve that which we want to achieve. If you have a dream or want to take a risk and go for something outside of your comfort zone, you must do the work before you take action.

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.” – Gary Player

As I listened to these entrepreneurs I wondered how many of them had butterflies in their stomachs. So I asked them. Believe me, there were enough butterflies in that room to make you think the monarchs had made a stop-over in Jackson Hole on their way from Canada to Mexico. These are bright and motivated folks, yet they were nervous.

They are not alone! I’ve felt the fluttering of butterflies many times before as I stood in front of a room, or sat in front of a camera. If you have a dream and you are nervous about going after it, there are others who have felt those same feelings, so fear not.

I would like to encourage you to press on, and feel the feelings of uneasiness. The goal is to teach the butterflies to fly in formation!

May you continue to take risks and be prepared for the moment when opportunity meets preparation.

Then, keep risking!

~Anne

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Find your voice ~ Share your gift

How do you find your gift?

Imagine that you are at a podium, about to speak to hundreds of people. Your palms become damp, your mouth dry, and let’s just say that the butterflies are working overtime! Be honest, would that moment terrify you?

If you are like most Americans, your answer to that question would be a resounding “YES”! Public speaking is considered to be one of the top three greatest fears among Americans. (The other two are running for President in 2016!)

I harbored fears and inferiorities for years. One of the ways I confronted those fears was by losing 60 pounds, the other was by taking action, taking the stage, and using what I feel like is one of my “gifts”… I love it!

Now, don’t get me wrong, it may come easily to me, I may enjoy being on stage, but that doesn’t mean that it comes without having to put time and energy into it.

So, you ask, how did you find your voice, Anne? About twenty years ago I started teaching and facilitating classes and speaking during sales meetings. At the same time I was introduced to several motivational speakers who helped me see outside of my limitations and feel the possibility of a future on stage.

I contend that the way to find your voice, and to use your gifts is to begin, to be curious, and to explore. I believe that we were all intended to be great in one area or another… but we must go for it!

The Bible says that, “Each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…”

Some of you may know what your gifts are. If not, how do you identify what you have a knack for? There are three simple ways that I have used to do this.

  1. When you do a certain task or work in a certain job, do you find that people are always complimenting you and saying, “You are so good at x, y, z…”, or “Wow, it seems that a, b or c comes really easily to you”? That may be an indicator of one of your gifts.
  2.  There are “interest inventories” available that can identify your skills and show you where they could best be utilized. I have found these to be helpful, and encourage you to seek them out. One such inventory is called the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, there are Emotional Intelligence tests, or another is called the Enneagram personality test.
  3. There comes a time when “working” on something doesn’t really feel like work because it is so enjoyable. What is that THING that you enjoy doing, and for which being paid would simply be a bonus? Maybe that is your gift.

This week I noticed on Facebook that a photographer friend had published her first book called “Pet Photography”. She has been a photographer for many years AND she loves animals. Bonus! What fun, she loves what she does! Why not use that gift and share her “voice” with others? The fact that she published her book on such a specific topic, but on a topic about which she has become an expert, is thrilling! It says to me that anything is possible. What is your version of pet photography?

I believe that the best way to share your voice and your passion is by starting. Even if it is on the side. Spend a few hours each week working on your gift. Develop it. It may not happen overnight, and it will take work, but I promise you that the work will be worth it.

I think in finding our voice, we find our gifts… and we bolster our self-esteem.

The only difference between Anne Fish and those of you who answered “YES” at the beginning of this post is that I have found a way to make those butterflies fly in formation. I have found my gift and I want to use it to serve others!

My desire for you is that you would know how to tame and train those butterflies too, because I believe that each one of you has a story worth telling, a voice worth finding, and a gift worth sharing.

Now, it’s time to get started… what will you do to find your voice? I’d love to hear how you are sharing your gifts!
Keep risking!

~Anne

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It is a risk to love…

It is a risk to love…
What if it doesn’t work out?
Ah, but what if it does.

Peter McWilliams

The day of love… February 14th. Will you consider taking a risk to reap great rewards?

What is the best-case scenario if it works out for you to risk to love? Can you imagine it?

It seems that we are so quick to opt for the worst-case scenario of things not working out in love. We forget the part of the quote that says, “Ah, but what if it DOES (work out)?”

Why do we focus on the negative side of risking to love?

As with many things in life, it can be easy to focus on the pain, the feeling of loss, the fear of being hurt. Then what we do with those feelings is try to protect our hearts from feeling them again. What happens? We distance ourselves from others who might love us. Or decide that it is too scary to dream. We fear the unknown and stay far away from it so that we won’t have to change or grow.

The upside to taking a risk to love someone…

What would it take to help you focus on the feeling of victory, success, or of pure joy?

We were all put on this earth to feel peace, love and joy. If you have ever been in love or seen someone who is, you understand what I am saying. It is that feeling of reckless abandon where nothing else seems to matter in your world. What matters is the way you are feeling, and it is intense!

Another way to look at this quote is to switch out the word “love” with any verb you choose.

It is a risk to dream.
It is a risk to try something new.
It is a risk to expose an insecurity.

The comforting thing to remember is that there are only two potential outcomes of taking any kind of risk. Risky or not, you have a 50/50 chance of having a good versus a bad outcome.

What could happen if you take any kind of risk?  

  • It doesn’t work out.
  • It does… and WOW, does it ever!

What it your dream works out and is better than you imagined? What if you stretch yourself and succeed?!

We think of risk as being the potential for loss, injury, peril. Yet if I had my way, there would be a huge paradigm shift in the world. What if we were to view risk differently?

Risk can be a great thing! Remember that on the other end of the RISK continuum is REWARD.

AH, but what if your risk to love, risk to dream or risk to try something new does work out?!

Just for today, I challenge you to think about the possibilities… and the rewards… because you deserve the best!

Have a wonderful day!

~Anne

“Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

~ Marianne Williamson

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How important is it to have a tribe

What if I told you having a tribe could be a life or death decision? OK. Maybe not that dramatic, although it has been proven that people with plenty of social interaction live longer. The book “The Blue Zones” researches the places in the world where the most centenarians live. It credits the individuals’ social groups as one of the key factors to living over 100 years of age. Longevity is partially due to being in the “right tribe”.

Some of these elderly people chose (or were born into) social circles that supported healthy behaviors. In Okinawa, Japan, the “moais” or group of five friends committed to one another for life. Researchers found that the group of elderly folks in Sardinia laughed with friends, were sarcastic and social. The California centenarian groups maintained strong social networks, frequently visiting neighbors and listening, laughing and being grateful for what they had.

The groups, or tribes, provided these 100-year-olds with support systems. It also helped to keep younger people in their company, providing learning opportunities and new perspectives.
Yesterday a former flight attendant roommate (1 of 10 from my Hong Kong days) sent out a group message to 5 of us asking for support. She had some tough news to share. She has a pretty aggressive form of cancer.

The responses of the group made my heart full. They made me realize that her tribe was circling the wagons and lending support. The responses were messages full of faith, prayers and love.
The amount of support this dear friend was getting from all over the world was profound. Reponses came in from Florida to Hong Kong and New Jersey to Jackson Hole. I haven’t seen one of the women in that tribe in 20 years. But our bonds were strong from when we were flying the “friendly skies of United” and coming home to our tiny, 2-room apartment, with a bathroom the size of your kitchen sink.

Why were we still connected after all this time? Because we had shared so many hopes and dreams with one another in that tiny apartment. We discussed our faith and our fears. Now here we were – miles apart – yet the bond was still alive.

THE HOW-TO’s of TRIBAL NETWORKS:

What is a tribe?

~ I refer to a “tribe” as a team of friends connected by similar interests or goals.
Tribes of individuals used to have their own languages. They had symbols for their group and supported one another through thick and thin…
When my mother died back in 2014, one of my tribes (my Austin tribe) was there for me. They prayed with (and for) me and my family, they brought food by the house, and one member even stayed with mom while I had to run to a meeting.

Why seek out a tribe?

~ Maybe you feel lonely or disconnected in your community. A tribe fosters love and support. It can also be useful when looking for resources to help you do anything from remodel your home to build your website for your new business.

Tonight at dinner a tribe of women sat next to my husband and me. The entire conversation was about their babies. What to do when little Johnny gets a rash, what kind of soap to use, what foods can cause skin irritations. What wonderful resources these young mothers can be for each other!

How do you join a tribe?

~ Here’s the good news. There is no ceremony involving animals or blood! Many times, finding a new tribe and joining it are as simple as reaching out to a group that does something you’re interested in.

Sometimes we must find new tribes when we move or start a new job. Neighbors can form tribes. Work associates can form tribes. Small groups from church can become our tribes.
The key is to express an interest in getting to know and spend time with them. It can take time to build trust within the group. You want it to be a group where everyone can share their deepest feelings and insecurities.

How many tribes can you join?

~ There is no limit – other than your ability to stay deeply connected with the people involved. I have several tribes. One from my hometown, another from the town where I live now, and I still keep up with my tribe of former work associates.

What can you do to be a good member of the tribe?

~ Stay in contact with others. Be willing to give of yourself to others when they are in need. Don’t just take from them when you are in need.

You may have noticed that my Hong Kong roommate contacted 5 of the 10 women to ask for support. Why only 5? Because the 5 of us have remained in touch. I flew to California to support one of them in a new business venture. Another met me for lunch in Chicago when she and I were both there on layovers- long after our time in Hong Kong together. A third and her husband now exchange Christmas cards with my husband and me (neither of us was married when we were roommates).

No matter what your situation: Seeking change, trying to find your voice, or looking for support in a new business, a TRIBE can help. I would encourage you to seek out others who have your same interests, speak your same “language”, and who will be there as a support system through thick and thin for each other. BONUS: Your tribe could add years to your life!

~Anne

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Someday I want to …

Someday I want to …

Recognizing an opportunity is the end of the sentence that starts with, “Someday I want to …”

In other words, it’s your bucket list. It is not just a dream. In order to make those ambitions reality, you have to set a goal and start taking action.

I talk to a lot of people who are inspired by my travels and want to do exciting things like moving overseas, but once the rubber hits the road and they find out it is not as easy as it sounds, they abandon their plans. Achieving a dream requires work, some more than others. And taking a risk is challenging.

Notice I wrote “challenging”—not “impossible.” Many people get scared when confronted with the ladder they must climb in order to reach their goal. They look up and the top is so far away, it seems insurmountable. The obstacle isn’t actually the work of reaching the goal; it’s the fact that the goal is eclipsed by the climb.

We get off course from our goal when it becomes obscured by the path we must travel to reach the end. That’s why recognizing an opportunity and setting a goal is such an integral part of your toolbox.

It’s the banner you’ll hold high as you charge into battle; it’s the prize at the end of a tough match.

Lose sight of the opportunity, and you can lose altogether.  Someday never happens…

The statistics alone on goal setting are compelling. But tell me, in your life, why do you need goals? Why do they really matter?

Let’s talk numbers.

The Houston Chronicle published a study not long ago on the number of Americans with goals—specifically hand- written goals. The numbers are shocking.

80 percent of Americans do not have goals.

16 percent have goals, but they are not written down.

Less than 4 percent have written goals.

Less than 1 percent review their goals regularly.

The 1 percent group also earns NINE TIMES more money over the course of their lifetimes than those who don’t write down their goals and review them regularly.

When it comes to goal-setting, I can’t think of a better inducement. But it is not enough simply to have a goal. If you’re going to set a goal, make sure it is a SMART goal.

A SMART goal is:

S—Specific

M—Measurable

A—Attainable

R—Relevant

T—Time-bound

To read more about SMART goals, please see Chapter 5 of my book. The chapter is entitled “Recognize an opportunity and set a goal”. I can’t think of a better time to begin setting (and ACHIEVING) goals than the beginning of a new year. Join me. Let’s do it!  Make that “someday” TODAY!

(Above is an excerpt from my book, “Riskformation” – How Smart Risk Taking Will Transform Your Life. Hardcopy, paperback and Kindle versions can be found on Amazon. Audible is available as of today, 12/28/16. iTunes and Amazon audiobooks will be for sale at the beginning of 2017).

~Anne

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Let’s be optimistic in the new year!

I choose to be optimistic this year.  Will you?

The building in this photo has been called a symbol of hope. Why is that?

It is called the Oculus – or World Trade Center Transportation Hub which opened earlier this year. It sits next to the 9-11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, designer of the station, said the Oculus resembles a bird being released from a child’s hand. Others have said it reminds them of a dove taking flight.

I visited the Oculus last Sunday, December 11, 2016. It had been 15 years and 3 months. That’s 183 months or 5,565 days since September 11, 2001. Most Americans remember every vivid detail of that fateful day. I am one of them. I was flying for United Airlines at the time. It was a profoundly significant day for me, the company for which I worked, and the world.
I have heard over and over in the last 30 days how 2016 was a horrible year. People want to move on to 2017.

I wonder if it would help put 2016 in perspective by looking back at 2001. It helps me when I am feeling overwhelmed or frustrated to look outside of myself. To consider others who have circumstances worse than mine.

Faith ~ Hope ~ Light ~ Optimism

What I remember in the days and months following the 9-11 attacks was the surge of patriotism, faith in God and the expressions of “love your neighbor” by Americans. I wonder if we could go back to those days in our minds and jump-start our 2017 with a much-needed change of perspective. I truly believe that a change of attitude will help change the way we experience our day to day lives.

The concierge at my hotel in New York last weekend was named Richie. The hotel sits across the street from “Ground Zero”. Richie is a life-long New Yorker. He lives in Queens. The attacks on 9-11 deeply affected Richie.

When I asked Richie how to get to the museum, he suggested that I avoid walking alongside the construction zone. Instead, to take the path through the mall across the street (it would also be warmer than walking outside in 30-degree weather with a damp, biting wind). I would end up in the new Oculus building, where I could go upstairs and exit to the museum. This way would give me a different view/perspective.

He said the Oculus was “optimistic”. He repeated it several times. Optimistic. The new architecture was optimistic for our future.

The view when I walked into the main hall of the Oculus was just that. It gave me a sense of positivity, hope and life. Of people moving forward despite their wounds, their sadness. It was a symbol of goodness. Rather than being a sad or negative place, the light coming through the beams represented life to me. Richie was right.

Why not be optimistic?

It’s a choice… and the alternative isn’t great. Being pessimistic. The bird NOT being released from the child’s hand… not releasing our lives to someone or something else. Not “letting go and letting God”.

I loved Richie’s choice of that one word. The new building will greet anyone who comes with a heavy heart to pay tribute to those who died on 9-11 with optimism.

Let’s be optimistic going forward into the new year. Like Richie. He takes the metro every day to the World Trade Center stop. I can’t imagine how tough that must be for him. He answers questions every day about the 9-11 Memorial and Museum at his concierge desk. Yet he chooses to walk a different path, not the path by the construction zone or the devastation, but the optimistic path. I hope we all can follow his lead. Because in the end, “You always find what you are looking for.”

~Anne