Honoring Our Veterans: THANK YOU!

Thanks to all who have served and are currently serving. Also, a BIG thanks to your families.  It is a privilege to honor our Veterans.

I especially want to thank my Father-in-Law.  He served in the Navy during the Korean War.  Ken was a great man who was proud of his service.  He also enjoyed being an active member of the Legion.  I thought of him when I heard Taps earlier today.  We miss you Kenny!

I would not be able to post to this blog or express my opinions without the freedom so many of us enjoy (and take for granted) in this great country. May we always value the sacrifice and service of those who make this country great.

Let freedom ring!

-Dr. Connie

Happiness Ignites Innovation

Happiness can be a grand challenge for all of us, especially in an culture where ageism is very real.

According to Dictionary.com ageism is a noun meaning:

  1. discrimination against persons of a certain age group.
  2. a tendency to regard older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment.

I spoke about hope and happiness at the 2015 Rural Futures Conference, and I used Project Have Hope as a reference to illustrate my point.  In Uganda, women of all ages are making beautiful pieces of jewelry out of paper.  I found the necklace I am wearing in the photo when visiting the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN.  These fantastic women are putting their entrepreneurial skills to work!  Not only are there actions empowering women in the present, they are fostering success for future generations.  They are empowering themselves and their families.  The women in Uganda are leaders.

Project Have Hope was started by another female leader, Karen Sparacio, who is an entrepreneurial photojournalist.  Karen decided to give back by taking action.  You can find out more about Karen and her work by visiting photosbykisp.com.

Do I think agesim is real?  Yes.  Do I think we can do something about it?  Absolutely!  Did I pause before posting the page out of the conference proceedings?  Yes. Why?  Because it is real, and I can visibly see that I am getting older.  It’s not an easy thing, especially in a culture that values youth and devalues age.  But, I also know that I need to stay positive, practice gratitude and keep moving!  I have learned a lot through the years, including the fact that it takes a village to do so many things, ranging from raising children to growing businesses and communities.  At the Rural Futures Institute, we are committed to changing the rural conversation to one of challenge to one of opportunity.  We also want to connect people and communities to opportunities!  This conversation must include women of all ages, including those that are older than 40.

Happiness ignites innovation.  Check out the Project Have Hope video below and then think about the challenges you typically hear about aging.  Look the extraordinary  attitudes the women in the Acholi Quarter of Uganda have and how much action they are taking because they have hope.

We just celebrated the 4th of July in the United States, which serves as a reminder that we are free to choose our attitudes and actions.   You are free to decide how you live your life at any age and any stage.  So, let me know.  What inspired, hopeful actions are you taking?

Go Wild with Hope, Happiness and Inspired Action!

-Dr. Connie

 

Project Have Hope – Acholi Quarter, Uganda from Katie Kaizer on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 

4th of July Gratitude!

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays!  I love the fireworks, food and time with family.  I am also grateful  to be free!!

In the United States of America, we have the best gift of all: Freedom.  Many men and women have sacrificed their lives and families to protect our freedom.

Cherish your freedom.  Respect your freedom.  Use it wisely.

Remember, we have the freedom to decide how to live our lives every single day.  You have the power to live in the present while creating your desired future.

Enjoy all the fun that the fourth has to offer; however, make time to thank veterans, active military personnel, and their family members whenever possible.  We all owe them all a deep debt of gratitude!

Go Wild with Fun on the 4th of July!

-Dr. Connie

The Future of Women & Megatrend 3: The Decentralized Global Marketplace

Business is in the age of the “Empowered Consumer” who has a buffet of buying choices. Empowered consumers decide how they want to purchase goods and services. Big Data [collecting information (data) from multiple sources to detect trends, identify patterns and make decisions] is one tool that can be used to develop marketing campaigns, study human behaviors and determine patterns. It is also being used to examine and redesign various areas of the consumer experience.

Entrepreneurs and leaders can use Big Data to capitalize on consumer patterns and demands while creating more customized consumer experiences. Data is collected with every click, and some metrics can be used almost immediately. In 2014, Black Friday was November 28. Data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Black Friday Report was available almost immediately and was published on December 2, 2014. According to IBM, online Black Friday sales grew by 9.5 percent from 2013 to 2014. Retail ecommerce (orders via computer) and mcommerce (orders via mobile device) are predicted to increase by double-digit margins well into 2018 (eMarketer, 2014). Data demonstrates the continued growth of the digital marketplace, and rural businesses must find ways to capitalize on these trends.

The world is fast-becoming an “Add to Cart” society for anything and everything. Individuals are creating local, national and global communities of meaning and change that are self-selected and self-formed. Many of these same individuals are transforming commerce and communities in new and innovative ways.   The definition of community is not limited to a physical location. Technology, combined with the need for meaning, self-expression and self-actualization, has created an increasingly decentralized marketplace.

People are choosing how to meet virtually, and when, where and whether or not to meet face-to-face. They are also connecting around common causes. Commerce, along with so many other areas of life, is becoming increasingly decentralized. Savvy consumers seek and create value they crave to transform their lives. Technology enables the delivery of information, goods and services anytime, anywhere, and from anyone in a way that makes sense while adding value to the lives of consumers.

For example, companies like Stitch Fix (http://www.StitchFix.com) initially get to know their customers with a personal style quiz and continue to gather information about the clientele every month by sending them personalized clothing selections. Orders are delivered to clients and customers pay only for what they keep. Stitch Fix tracks the feedback on likes and dislikes after every shipment and learns how to better serve its customers with the data it continuously collects.

Consumer demands are shaping the marketplace and future trends. Empowered consumers want unique experiences that add value to their lives. Future-focused leaders and entrepreneurs who ask and answer not, “What is the lifetime value of a customer?” but rather, “What value can we add to a lifetime?” will be in a better position to compete in the increasingly decentralized marketplace.

Coaching Tips for Female Entrepreneurs and Leaders:

  • Connect and work together online and offline. Build your support network to generate ideas and get help growing your business.  The most successful entrepreneurs and leaders help one another.  I see this all of the time with authors too!  They promote one another while helping each other grow their businesses and ideas.
  • Get rid of assumptions and use data to make decisions. Take a few ideas from places having success in the marketplace, such as Stitch Fix.

Future-Focused Entrepreneurs and Leaders:  

Take Action with Cooperation, Creativity and Purpose

Interestingly enough, the hottest jobs at Facebook require a “human touch.” Why? Facebook is looking for people who can close sales because its revenue relies heavily on ads (Anders, 2014). Perhaps the most future-focused entrepreneurial leaders are blending “high human touch” with “high-tech” in new and interesting ways that holistically add value to the lives of others.

Future-focused, entrepreneurial leaders can use megatrends and technology to change the game of life. One person cannot do it alone in a world that continues to change at an increasingly rapid pace; rather, rural entrepreneurs should innovate in communities with a spirit of cooperation, creativity, and purpose. Together, with a common purpose, female entrepreneurs and leaders can examine megatrends, utilize emerging technologies, and monitor analytics while creating meaningful experiences and innovating rural businesses in ways not yet imagined.

Go Wild with the Decentralized Global Marketplace!   Watch the video below for more details on how you can innovate your companies and communities with cooperation, creating and purpose!

-Dr. Connie

PS:  Share your thoughts, ideas and actions with the Ask Dr. Connie community.  We would love to hear from you!

 

The Future of Women & Megatrend #2: Living with Purpose and Meaning

The tools and technologies that help people create their own businesses and design their lives in ways that best suit them, are also fueling Megatrend #2:  Living with Purpose and Meaning. Purposeful living is shaping everything from healthcare to education.

Our society is quickly evolving into an era characterized by shared purpose and meaning. Personal fulfillment is a growing trend in business and entrepreneurship. People are looking to decrease their levels of stress and strengthen their healthy habits while finding greater fulfillment.

Ben & Jerry’s is an example of a company that integrates purpose and meaning into its core existence by creating “linked prosperity” for everyone involved with the business. The company supports “linked prosperity” by establishing and aligning social, product and economic missions (benjerry.com/values).

The Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend will continue to grow as the global population increases and places more demands on the planet’s limited natural resources. What does this mean for female entrepreneurs? They may be able to grow by connecting to people through purpose and meaning. Technology may be one way future-focused entrepreneurs can holistically add more purpose and meaning to the lives of both clients and employees.

For example, a forecast by Carbone and Nauth in The Futurist (2012) describes the evolution of the “cloud” from a repository or information to an intelligent resource that can help make decisions and provide assistance. They discuss the cloud evolving from a place to store data to an intelligent resource that will actively help people improve their lives:

Virtual agents will migrate from being an automated form of phone-based customer service to a personalized form of support and assistance that provides information and—more importantly—performs useful tasks. For example, such agents might design a weekly menu based on a family’s health profile, fitness goals, and eating preferences, and automatically order ingredients.

Weekly Menu

This forecast provides an example of how entrepreneurs can use technology to help their organizations innovate with a focus on the future. A transition from cloud-based computing to cloud-based living and learning is an opportunity for female entrepreneurs to create new profit centers and customer experiences while strengthening employee engagement in a more holistic manner.

Three trends supporting the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend include: 1) minimalism, 2) life increasingly flowing together instead of being compartmentalized into work, family, recreation, etc., and 3) the quest for greater well-being, health and vitality.

Minimalism is one of the trends shaping the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend because people are seeking less stuff and more life. Trend-setting places like the Silicon Valley have embraced minimalism, and this approach to living is influencing everything from living spaces, to workplaces and web design.

People are increasingly learning and living on the go in both the virtual and physical senses, which blurs the lines between family, self-care, work and play. Research has demonstrated that happiness is a precursor to success. These findings question the view that hard work will lead to success, which eventually leads to happiness. Raising levels of positivity in the present creates a “happiness advantage” in the brain, leading to better outcomes in the areas of education, business and well-being.  To learn more, check out Shawn Achor’s 2011 TED Talk:  The Happy Secret to Better Work.

How do these trends influence entrepreneurship? As more people want to connect with their purpose, find meaning in their lives, and increase their vitality, businesses and communities should take a more people-centered approach focused on meaning, well-being and the mind-body connection, supported by the right social networks, experiences and technologies. A few ideas might include:

  • Integrating holistic, healthy living and self-care principles into business practices in an effort to create better employee and customer experiences and to create more value in products and services.
  • Providing coaching for employees to help them uncover their purpose and to create strategies and structures to support meaningful actions designed to improve their careers and lives.
  • Adding physical activity and fun into the workday in an effort to stimulate creativity, decrease stress, build camaraderie and strengthen overall wellness. 

It’s time to focus on the whole person and what life means to each individual. Helping people find their fulfillment, purpose and definition of success may provide future-focused leaders and entrepreneurs with tools to innovate their organizations and communities. Businesses should find new ways to add increased value to the lives of customers, employees and families. People can choose where they want to work, shop and live. They also choose how to invest their time and money. Businesses that add the most value, including those in rural areas, will have the competitive advantage.

Coaching Tips for Female Entrepreneurs:

  1. Develop a clear purpose. Clarity of purpose creates a meaningful path to success. A great coaching tool to use: Create a vision board with your “why” in mind.
  2. Define core values. A business should develop core values that truly represent its brand. Empowered consumers connect with brands and businesses that have core values similar to their own. Outline the core values of your business and what each value means. A great strategic plan can evolve from clear core values. Create visual images for each value and make your values public. Share them with world. They help tell your story.
  3. Make self-care a priority. Physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being are all important. Successful entrepreneurs and their teams need time for creativity and a lot of energy to grow their ventures!
  4. Get positive. A positive mindset has been scientifically proven to support everything from creativity and innovation to increased sales and employee engagement.  If you need more help learning how to be more positive, begin coloring your way to happiness with Blue the Bee Learns to Be Happy! (Reimers-Hild and Wetizenkamp, 2015).

Blue the Bee Cover

  1. Practice gratitude. Keep a physical or digital journal and write in it daily.  Writing down 3-5 things you are grateful for everyday will help your brain focus on the positive while helping your notice new opportunities!
  2. Share the stories that enhance the brand with your team and your customers. Use social media platforms to create and present meaningful content worth reading and sharing. People connect with experiences and stories behind the products and services they use!
  3. HAVE FUN! Fun is absolutely invaluable. It decreases stress and improves relationship. Fun is also a foundation to creativity and innovation.  This is an area I expand upon in my first book, Go Wild with Confidence! (Reimers-Hild, 2013).

Check out the video below focusing on Megatrend 2:  Living with Purpose and Meaning.  And, let us know what you are doing to improve your life.

Go Wild with Your Future! And, as always-Be YOU and Do Something Cool!

-Dr. Connie

To Change Yourself, Change Your World (and Your Brain)

Science can help people stick to their goals.  I posted a SMARTER Intentions coaching guide on Ask Dr. Connie on December 31, 2015 to help people set their true intentions for 2016.  If you are already struggling a bit, brain science offers a little help!

Kira Newman, from the University of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, suggests changing your environment.  Newman suggests some simple tips, and I added a few more of my own.  The real goal here is to create new habits and behaviors that will ultimately influence your subconscious mind.

A few key takeaways from the article:

Map your goals and support your transformational journey by using the following techniques:

  1.  Add goals and reminders to your calendar and keep them posted where you can see them.  Newman notes that 10% of people forget their resolutions, so consistently keep them in front of you!
  2. Steer clear of temptation.  Notice obstacles and roadblocks that get in your way and move them!
  3. Surround yourself with inspiration (and I would add others who have the same mindset).  Create living and working spaces (I also have to add social networks to this list)  that fuel your soul and your goals.  Use cues that you see and hear throughout the day.  Newman suggests finding a piece of jewelry that holds meaning to you.  I have used this idea for years!  I wear a ring with a large, light blue stone that reminds me to play big and follow my dreams each and every day.

In addition to surrounding yourself with great people, or your social networks, I have to add another coaching tip:  Celebrate Your Success!  Many of us women over 40 are extremely busy and rarely take the time to recognize and celebrate our progress.  Get creative and do something for you!  Celebrating your success will keep you motivated and energized while helping you stay connected to your purpose.

Get the details from Kira Newman, editor and web producer at the Greater Good Science Center online: To Change Yourself, Change Your World

If you missed the SMARTER Intentions Coaching Guide on December 31, 2015, you can download it here:  

AskDrConnie.com 2016 SMARTER Intentions Coaching Guide 12.31.15

Happy New Year

SMARTER Intentions and Authentic Goals: A Coaching Guide from AskDrConnie.com

All true intent is realized.  This simple yet profound truth is usually overlooked when people set goals.  If you really don’t intend to lose 15 pounds (you just want to lose weight without really trying), then don’t set a goal around weight loss.  New Year’s resolutions are often short-lived because they are not true intentions.  I am a believer in setting intentions, so I developed a coaching tool to help people set SMARTER Intentions rather than soulless goals.

What we truly intend will happen. Actions support honest intentions; therefore, all true intent is realized. Intentions become our outcomes. Intentions influence our actions and behaviors. If intentions are established with awareness, truth, and meaning, they help us experience a life filled with passion and personal fulfillment. Lack of understanding around our true intentions often causes frustration and confusion, which is one reason people oftentimes do not achieve their goals. Many goals are written; however, they are not established with honest intent. It’s time to get brutally honest about your true intentions so you can achieve authentic goals.

Intentions have the power to strengthen your Inner Leader and help you move forward in a meaningful way as long as they represent what you truly want to accomplish and experience. Honest intentions, based on personal fulfillment and purpose, can also keep you motivated and focused while measuring progress and celebrating success.

What we truly intend will happen, so I encourage my coaching clients to create SMARTER Intention Statements that support their personal vision. So, what exactly are SMARTER Intentions? They are statements designed to help you achieve your vision while holding your accountable and having some fun along the way because they are Super Cool, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound, Evolved, and Rewarded.  If you are looking to start the new year with authenticity, download my free SMARTER Intentions Coaching Guide to set your true resolutions for 2016:

AskDrConnie.com 2016 SMARTER Intentions Coaching Guide 12.31.15

Looking to kick-start 2016 with a supportive network of women?  Join me and a group of amazing female leaders at Whispering Pines Bed and Breakfast for New You and [Re]New You:  A Women’s Retreat.  This amazing immersion experience is designed to help women who are looking to reinvent themselves in 2016.  We will work together to uncover your true intentions and chart a course for an amazing 2016 and beyond.  The weekend will be full of great activities ranging from painting and yoga to cooking classes, visioning and coaching.  Join us for a fabulous weekend focused on the future of you!  Contact Whispering Pines Bed and Breakfast to register today!  Click on the image below to learn more and register for the retreat.  Whispering Pines Bed and Breakfast

Go Wild with Your True Intentions and Have a Happy New Year!!

-Dr. Connie

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

 

It has been a full week!  One of the big events:  Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.

The Tweet by Melissa Stewart connected me to the story behind Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.  Wendy Diamond, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Founder and CEO, started Women’s Entrepreneurship Day with great passion and purpose. She is giving women a global voice.  To learn more, read the article published in Fortune about Wendy Diamond:

 

Remember to support women owned businesses when holiday shopping.  Let’s keep the movement going!

Let our team at AskDrConnie know what women-owned businesses you are supporting this holiday season and throughout the year in the comment area below.

Go Wild with Women’s Entrepreneurship!

-Dr. Connie