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

 

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

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

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!

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

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