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Goal Setting: Get Ready for a Puposeful 2013

January 31st, 2013 by Sherry Collier

Do you want to live a more meaningful and successful life in 2013?
Set goals for your life, your relationships, and your work or
business to increase your odds of success in each category.  Before
you set goals, it is important to take a look back to find out what
worked, what didn’t work, and if you accomplished what you wanted
to accomplish.

Creating effectiveness in life, love, and work comes from getting
conscious about where you have been, where you are, where you are
headed, and how to get there.  In other words – taking a personal
inventory and goal setting is a vital part of creating a productive
life.  Why should you bother to spend time and energy on assessing
the past year and setting goals for the coming year?  If you are
passionate about accomplishing specific missions or goals in your
life, relationships, and your work or business, you must take the
time to understand the past and plan for the future.  Achieving
excellence requires planning and mindfulness.

When you set a goal, it gets your whole being (mind, body, spirit)
pointed in a specific direction.  Your human psyche must know how
to organize itself to take you where you want to go much like an
arrow must be pointed toward the target that the archer wants it to
hit. Without goals you may remain hazy and unsure about what you
are doing and where you are headed which leads to aimlessly
wandering from activity to activity.  Follow in the footsteps of
many successful business owners, ministry-leaders, pastors, and
other leaders who set aside specific times throughout the year to
set goals, analyze what needs to be tweeked, and make plans too
accomplish the most important goals.

Taking An Inventory

Step One:  Before you even begin to set goals for the upcoming
year, it is imperative to sit down and write out your thoughts and
feelings about the past year and what you have or have not
accomplished.  Get out some paper ( do not type this on the
computer as the act of writing is cathartic in and of itself), sit
down in a quiet room and divide your paper up into three
categories:  Life, Love (Relationships) and Work.  You can dedicate
one whole piece of paper to each category or use a huge sheet of
paper with three columns.

Step Two:  Start with your “Life” category.  Looking back over the
past year, what was your life’s purpose or mission?  Based on what
you accomplished spiritually, physically, and emotionally – what
message did your life send out to the world, how did it measure up
to God’s calling?  What do you remember about the beginning of last
year and what you thought your life would/should look like in 2011?

Write down how that came to pass or how it missed the mark.  If
your life missed the mark in certain areas – get specific about
what got off track and make notes about what you think you should
avoid as you prepare to set goals for your life in 2012.

Step Three:  Moving on to your “Love” category – look over your
relationships from the past year.  Write down how you impacted all
your relationships:  parents, children, spouses, significant
others, siblings, friends, co-workers, employees,
ministry-partners, business partners, etc.  Grade yourself with a
simple 1 – 10 numeric system for your satisfaction with each
relationship (1 would be not satisfied at all, 10 would be very
satisfied).  Be sure to approach this from the perspective of how
YOU performed in the relationship (since you cannot do anything
about how they performed).   Write out specific thoughts, feelings,
and actions you remember going through with each significant
relationship and what might have caused some of these.

Step Four:  Now take a look at the “Work” or “Business” category of
your life over the past year.  Have you participated in a career, a
business that you own, or a job?  Write about the different aspects
of your work or business and what you liked, what you didn’t like.
Write about what went well, what didn’t go well.  Write down new
talents or strengths you used or developed and what weaknesses came
to the forefront.  What specific roles, tasks, technical
procedures, and/or aspects did you enjoy?  What parts of your work
self need further development?

Step Five:  Wrap up this inventory exercise by reading it all out
loud to yourself and summing up each category with one main theme
phrase or several descriptive words and a numeric rating of your
personal satisfaction in each category over the past year.  For
example, as you look over what your life stood for during the past
year you might write, “Mother, Wife, Encourager, Supporter” and
then an “8” if you were pretty satisfied about how your life
manifested these themes.

You’re work with your inventory has now reached a stage that you
can set it aside for a full day (sleep on it) and let this
information soak into the deeper layers of your consciousness.
Keep these notes handy because you will be using them as you sit
down in your next “session” to begin the important work of looking
toward the new year.

My next article will teach you a simple way to effectively set
goals for the new year based upon what you learned during your 2011
inventory.

Happy New Year!

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Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone: Five Tips

June 19th, 2012 by Sherry Collier

You’ve heard it before, “move out of your comfort zone” is the familiar phrase spoken by many entrepreneurs, gurus and mentors. As a therapist and small business owner, I’ve come to appreciate the sage advice to move beyond my comfort zone in business, relationships, and life.  When it came time for me to launch out into private practice, I had to move through some pretty intense fears related to income security, fears of failure, and concerns about making good decisions all on my own, but I understood that fear should not be allowed to determine how you go about life.

Fast forwarding to the present moment, I now own my own practice as a therapist helping clients move through relationship and emotional limitations and as a small business coach helping other healing practitioners and creative types start and grow the business of their dreams. I am privileged to help others find and live out their God-given life purposes in all areas of their life and I am working the way I’ve always wanted.  Even so, I find that I have to continually fight the human urge to keep things safe and comfortable.  Keeping things safe and comfortable is a sure recipe for no growth, fewer rewards, and stagnation, so I have to make a conscious effort to push myself beyond my comfort zone each and every day to enjoy spiritual, emotional, and financial growth.

Don’t let yourself stagnate, push yourself out of comfort zones in all areas of life.
Here are 5 tips to help you step outside your comfort zone and into the adventure and success zone:

1. Change your thoughts – Everyone struggles with limiting thought patterns from time to time, but because thoughts drive feelings and behavior, it is important to learn to harness those negative thoughts and replace them with more reality-based, positive thoughts. It is absolutely true that when we choose to pay attention to the positive aspects of life this thought pattern orients our mind-body system toward success-inviting behaviors.

Start by examining those pesky little “what if” questions that creep into our minds. Questions like, “What if I allow myself to be vulnerable and emotionally invest in this relationship but discover that it won’t work?” or  “What if I open up my own office and can’t get enough business to pay the rent?”. These are the kind of fear-based questions that will keep you in your comfort zone. Harness those questions and replace them with positive “what if” questions. “What if I open up emotionally in this relationship and it frees up the other person to feel better about connecting with me?” or “What if spoke at an association meeting and was able to communicate my passion about my work?”

2. Move through fear with action. Use your fears to challenge yourself to new heights. The best antidote to fear is taking action. Take an adventurous approach to anything you fear. Are you afraid to fly on airplanes and as a result, keep missing out on family vacations?  Talk to a counselor, coach, or friend and then do it – step on to that airplane and breathe deeply while you fly to your next awesome family vacation.  Are you afraid to invest time, energy and money into a business idea you’ve had for a long time?  Get some objective advice about best business practices for your idea and then step out in faith.  Are you afraid to speak in front of groups? Perhaps you could join Toast Masters and learn how to speak in a group where everyone else is also learning.

The crazy thing about fear is that it is an emotion that is rarely based in truth. Fear is generally based on cognitive distortions – thoughts that are skewed in deceptive ways.  Don’t let some distorted version of reality stop you from making gains, start taking actions and move through the fear.

3. Picture yourself reaching that next level of success. The brain can more easily create new neural pathways when we engage as many of the senses as possible, so create a mental movie that is rich in details. What would it look like when you reach that major goal? What kinds of sights, smells, tastes and feelings will you experience once you reach that goal? Take a few 5 minute breaks throughout the day to relax with deep breaths and run your mental movie. The more you picture yourself accomplishing your goal, the more likely you are to move out of your comfort zone to create the new thoughts and behaviors needed to succeed.

4. Take up a hobby or sport that moves you out of your comfort zone. Some people go sky-diving or wind-surfing to provide them the opportunity to experience the mind-body feeling state of doing something new and conquering fear. You do not necessarily need to take up a high-risk hobby or sport to move out of the comfort zone. You could try something as simple as hiking a little longer or higher than usual, taking a sculpting class, painting a picture without being concerned with the outcome or joining a community softball team.

The emotional and mental experience of trying a new hobby or sport will translate to an expanded vision for your life, your relationships, and your career/business. Your brain will grown new neural networks as you try new things and experience new feeling states which will result in growing your ability to try new approaches, think new thoughts, and attempt new ways of doing things in all areas of life.

5. Invest money into your personal development.  When times are tight, our knee-jerk reaction is to tend to cut back on classes, coaching, or counseling.  Instead of giving in to the temptation to slash growth-producing spending, find some savvy ways to invest in your personal development.  This will signal your own psyche that you value yourself as a wonderfully created being and that you have faith in yourself to grow to new heights in life, love and work.

If you need help moving out of your comfort zone, consider investing in counseling, business or career coaching, mentoring, or consult an objective person who will help you set new goals and reach for the stars.  Make this phrase your life mantra, “Feel the fear, and do it anyway!”

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Measure What You Treasure

June 13th, 2012 by Sherry Collier

I recently read a phrase that said, “measure what you treasure” in an article about goal setting in business.  I am not a logic-based analytical type – I prefer the creativity and imaginative aspects of right-brained business activities, so I’m not prone to measuring anything.  I am learning the extreme importance, however, of measuring things […]

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Take Charge Of Your Own Economy: Start A Business

May 7th, 2012 by Sherry Collier

Rhine-stoning crafters, web-designers, therapists, nutritionists and archery instructors are just some examples of businesses that some of my clients have launched.  In almost all these cases, there was a hard-working woman who wanted to change her work situation so that she could have more control over her own schedule, more flexibility to care for her […]

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Overcome Overwhelm: 5 Steps to Renew Your Mind

April 17th, 2012 by Sherry Collier

You know that frantic feeling that comes when you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it all?  The brain seems to be in a fog, unable to prioritize and put things in order.  Then you spin out and shut down – crumpled up on your couch with a huge […]

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Overcome Your Fear of Failure

March 26th, 2012 by Sherry Collier

Fear can be both a helpful response and a hindering response in life depending upon what kind of fear is occurring and how you respond to it. When you are growing up, fear played an important role in teaching you not to touch a hot stove or run into traffic. Later in life, those same […]

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Excellent People Skills Means Business Success

February 20th, 2012 by Sherry Collier

If you are in business, then you ARE in the people business.  No matter what service or product you sell, ultimately this will be sold to people.  It follows that if you know how to have healthy and mutually fulfilling relationships with your client or customers, you will have more success in business.   I […]

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Ten Key Attributes of Successful Entrepreneurs

January 20th, 2012 by Sherry Collier

There are entrepreneurs who have seemed to have all the luck in the world – launching products, services or businesses at just the right time (filling a need) and in just the right way with key people who have been instrumental in supporting these successful launches.  I don’t call it luck, however, I do believe […]

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Five Tips for Heart-Centered Solopreneurs

January 9th, 2012 by Sherry Collier

As a heart-centered solopreneur, I am always looking for ways to be of service to my clients and to make a difference for good in the world.  For heart-centered solopreneurs who tend to be healers, creative types, and service providers it can be difficult to navigate the real world of business and profitablity. While heart-centered […]

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Renew Your Bigger Purpose: Recharge Your Life and Business

December 19th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

If you run your own business then you know how run down you can feel from time to time.  When the economy seems to be stacked against you and you feel like you are running on the hamster wheel of your own business, it is time for an intervention. Remember when you first started your […]

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