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Thank you For the Gift of Freedom: Part 1

The main idea of this post was originally shared in on Memorial Day in 2014.  I wanted to share it again in the time of COVID.  While it is true that we find ourselves in challenging and uncertain times, we can get through it.  I am also sharing this post because the ideals Ewing Marion Kauffman shared with the world were very helpful to me when deciding whether or not to leave my twenty-five year career.  His words ran through my head a million times, and I ultimately decided not to be content with what someone thought I was worth – especially when it was $158,000 less than the man who held the position before me.  

I don’t believe the demise of the United States is an inevitable outcome.  I believe there are many futures, and we have to decide which one we are going to choose.  The politics of this whole COVID situation are very real, so make your own decisions about how you want to live your life.  The one thing I have learned?  Always question those who tell you to be satisfied with what you have or where you are in life – they usually think they are more entitled and valuable than you – and, that you should be there to serve them in some lower-level capacity.

You have the freedom to choose, and people died for that freedom.  Now is the time to use it.

To the Brave & the Fallen:  Thank You for Freedom! 

We have much to be grateful for this Memorial Weekend.  Thank you to all who have lost their lives bravely fighting for the United States.  And, thank you to those who have served and passed, the families who have sacrificed more than most can imagine and all who defend this great nation.  While I realize today is for the fallen, I also want to thank our living Veterans, Military personnel and their families.  You need to be recognized and remembered whenever possible for your dedication and service to this country.  I also want to remember our loved ones who are no longer with us. 

Thanks to our great military heroes, one of the unique gifts we have in the United States is the gift is FREEDOM!  The Declaration of Independence guarantees all of us “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This means we are free to pursue our lives and our vocations in any way that makes sense to us.    Freedom and opportunity are already available, now we need the confidence to pursue our dreams!

Freedom is what makes America so great.  What we do with our freedom is up to us.  It is our choice.  Freedom is our grandest opportunity and should be protected, especially in challenging times.  The importance of the freedom to choose is demonstrated by the story of Ewing Marion Kauffman.

After serving in World War II, Ewing Marion Kauffman started working as a salesman for a pharmaceutical company and was extremely successful.  When he started making more money than his boss, he found that his sales territory was suddenly limited.  Mr. Kauffman’s boss limited the sales territory on purpose.  After all, an employee couldn’t make more money than the boss!

Mr. Kauffman made a decision after his boss limited his sales territory and income.  He quit his job and vowed never to work for anyone else again.  He started his business in 1950 in the basement of his home.  He generated $36,000 in sales and $1,000 of net profit in his first year.  By 1989, Mr. Kauffman’s business made over $1 billion in sales and employed over 3,400 people.

Mr. Kauffman wanted to give back to the world and used his knowledge and wealth to form the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a foundation designed to support entrepreneurship and innovation.

Dr. Carl Schramm, the former President of the Kauffman Foundation, wrote The Entrepreneurial Imperative.  In this book (one of my absolute favorites), he notes three things all Americans should remember in the face of gloomy times (p. 81):

1. Never bet against the American system.

2. Know that being an American is your very best asset… 

3. Finally, never count on anyone but you to create your own destiny.


The American system is designed so that we can pursue our passions and dreams, especially in challenging times.  Our ability to pursue our dreams and create our own destiny is what makes our country so great.  We all have the freedom to choose what to do with our lives, and we have the freedom to help one another.  We have the freedom to pursue our ideas, our dreams and our passions. We have the freedom to create our own destiny.

People like my Great Uncle Jack realized this and helped protect the freedoms we have in the United States.  Uncle Jack was a fascinating man.  When I was young, all I knew about him was that he was great at hunting night crawlers.  In fact, he taught me how to hunt them.  We lived in the apartment above my parents’ TV and appliance store.  It was located on the main street of a rural community and did not have much of a yard.  Luckily, Uncle Jack lived only a few blocks away and had the perfect yard for gathering night crawlers. When it rained at night, we would walk down to his house with our flashlights and buckets.  Dad and Uncle Jack would help us kids hunt night crawlers so we could use them as bait when we went fishing.

There is actually a trick to getting your night crawler.  You have to shine the light on night crawlers to find them while they are above the wet ground.  And, you have to be quick!  Too much light scares them back into the ground.  You have to remember where they are and grab them quickly yet gently.  Then you have to slowly coax them out of the hole a little bit at a time.  If you try to force them out, they break.

Night crawlers and people are similar in this regard.  If you force individuals down a path they do not truly want to pursue, they eventually break.  Humans must find their own paths and pursue their own destinies with passion and purpose in order to live their best lives.

I did not understand much about Uncle Jack until I was a young adult.   He was a World War II Veteran and served under General George S. Patton during the Battle of the Bulge.  Absolutely amazing!  He was a World War II hero and I thought he was awesome because of his ability to catch night crawlers!

Uncle Jack and his family sacrificed when he served our country.  As Americans, we must remember that our freedom is not free.  Many men and women have died, been injured and sacrificed a great deal to provide us with the ability to live our lives with freedom and choice.  Taking our freedom for granted dishonors our troops and veterans.  It also dishonors their families, who have sacrificed more than many of us can imagine.  These people have truly sacrificed for all of us and our great nation.  We should honor and salute them everyday because they have given us the gift of freedom and choice.  We get to choose how we spend our time and our lives.


The bottom line:  Cherish your freedom, protect it and use it to create your destiny!


Freedom is foundational to entrepreneurship, business development and the future.  We must protect freedom for our future generations.  My daughter’s birthday is this time of year.  Happy Birthday Raquel!  As a your Mom, I will do whatever I can to preserve your freedom so you can pursue any dream you choose!


Coaching Challenge:  Participate in a Memorial Day Activity and show your gratitude for our Veterans and Military families!  


And, stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog series!

Go Wild with Freedom!

-Dr. Connie

 

 

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How to Create Core Values

Now may be the perfect time to either establish or revisit your core values.

In a time of drastic change, it can be helpful to either establish or revisit and renew your core values. Why? Core values are what we stand for and judge to be right. They serve as the guiding principles that influence our beliefs, behaviors, attitudes and cultural norms. 

The COVID pandemic is a Wild Card that has changed many of our habits, beliefs and behaviors. I have written and talked about Wild Cards for years in my work as a Futurist; however, I want to remind readers about my definition of Wild Card.

Wild Card: Unpredictable, unforeseen happenings that impact our present and future.

-Dr. Connie

Wild Cards can and do happen. COVID is an example of a global sized Wild Card with very long-term, history making and future-changing consequences. Wild Cards can also happen on a smaller scale. We might lose a job or have an unexpected health emergency. We might inherit a large sum of money or land a big client. We may find ourselves needing to revamp our business while practically homeschooling our children (sound familiar?) We don’t know exactly when Wild Cards will occur or how they will impact the world, our businesses and our lives. As leaders of our lives, families and businesses and communities, we need to deal with Wild Cards and the changes that come with them now and into the future.

Wild Cards are a part of business and life. As leaders, we have to learn to deal with what comes our way. 

Establishing or renewing your core values can be a valuable first step in transforming your business and life.

One of the clients I have been working with relies heavily on customers physically visiting their property. It is clearly a time for them to pivot, and they wanted a new strategic plan that helped them rethink what is possible in a time of long-term business uncertainty. After the initial in-take and assessment, I recommended that they establish their core values. We start at two levels 1) Each individual employee should establish their core values, and 2) The company also creates core values for the organization.

I have also been “assigning” a core values exercise to my individual coaching clients. There are a number of core values lists out there you can use to establish your core values; however, I prefer that businesses and leaders create their own core values. It is really important to get excited about and connect with your core values. You also need to own them. So, have a little fun with this as a person, family, team or business and create something that energizes and excites you!

The coaching tool I am giving to you all as a download in this blog post is typically used for teams or small businesses. However, you can use the same steps as an individual, family or group of leaders.

5 Simple Steps to Creating Your Core Values

  1. Core Values Uncensored: Forget the Norm & Bravely Brainstorm
  2. Create a “Top 5” List
  3. Work Together to Make the Core Values Better
  4. Reflect, Revise & Test to Find the Best
  5. Choose How to Use Your Core Values

Download the FREE “How to Create Core Values” Coaching Exercise Below!

Why are core values important in business? 

Core values are the beliefs and principles that help guide your present while laying the foundation for your future. Consumers are increasingly loyal to businesses they can identify with, relate to and believe in because they want a sense of purpose and connection when buying goods and services. 

On an individual level, core values represent what we believe, how we behave and who we are. Our values influence everything ranging from how we show up at work to who we choose as friends.

Think of core values like this:  An apple has five chambers at its core.  Each chamber holds a seed that possess important elements for the regeneration of future apple crops.  Seeds hold the keys to a healthy and thriving future. Core values are similar to seeds in that they can help individuals and businesses regenerate themselves to grow the future they desire. 

In both business and life, core values should serve as foundational guidelines we use to make decisions, guide behaviors and influence strategic directions. Core values establish both the present and the future when it comes to business, leadership and life.

Go Wild & Have Fun Creating Your Core Values!

Dr. Connie

Download the FREE “How to Create Core Values” Coaching Exercise Below & Join Wild’s Email List to Receive Coaching Tools, Exercises and Ideas Designed to Help You Create Your Desired Future!

PS: Let me know how it goes! I would love to hear from you!!

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Dear Dr. Connie: How do I deal with all of this change?

Many of the experienced coaches I know are getting this question from their clients. I have been asked this question in several sessions over the past few weeks. Most of my coaching clients are high-achieving individuals who are finding themselves in situations where they are now working from home while also helping their kids learn and taking care of their parents at a distance.

Yes, we are in changing (and challenging) times. Balancing all the new with the uncertainty of what is happening is difficult for most of us; however, there are things we can do to improve our mindset while also enjoying what this strange present has to offer.

I created a new coaching tool, My WINs for Today, for clients who have needed a little help finding their new grooves. One of the daily challenges I set for them is to have some fun every single day. Yes, this may sound strange to many. However, we know that fun helps strengthen us physically, mentally and spiritually.

Fun: Doing anything that creates joy in your life.

-Dr. Connie

The WINs for Today coaching tool is designed to provide a simple, yet useful, roadmap to help people create and celebrate 3 intentional WINs (Wildly, Inspired, Natural Actions) each day that support their lives now and into the future. For overachievers, times like this can be very difficult. Why? They are never quite satisfied about how much they accomplish. Times like these can be super-stressful because productivity is challenged by all of the other items they have added to their plates. I know from my own experience that working with kids who are learning at home is something that takes a few new braincells and mindfulness techniques to balance.

Intentions are whatever we truly want to make happen. What we intend will happen. Actions support honest intentions; therefore, all true intent is realized. Intentions become the outcome.

Dr. Connie in SMARTER Intentions & Authentic Goals (2014)

There is only so much we can do in a day, so keep it simple until you feel like you are in a good place to do more. Create some momentum, and learn from each day. Try not to judge yourself too harshly, and get some help if you need it!

You can download the My WINs for Today Coaching tool for FREE by clicking on the following link:

You can also preview the My WINs for Today coaching tool below. Let me know how the tool works for you. I would love to hear how you are all navigating the present to create a new future!

Have fun creating your WINs!

-Dr. Connie

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Mondays are for Fresh Starts

It may be time for a fresh start. Clients have been reaching out to me because they are stressed and wondering what to do next. The uncertainty created by the COVID-19 situation is a challenge for businesses and leaders. How can you possibly create a bright future right now?

In face-to-face workshops, I really enjoy watching my clients jump over fresh start lines after they have decided to pivot and move in a different direction. Now is the time to jump over that line if what you are doing is not working.

We have made a lot of changes in our house too. Growing a business while helping kids with their new normal of remote learning at home is a total mind bender. One of our dogs died, and we closed on a house that we were in the process of buying before this all happened. We also received very difficult news about two loved ones that are struggling with health issues. It has been hard and more than a little depressing.

Through all of the challenge and stress, there is hope and opportunity.

For example, I had to give myself permission to hold off on launching the online version of F*school while also expanding my client base to serve those who are in need. The challenge was putting my almost completed F*School on hold so I could move into the opportunity of helping more clients. My personal philosophy is to serve the immediate needs of existing or new clients first while developing products requested by future clients.

If you need to create a fresh start for yourself, or your business, then do it. Today, or any day, is the perfect time to do something different, experiment with ideas and reconnect with yourself and the clients.

If you are having a hard time dealing with the need for constant change and need a mindset shift, then let me know. The experienced coaches I know and admire are all adding clients in an effort to help individuals and organizations navigate this rollercoaster of a ride we seem to be on right now.

Give yourself permission to create a fresh start! If you need help, please let me know. I am here for you. If I am not the right fit, I will help you find someone who is.

We will get through this, and there are opportunities out there – for people at every age and stage of life. Let’s create joy and hope in the world again. It’s time.

Go Wild with Your Fresh Start!

-Dr. Connie

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Happy Easter!

I recently read this quote and wanted to share:

To trust God in the light in nothing, but to trust him in the dark…

That is faith.

C.H. Spurgeon

There is hope and light at the end of the tunnel my friends. Let’s focus on getting to the light together!

Here’s to having hope and love for one another in challenging times.

-Dr. Connie

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Happy International Women’s Day!

Women’s prosperity is a focus area for Wild Innovation.

Why?

Research continues to demonstrate that gender equity strengthens economic prosperity.  When women make money, they invest it into their families, businesses and communities.  

It is time to support #EqualforEqual and ensure economic equity and prosperity for all.

This is something that I am personally passionate about because of my own experiences with inequality in the workplace. Instead of simply talking about my story, I am taking action to help other women (as well as workplaces) create futures that are more inclusive and more prosperous for women, their families and their communities.

I am absolutely thrilled to partner with Talbot County Economic Development and Tourism to offer a strategic foresight workshop for female leaders committed to playing big in both work and life while having fun! 

This new workshop coincides with their declaration of 2020 as the Year of the Woman because it marks the 100th year of women’s right vote in the United States. In addition to the workshop, I am giving the keynote for their annual Business Appreciation Breakfast focused on “How to Lead Like a Futurist in Talbot County.”

Leading Like a Futurist in Talbot County, Maryland!

What is Leadership & Life 2025?

Leadership & Life 2025 is a strategic foresight workshop designed for women who want to take charge of their futures.  Women are forging new paths in leadership, business and entrepreneurship. They are creating new models of work, life and income generation in an era of full-time careers, gig-economy side hustles, dual-working couples, the #metoo movement and an aging workforce that prizes youth.  

Join us for this workshop if:

You are a high-achieving, female leader and/or entrepreneur who is ready to get to the next level

You are challenged by work-life balance and want to get your life back on track

You are in a time of transition and lack sense of direction but want something “more” that you can’t quite grasp or understand

You feel hopeless, lost or unsure about where you are going and why you are currently doing what you are doing – even if you just keep doing it

You are bored, disengaged and uninterested in your current career, business endeavor, romantic relationship or even life in general

You have a sense of unease because you “aren’t getting any younger” and feel that you are running out of time to do, be and accomplish all you desire out of this lifetime

You are ready to take some time to work on your dreams while having fun with other women making great things happen!

Come to Leadership & Life 2025 and leave with:

Your new vision for the future as well as the focus, confidence and excitement you need to make your future vision a reality

A personal innovation plan that sets you up to WIN by taking Wildly, Inspired, Natural Actions

Connections with other female leaders and businesswomen who are ready to make their new visions a reality

Women who Lead in Talbot County….Join Us April 23, 2020 and Go Wild with Your Dream Futures!

-Dr. Connie

PS: Need some ideas to support International Women’s Day 2020? Go to InternationalWomensDay.com and Take Action!

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The Value of a Purposeful Future

I am currently working on a day-long, customized strategic foresight and leadership curriculum for the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (MHDD) National Training Center’s National Leadership Institute. MHDD’s National Training Center is a collaboration between the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the University of Kentucky, University of Alaska Anchorage, and Utah State University. 

One of the topics we will focus on is creating and leading what I call a Purposeful Future. This is a pivot from the preferred future I have learned about and talked about for years. Why? Years of my research, and that of many others, continues to reveal the importance of purpose.

Too many people keep their desires inside of them.  They unwittingly pursue the Purposeless Future. This is the future that “just happens” because people opt to stay on the hamster wheel of life rather than taking the time to develop and pursue a purposeful future that they truly desire.

A clear sense of purpose this is especially important for women, as well as businesses, looking to reinvent themselves, innovate or create a different future than the one they think the present will support. Purpose is associated with longevity, health, vitality and the ability to innovate.

Which future are you choosing to pursue right now? Have you been purposeful in the pursuit of your future? Or, are you running default mode?? There is no judgment here! I have, and still do, struggle to get out of default mode – especially when life gets overly busy!

I would really enjoy learning from those who are pursuing their Purposeful Futures with wild abandon! Why did you decide to approach your life and/or business with purpose? How do you approach the intentional creation of a Purposeful Future?

I look forward to hearing from you!

Go Wild with Your Purposeful Future!

-Dr. Connie

PS: Enjoy the article (below) by Singularity University’s Chipp Norcross. I completed a professional development certification with Singularity a couple of years ago and like to study their strategic foresight research and ideas for the future.


Is Purpose A Company’s Best Protection Against Disruption? – Singularity University

Are you optimizing for the industry you think you’re in, or for the actual service you’re providing to your customers? Your answer could indicate how likely it is that your company might be disrupted, notes SU’s Chipp Norcross.

Source: Is Purpose A Company’s Best Protection Against Disruption? – Singularity University

After all, an organization’s purpose is fundamentally an inspirational communication from leadership about what is essential to focus on and prioritize. 

-Chipp Norcross, Vice President of Enrollment program at Singularity University
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How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

I am really curious about how other people celebrate Valentine’s Day. My husband and I have now been married for 20.5 years, and we are always looking for new ideas. We usually have a fun celebration at home with the kids because they love celebrating holidays with us.

We make some heart-shaped foods and enjoy a nice meal together. Then, we exchange a few small gifts – even the dogs get some extra treats! However, it is time to mix it up a bit! So, I am looking for ideas!!

How you spend Valentine’s Day?

Looking forward to reading some great ideas!

Here’s to having more fun today and everyday!

-Dr. Connie

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The 30 Day Bucket List Challenge

Are you ready?

It is mid-January, and time is already flying by in 2020! Have you made progress on your New Year’s resolutions and goals? I know it is easier for me to DREAM BIG and be accountable when other people are taking the trip with me. If you need some motivation, accountability and bold thinking, join our 30 Day Bucket List Challenge!

How will you fill your bucket?

Sign up by clicking on the “Join the 30 Day Bucket Challenge List” button below. We are kicking off on February 1, 2020. Sign up now to receive the 30 Day Bucket Challenge workbook. Then, start filling your bucket with whatever you want to accomplish, experience and achieve in 30 days!

Get ready to Go Wild and Have Fun!

-Dr. Connie

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Australia’s One Billion Animals Lost is Only the Beginning

Sadly, Mass Extinctions will Continue

Trends don’t look good for creatures, big and small, around the world. Predictions estimate that Australia’s mass wildfires have now killed one billion animals…and counting.

The knowledge of mass extinctions is not new. The planet’s flora, fauna, animals and natural resources have been under duress for quite sometime. As the number of humans increase-the amount and quality of wildlife habitat decreases.

Dr. Larkin Powell and I discuss this very issue in Episode 27 of the Rural Futures podcast, which can be accessed by going to: https://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/episode-27-researcher-larkin-powell-intersects-humanity-wildlife-ecotourism/

There is nothing that happens in rural landscapes that does not effect wildlife. The tie between human community and the biotic community is tighter than ever before.

Dr. Larkin Powell
Professor of Conversation Biology, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The truth is that we are all connected. Larkin provides an example of seeing flowers being produced in Columbia that are ultimately purchased in places like Nebraska. We also talk about chocolate and coffee. Much of what we consume travels a long way to find our plates!

What does this mean? None of us are removed from the tragic fires in Australia.

Larkin notes that there are long-term concerns about extinctions. I talk about a strategic foresight tool, Future Users, and propose that generations living on the planet today (including that of my children) will see mass extinctions in their lifetimes. Australia is only the beginning. Go ahead and add polar bears, bees, cheetahs, elephants and many, many more to the list.

As we see the continued psychographic (wants, needs and desires) shifts in the human population…

We definitely have to put sustainability at the forefront.

Dr. Connie

We all need to do better, including me and my family. A more prosperous future for all, including women, depends on humanity having -and taking care of- this wonderful planet. The time for future-focused leadership and innovation, with a focus on sustainability, is NOW!

Dr. Jim Cavaye, Professor of Regional Community Development at the University of Southern Queensland, was one of our Faculty Fellows at the Rural Futures Institute. I wish Jim and everyone in Australia all the best as they move forward in this very challenging situation. Jim: We are here for you friend!

I tried to find what legitimate information on to donate to relief efforts in Australia. I found this news site in Australia that may be useful. If you know of legitimate places people can help, please share!

Prayers and Love to You Australia!

Dr. Connie


Check out the interview with Dr. Larkin Powell by clicking on the link below:

https://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/episode-27-researcher-larkin-powell-intersects-humanity-wildlife-ecotourism/

Larkin Powell, Professor of Conservation Biology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, talks with Dr. Connie about the opportunities within ecotourism, humanity’s affect on wildlife and natural landscapes, the benefits of precision agriculture for animal habitats, the possibility of mass extinctions of wildlife in the coming decades and more.

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What 100 Things have You Accomplished in the Last 10 Years?

We are ushering a new decade, which means it is a great time to reflect on the past while preparing for the future! It is easy to move on to the next goal, intention or resolution; however, I encourage all of you to take the time to remember, honor and celebrate what you have already achieved – in the last 10 years. Yes, you read that correctly – the last 10 years!

What 100 Things Have You Accomplished in the Last 10 Years?

Why 10 years? This decade stretching coaching exercise is designed to tap into your memory banks while providing a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. Investing time and effort into this process will also strengthen your motivation and confidence. This can be especially important for high-achieving individuals who feel like they are getting older and are interested in or working towards a life transition or transformation. Achievers tend to move quickly and overlook what they have accomplished. This exercise was intentionally designed as a slow, yet insightful, process that helps us see how much we have grown and changed over the course of a decade.

The first few may or may not come easily to you. Expect the process to get a little more challenging as you add more accomplishments. Ten years goes by quickly, and we tend to forget all we have experienced and achieved. If you get stuck, refer to your planner, calendar and pictures for ideas. Use your social media accounts, colleagues and friends to trigger your memories. Think back to fun times and feelings of joy. And, think broadly! This is not an exercise focused only on work or career. Think about the whole of your life as you go through this exercise. Below are a few thinking prompts:

  • How did you invest in yourself?
  • Where were you, and what were you doing, 10 years ago?
  • Where are you, and what are you doing, now?
  • What experiences did you enjoy?
  • Did you have a child(ren) or grandchild(ren)?
  • Did you try a new hair color?
  • What type of physical exercise did you try or grow?
  • Did you write your first blog post or record a podcast?
  • What romantic encounters did you experience?
  • What vacations did you experience?
  • What classes did you take?
  • What hobbies did you develop?
  • How did you volunteer or freely contribute your talents?
  • What did you do for exercise or self-care?

Stretch your thinking and have some fun with this exercise. You may just surprise yourself! Download the 100 Things I Have Accomplished in the Last 10 Years Coaching Tool below by clicking on either the text or the 100 graphic. Make the time to complete the list, and then let us know all about the 100 accomplishments you have achieved in the comment section below. We look forward to hearing from you!

Cheers to all of you!

-Dr. Connie

What 100 things have you accomplished in the last 10 years?

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Google – Year in Search 2019

Google’s Year in Search 2019 made me shed a few tears. Searches for heroes soared. People want to know about real life heroes, sheroes, unlikely heros, supermoms and superdads. They want to know what makes a person a hero. They want to know how they can be heroes.

I really loved on of their last statements: To everyone using their powers to empower others.

I know a lot of you have been doing this before 2019 and will continue to do it beyond 2020. Tell us,

How are you using your Superpowers?

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It is Almost 2020: Give Yourself Permission to Pursue Your Desired Future

The end of the year – and in this case the beginning of a new decade – is a great time to take stock of where you have been and where you want to go!

Milestones in time create the ideal moments to clear the challenges of the past, celebrate our wonderful memories and launch our dreams. Listen to your internal compass. Maybe you have been feeling stuck or have an internal knowing that it is time to do something different. If so, it is time to give yourself permission to consciously create and pursue the future you truly desire.

One of the first lessons we cover in F * School is giving ourselves permission to do whatever we truly want to experience, try or pursue on the path to our preferred future – the future we truly desire.

I have noticed the need to “give permission” in both individuals and in organizations, so I created a lesson to address this need. Many people tend to keep themselves mentally stuck or wait for someone else to give them permission to move forward with an idea, project or vacation (Yes-sometimes leaders really struggle with taking time off to recharge and renew).

I have been guilty of choosing to stay stuck at times. My amazing executive coach, Elise Auxier, pointed this out to me as I transitioned from my job to my business. Instead of waiting for some external person or force to give me permission to leave a long-time career that was no longer serving me, I had to take ownership of my life and do it myself. It took a series of bold, baby steps. And, it took a lot of support. Ultimately, I had to be the one to take action. I gave myself permission every step of the way. Was it always easy? No. Has it been totally worth it? Yes!

The process of giving yourself permission to move forward with your dreams and desires can be especially important if you are going through a time of change or transformation. I used the Permission Slip several times to help with my midlife metamorphosis. It took me a year to leave the place I had been at for twenty-five years. As a mentioned earlier, it was a process of bold, baby steps. It has taken some time; however, I am finally emerging as the person I have always wanted to truly become.

Give yourself permission to take steps forward, no matter how big or small, to experience your dreams and desires. Don’t choose to pursue what I call the Purposeless Future.

The Purposeless Future

Too many people keep their desires inside of them.  They pursue what I call the Purposeless Future. This is the future that “just happens” because people opt to stay on the hamster wheel of life rather than taking the time to develop and pursue a purposeful future that they truly desire.

The future is not a straight path forward.  Rather, there are many alternative futures. In the world of strategic foresight (futuring), we us a tool called the Cone of Possibilities to help people understand this concept.  In the cone, there are multiple futures that can be described as:

  • Preferred:  The desired future we choose to pursue
  • Possible:  The wide range of events and possibilities over the course of time
  • Plausible:  Futures that are possible but unlikely
  • Probable:  Events and future scenarios that are likely to happen
  • Purposeless:  The future that occurs without conscious intention

There are also two key assumptions about the future:

  1. There are multiple futures.  It is important to clarify your preferred future through a visioning process; however, you must also be willing to change course when necessary.  Remember, life is not simply about achieving in the future — it is also about enjoying the present. 
  2. You influence the future through your true intent.  Once you establish your preferred future, you must develop the beliefs, behaviors, mindset and actions to make it happen.  If you do not truly believe in your preferred future, you will not consciously or subconsciously pursue it with true intent.

The Power of Honest Intentions

Our honest intentions are naturally supported by our beliefs and actions; therefore, all true intent is realized.  Intentions become the outcome — they become your future. Your intentions serve as motivation and the source of actions and behaviors. Setting and pursuing false intentions can lead to a lack of interest and motivation, which typically ends in feelings of failure and self-doubt. Feelings of failure and self-doubt can seriously erode confidence and our sense of self-empowerment and success. Be genuine about your desired future and your intent to pursue it.  If you honestly and consciously establish your true intentions, your beliefs, behaviors and mindset will align to create the outcome.  

Dealing with Wild Cards

Sometimes, we experience Wild Cards — those unpredictable, unexpected and unforeseen happenings that can impact our present and future.  We might lose a job or have an unexpected health emergency. We might inherit a large sum of money or land a big client.

Wild Cards are a part of life, and we have to learn to deal with what comes our way. 

Life is Not a Straight Line

There is no straight line to any future. As leaders of our own lives, it is important to take risks, learn from the challenges and celebrate the successes. Our preferred futures may ultimately look and feel a little different than we imagined; however, they may be even better than what our minds are capable of creating!

The Pace of Change

Wild Cards are unpredictable, unexpected and unforeseen happenings that we must deal with throughout the course of our lives; however, we are also living in a time of unprecedented change.  Not only is technology evolving faster than ever – life is too.  We are living longer and experiencing careers and families differently than ever before.  We also feel like we need to always be “on” as we are constantly bombarded with the demands of life.  This is especially true for people who are creating new ways of living and working.

All of this change can feel overwhelming and cause stress that undermines your potential.  Don’t give into the hype! Change will continue to happen. The intention here is to create the positive change, and preferred future, that works best for you and your life. So, get give yourself permission to pursue your desired future!

WIN with Action!

Giving yourself permission to pursue your dream future is not about striving, working hard or struggling to make it happen.  It is about the freedom to make decisions that work best for you. This exercise is about exploring how you personally WIN, and by WIN I mean let the process feel —

W = Wild = Free, Fulfilling and Fun!  

You have the freedom to choose how to spend your life. Put your ego, external validation and the thoughts of others aside so you can be totally free and honest with yourself.   Let your transformation be guided by self-honesty, personal fulfillment joy and fun!  

I = Inspired = Explore with Energy and Excitement! 

Anytime is a great time to explore new possibilities, so pursue your desired future in a way that gives you energy and feels exciting!  If you are feeling a bit stuck, start asking yourself some questions designed to increase your self-awareness:

  • Where does your energy naturally flow? 
  • What saps your energy?
  • What do you want to let go of doing, feeling or thinking?
  • What have you always wanted to do but have not yet tried?

This should be a process of experimenting and exploring.  Remember, your true intentions will naturally lead to inspired actions. 

N = Natural= Totally You.  

Have you ever tried on a piece of clothing, looked in the mirror and thought, “Wow!  This looks amazing!” It fit perfectly and the color made your face light up naturally.  That is what the “N” in WIN should feel and be like. Write, do and explore what feels totally and completely like you.  What comes to you without thinking about it? What have you been covering up or avoiding that is begging to be set free? What comes to you naturally — without effort or striving?  What makes you feel alive and excited — taps into your intuition (that inner wisdom we all possess) and aligns with your soul?

It’s Time to WIN!

Download and complete the Permission Slip below.  Take the time to give yourself permission to consciously create your future and experience your life by taking big leaps or bold, baby steps. Do whatever you need to do to give yourself permission to WIN and pursue your desired future!

Use extra Permission Slips if you need them. After you finish giving yourself permission to take consciously create your future by intentionally taking action, share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below!  What steps did you decide to take? How did it feel? Whatever you want to share is absolutely welcome!

I look forward to hearing what you gave yourself permission to do, feel and experience to make your desired future a reality!

-Dr. Connie

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Announcing TED Masterclass: TED’s official public speaking course — TED Blog

Many of the leaders I coach and work with want to improve their public speaking skills and abilities. TED’s official public speaking course may be a great opportunity for many of you to learn from other leaders who have experienced success with their presentations. I am always looking for growth in this area as well, and the course looks like fun!

Extra Bonus! It is all done through as an app-based course, and final talks can be submitted to TED’s curators!!

Check it out to see if it is a fit for you! It may be time to go a little wild and share your ideas. Take those calculated risks that help you grow and have the potential to share your message with the world! We need more women to step up and make their voices heard!

Go Wild & Have Fun Telling Your Stories!

-Dr. Connie

We’re excited to announce the release of TED Masterclass — TED’s official public speaking course. Delivered via mobile app, the course is guided by TED’s Head Curator, Chris Anderson, and is designed to help you identify, develop and share your best ideas as a TED-style talk. Based on Anderson’s book TED Talks: The Official TED…

Announcing TED Masterclass: TED’s official public speaking course — TED Blog
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World Mental Health Day and the Power of Play

Today is a great day to celebrate the importance of mental health. While I was hosting the Rural Futures Podcast, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Howard Liu about mental health. Dr. Liu serves as the Vice Chancellor for Faculty Development at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is also the Director of Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. Even better than his training, experience and titles? Howard is a dedicated husband, father and all around super-cool human being!

Part of the interview focused on mental health disparities and shortages in rural areas; however, we also talked about the importance of fun and play for both children and adults.

I included a portion of the transcript that focuses on the importance of play and taking risks below. You can hear the entire episode by visiting the Rural Futures Podcast web site:

Rural Futures Podcast Episode 14: Psychiatrist Howard Liu intersects mental health, workforce, access

Dr. Connie:  I do a lot of work, of course on strategic foresight and futuring, but part of that is creativity, part of that is innovation. And it’s really hard for people to be creative when they’re just focusing on a to-do list and a massive amount of activity, rather than being very intentional and using discernment on what’s really important, what can you say no to, what’s maybe not in your wheelhouse, how do you engage a team around these things and create different systems that really support the ability to be creative? So many organizations say, yes, we want to be innovative, we want to really be competitive in the future. But they really aren’t designing the lives of their employees to be that way because innovation does start with the individual.

Dr. Liu: It really does. I think it does start with the individual, but I think it’s fed by the culture, or stifled by the culture.

(laughing)

Dr. Connie: No, that’s true! That is absolutely right.

Dr. Liu: And I know you’re someone that’s a futurist, and so you really think ahead, and I have no doubt that you found ways to really carve out that time. I believe in two things. As a child psychiatrist, and also as a parent of four kids myself, I think that adults often don’t take the time to play in the same way that kids do. And there’s something that, I don’t know if you grew up watching Mr. Rogers, but Mr. Rogers actually was quite a profound thinker, as it turns out, and then one thing he said is sort of like, play is the work of childhood. You really are trying things out, you’re processing things. We notice in kids who have been through traumas, well, often you’ll see in the play some of the terrible things they’re trying to work out, and what happened, and reenact, and so on.

I believe that for all adults, you have to have some time to play, but that entails two things. One is, it takes some risk, right? Because if you’re going to play, you might mess up, because you’re probably not the world’s expert in that thing, you’re sort of processing in the back of your mind, or balancing off a couple other people.

And then, second thing is then, if it’s going to be risky, you have to be ready to fail, and that’s have to be okay, right, with the organization, with your unit, with your boss, whatever, or your colleagues. And I think for a lot of people, those two things are hard, because it’s a little bit of a risk, and you don’t want to put yourself out there.

I recently read a book. It’s about the founding of Pixar, and written by Ed Catmull, the president, I believe, and it really said the manager’s job is not to prevent risks, is to make it safe to take them, and I really like that, because it makes you really think about, well, as a leader, am I stifling creativity by saying, oh, you messed up here, do better next week, or do I say something different, wow, it looks like you really put yourself out there. Maybe it didn’t work this time, but I’d love to see you keep trying new things. I think there’s different ways we can approach it, and kind of buffer that risk for our employees and our colleagues.

Dr. Connie: So the culture norm is to be so serious, and really stiff.

Dr. Liu: Right.

Dr. Connie: It’s nice to see some of that changing that, but, a lot of the high level leaders I’ve coached, that’s the thing that is missing from their lives so often, and part of coaching them is to encourage them and help them create some time, and make that time to actually play. I mean, there’s nothing more refreshing than a snowball fight with your kids, even. Go sledding, go do these things.

Dr. Liu: Yes.

Dr. Connie: They’re actually fun, or if you were a musician and you haven’t picked up your instrument, like you had mentioned earlier, for years, reengage that part of your health because it really brings out the best in you. And when I used to say that, people would look at me like, oh my gosh, she’s talking about having fun, and we’re talking about leadership and futuring and all these things, but then, it’s like it clicked, and people are like, okay, now how do I do that? Because it was really lacking from their life, but I always say fun is the fountain of creativity, but it’s also the fountain of youth.

Dr. Liu: I have this philosophy about workforce, future workforce, future people in any field, and it’s that, kinda like what you were saying, you can’t just do the routine things if you’re going to flip something, there’s not enough people in any field, right? So otherwise, in 25 years, guess what? Exact same thing, if we’re going to use this same approach. But there’s some science, and I do believe there’s some art to it as well. So my first job in this department was, the only formal title I had was to help build a psychiatry interest group, which was medical students, and there was only one in the interest group, so it wasn’t very successful.

(laughing)

Dr. Liu: But I had in my fellowship, encountered a really outstanding mentor. Her name was Dr. Paula Rauch, who’s a child psychiatrist. And when were trying to learn development, normal childhood development, she would invite all the fellows over, there were nine of us, to her house for breakfast for I think six or nine weeks. And we’d go sit around the table, and she’d serve us a very simple breakfast —just bread and peanut butter, and whatever, and we’d talk about development. And one of the things that we then did was go to see a preschool where her kids had gone to school, and then  just see what they did in their sort of all day recess. And that experience always stuck with me for two things because one is that it takes a little courage to open up your home to trainees, or to colleagues, whatever. It’s an extra step, but two was I never have forgotten it, and I think others have never forgotten it either. Many of us remember it fondly as one of the best parts of our training. And I realized that when I started here, and there’s one person going into psychiatry, and that we needed to do better than that. And so I started hosting things in my home, and we’d invite students and faculty, and you really see outside of the work environment, people really let their hair down. It’s best if they can show up in their shorts or something, and it’s casual, and they can just relax and get to know each other, and I think as the students get to know the faculty, then I think that we’re also sort of unconsciously sort of auditioning them as future colleagues. They’re looking at their lives, and sort of auditioning their lives. Is this the kind of person I want to be? Is this the kind of balance I want to pursue? And as it turns out, the latest study on why students choose psychiatry, work life integration and balance is one of the top three factors. So the only way you could show that is definitely not in your office, but by showing them that thing. Maybe it’s piano, maybe it’s something different. It needs to be something that gives them some sense of who you are outside of work.

Dr. Connie: Oh, absolutely, you get to see the real person. I mean, in so many ways, when we go to work, it’s not really a facade. I mean, I think for some people it is, but you don’t see the family that they’re raising. You don’t see who they are, or the hobbies they have. You don’t see them as a whole person. My previous position before coming to the Rural Futures Institute, I did a lot of team building at the Kimmel Education and Research Center, which is on Kimmel Orchard in Nebraska City, Nebraska. We’d have companies come and we’d do things like Iron Chef cook-offs.

Dr. Liu: That’s great.

Dr. Connie: Real active, very fun, but also very purposeful types of activities. It’s the same thing you’re saying, I mean, so often, a lot of team conflict is because people just really don’t know or understand each other outside of the meetings they sit in. So how can we break down those barriers, really understand people as people, and build that camaraderie, but also that compassion, and real like for other people. And we’re more apt to do that if we know them and appreciate who they are rather than judging who they are.

Dr. Liu: That’s really well said.

Dr. Connie: You are a leader in your space. I’d love to know more about your leadership philosophy, your style. There’s a psychologist that said, with any organization, it’s always good to be half in and half out, and what he meant by that was that if you have six different jobs, no one really feels like you’re part of that organization because you’re running around, and you’re not really present, right? And people understand that, right?

Dr. Liu: So you have to be at least half-time in, doing that thing, where people see you, they recognize what you do in that work and that kind of thing. But this goes back to your earlier point about creativity. You have to find that thing, you have passion area, and you have to carve it out. And it may not be there right away, but however you get there, that’s what’s going to create vitality for you in the workplace, is having that thing and for some people, that’s research. For some people, that’s community engagement. I really enjoy that piece, for example. For some people, it’s something different, right. It might be building infrastructure, or could be anything, publishing. But having that space to really carve that out, is so important. And then not being too committed to too many things is very important as well. So that was one principle. Another one that someone told me was, think about your portable skill set, because in a career, you may wear six, ten, many different hats, but what do you take away from each, and have you grown? And as I’ve thought about my career, I came in, again, really just as a clinician, which is a great thing, but I didn’t really know anything about leadership, and so a lot of what I’ve learned has been on the job. But I do try to be intentional about it, and try to write some things down. At some point I realized, there’s some major gaps of what I do and don’t know. I know a little bit on managing budgets, but I really don’t know about healthcare economics in the same way as someone who’s running a hospital does, and if I’m going to ever do clinical leadership, I should probably learn something about that. So for example, last year, I enrolled in an executive MBA program that’s sponsored through our hospital. Having those relationships, what Gallup would say, is the “friend at work” is so important. It’s so easy to neglect, but if you don’t have it, I really feel it So it’s the people that you can go and really debrief with, that aren’t doing it because of your role, but really, they genuinely, you like each other, that you can share your woes, and they can share theirs, that kind of thing. You can’t just create it, you have to find it. You have to carve that time out, and then you have to nurture it once you have those people. I’ve been lucky to have those people here, and it’s so important just for attention and for your own vitality as a leader.


Howard and I had a great time during the interview (I left the “laughing” element of the show notes in tact so you could literally read about the fun we had while talking).

Play and laughter need to be a bigger part of our human experience. We have forgotten not only that it feels good but that it is also good for us, our families, our communities and even our businesses!

This whole idea was the basis of creating a futuring school (F * School) for women in midlife. This creation has come from my many years of coaching clients and working with businesses who have all lost their ability to create their desired futures and engage with their world because fun is typically a distant memory. It may sound a little wild, which you all know that I am totally fine with being. The first module is going to focus on…FUN! Yes, you read that right…the first module is going to focus on the power of play and fun as the foundation for creating your future (while enjoying the present). We will explore a bit about of the science associated with the importance of fun. Then, we will get into into practical steps designed transform life through fun and fulfillment.

If you have any interest in learning to have more fun, please add your email to our list and you will be one of the first to receive the enrollment information. The fun lessons will be absolutely free! The more fun we can get out there into the world, the better!

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Enjoy yourself today and everyday, and remember to…

Go Wild & Have Fun!

-Dr. Connie

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Women Worldwide Podcast Interview with the incredible Dierdre Breakenridge

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Dierdre Breakenridge. Dierdre is a PR guru, entrepreneur, teacher, author and awesome person! Learn more about Dierdre and her work by going to her web site: https://www.deirdrebreakenridge.com/

We had a million things we could have talked about in this episode of Women Worldwide; however, we ended up talking about futuring, the importance of a vision and how to have fun while pursuing your desired future! Check out this episode Women Worldwide and join Deirdre’s mission to advance a global conversation designed to help women succeed in business and in life.

Futuring – What is it and Why Do You Need It In Your Business?

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How to Create Your Desired Future on the Leaders of Transformation Podcast

I have to admit that I was super excited to do an interview with Nicole Jansen as part of her Leaders of Transformation Podcast. We talk about the future, the importance of a vision and how work and leadership are evolving; however, my biggest moment was actually diving into my own transition! I have not said or written a lot about why and how I left a twenty-five year career to pursue my own desired future. Honestly, it has been a hard to talk about for a number of reasons. We discuss it a bit in this interview, and it felt awesome just to voice my truth as well as my new adventure in midlife!

http://leadersoftransformation.libsyn.com/276-dr-connie-reimers-hild-how-to-create-your-desired-future

Enjoy the show, and let me know what you think! I would love to know what topics you want to know more about in the future. Make sure to download the free

Start creating your desired future today by enjoy the Dream Life 2025 exercise that is mentioned in podcast! After you complete the Dream Life 2025 exercise, let me know what your desired future looks like in the comments section below!