Posted by: katiebsmith | May 23, 2013

“Voltage”

high voltage

Have you ever thought of yourself as having voltage?  Some folks call it energy, drive, chutzpah.  I believe that if we begin to view ourselves as a battery, we can stay aware of what energizes us and remember that we have to recharge ourselves regularly.  All of us thrive at different energy levels as well. What amount helps you stay in a positive frame of mind, get results and tune in to your inner guidance?

What about your teams at work – how do they maintain their drive and produce results?  Personally, engaging with others increases my voltage.  I also know that when I have alone time to do my practices, this too charges me up.  So for me, keeping the balance of inward and outward movement in my life is important to stay present and sustain a steady stream of energy that provides results.  Likewise, so much of what we do in our lives is about a dance of inner and outer ways of being.  What are your practices and how much alone time do you need to recharge, if any?  Everyone is different and we each have our own habits and rhythms that work for us.  Have you defined yours?  Has your team at work defined theirs?  And how do you begin to merge your voltage with your team’s?

One of the amazing things about working in a team environment is the energy that it generates. When people come together there is an unseen element at play that supports the whole.

So we have to stay mindful of not only what feeds us, but how to incorporate the needs of our teammates and stay aware of the whole versus just the individual players.  When we truly begin to stay present in a group and relaxed in ourselves, we can then successfully collaborate and merge with others. And this state of living creates solutions, insights and a life worth living.

So what keeps your voltage up?

Share it with me on my Facebook page.

http://www.facebook.com/KatieBSmithAssociates.

B Well,

Katie

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: katiebsmith | May 15, 2013

“B Agile”

fish fish bowl-agile

To be agile is to be flexible and open, and those qualities play a big part in learning how to navigate the current business environment.  So how agile are you and your organization?  What do you incorporate into your work schedule and your personal life that helps you flex your agility muscle? 

These are good questions to ask ourselves and our colleagues.  As the traditional business landscape continues to become more collaborative, it makes sense to assess our openness to change.  How do we allow our work environment to be in flux and embrace the changes as a sign of the new vs. the negative?  Think about yourself: are you someone who does the same thing day in and day out?  Even if you’re not, there are probably still plenty of opportunities to practice being more flexible. 

3 tips for agility:

  • Try a different coffee shop or have lunch with someone different in your office. 
  • Speak up at a meeting when you normally would not or take the initiative to work on a new project that you would normally let pass you by.
  • Start a conversation with someone new

The practice of agility is a practice of allowing ourselves to embrace fear of the new and different.  It keeps us young and fresh, stimulates the brain and makes us a conduit for new ideas. All of these qualities are a key to working and living well.

So what will you do this week to practice agility? 

Share it with me on my Facebook page.

http://www.facebook.com/KatieBSmithAssociates.

B Well,

Katie

Posted by: katiebsmith | May 13, 2013

Surrender Strategies

Image

Summer – what a great time to kick back and surrender.  The heat tends to slow everyone down a little, and with kids getting out of school this month and summer vacations around the corner, we feel a natural draw to let go and just be.  We have been taught to control the events in our lives, and certainly, managing things is a necessary part of life. Yet, do we allow time to just surrender? 

We all know that when we let go, relax and choose to surrender, we feel lighter and experience more joy in our life.  So why do we resist it? If you think of the word surrender as “letting go,” rather than giving up or admitting defeat, does it make it easier for you to accept the idea of surrendering?  In this context we build trust in ourselves and learn to let go of the situations that we can’t control.

What I know for certain is that resistance creates stress. To live a life focused on joy and relaxation instead of struggle and strain, it helps to make a daily practice of surrender.  We can choose to surrender what others think of us, surrender getting caught up in office politics, surrender to our hearts and intuition—we can choose to surrender in every moment of our day. 

Three steps to initiate surrender in your week:

1)    Observe when it is easy to surrender, and when there is resistance.  Do certain relationships, circumstances or thoughts stop you from surrendering?  Becoming more aware of letting go in those situations can help ease the resistance you feel.   

2)    Create a strategy for surrendering by deciding what helps you. For example, it could be exercise, a walk, listening to music, or reading something inspirational. 

3)    Practice putting your strategy into action by committing to it one day a week or more. Practice it until it becomes a habit and notice if you feel more relaxed.

By learning to control what we can and let go of what we can’t, we learn to have more fun, experience more joy and be more productive.

Let’s support each other in learning to surrender—share your experiences and strategies on my Facebook page.

B Well,

Katie

Posted by: katiebsmith | May 3, 2013

FUN

mandatory_fun_time

There is a belief in our society that playing is unproductive or a waste of time, and yet, isn’t playing a necessary part of feeling balanced? Bringing the elements of fun and play into our lives allows us to let go and laugh, and release the grip of tension and stress that stifles us.
Fun not only provides amusement, it is also a vital part of enjoying work and life and a positive element to include in your week. So what amuses you, makes you feel lighter or brings you joy? I invite you this month to acknowledge the magic that fun can bring into your work and life, however it looks for you.

Three steps to bring more fun into your work week:

• Have a laugh. Laughing is contagious and will engage those around you. It could be as simple as listening to the comedy channel on your way to work.

• Do something that makes you smile every week. This will keep you in a positive frame of mind and attract more clients, colleagues and opportunities.

• Pay more compliments to those around you. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. Acknowledging others makes you feel good.

Is there something fun you have wanted to do and haven’t made the time for? Scheduling fun into your weekly calendar creates a habit of lightening up, so that if things do take a downward turn, it will be easier to pull yourself up. Even simply giving yourself permission to change your routine or try something new can be fun and can give you more energy and enthusiasm for your work. You can then work more effectively and efficiently.

Let’s support each other in having weekly fun—share ideas with me on my Facebook page!

B Well,
Katie

Posted by: katiebsmith | April 24, 2013

Change

embrace-change
It is April and the change of seasons is upon us.   I tend to feel the change in my life in a very literal way. I feel myself wanting to lighten my load, from what I wear to what I eat.  What are you noticing about yourself and your life that is changing?  We have all heard that change is the only constant and yet, change is often hard to accept and move through.  I see change as an opportunity to notice shifts occurring within myself and my life, whether it is my routine, my diet, my circumstances at work or at home, a relationship, my wardrobe –you name it.  I also like to see change as a positive force in my life.  For me, it signifies that I am moving, shifting perspective, or expanding my potential.  It represents a time of opening my heart and mind to the sun, the spring air and the warmth of longer days and becoming aware of what is new.  For me, spring is an opportunity to notice all that is blooming around me and within me. 

 The only thing we can really control is ourselves and how we respond to change.  Change doesn’t have to be anxiety producing though.  When we are in the midst of change it is a great time to pause, become present with what is occurring and allow a moment to relax. 

Three ways to shift you’re thinking to help you relax in the midst of change:

  • Remind yourself that the change is a tool for keeping us nimble, open and receptive
  • Acknowledging is a vehicle for your growth and ability to trust
  • Remember the only thing you have control over is yourself, so control what you how you think about change.

When we continue living our lives in the same old pattern things can become boring and stale, which can hinder our growth.  You might surprise yourself at how easy it is to allow change to happen once you acknowledge it as a vehicle for your growth.  The more we acknowledge, allow and accept the more we trust ourselves and the unknown. And the more we trust the more joy we experience.  Struggle and strain or joy and happiness – the choice is yours.

B Well,

Katie

Posted by: katiebsmith | April 14, 2013

Acknowledgement

sticky-note-reminder image

Do you take time in your day, week or year to acknowledge the good in your life, your work and your relationships?  In the book Switch, authors Chip and Dan Heath discuss cultural change in organizations. One of the strategies they say helps companies move through change is to focus on the “Bright Spots,” which are processes, people, or things that are working well.  When you focus on what is working, you create more of it.  I have said it in the past – what you put your attention on grows. 

Likewise, it is hard to create a habit of acknowledgment in others if we are not acknowledging ourselves first.  It all starts within us.  Once we fill up our acknowledgment tank internally, we have plenty to give to others.  And let’s face it, just as it feels good to receive acknowledgement from others, it feels good to acknowledge others.

So looking at your work week, where can you begin to practice acknowledgment – first with yourself and the “bright spots” in your work environment, and then with your colleagues, boss, and the many others you encounter every day?  Try to identify one part of your day when you can speak encouraging words to yourself and then to someone else.
You might be surprised at how good it feels to shift your focus from what is not working to what working and take your thinking in a positive direction.  We seem to be a problem-focused society. 75% of the average person’s thinking is negative.   
We look for what is wrong before we look for what is working.  However, we have a choice in what we think and how we respond. So why not shift to a more positive mindset? After all, does focusing on the negative create greater ease and effortlessness?  Of course not. Maybe focusing on the positive would…worth a try, don’t you think?

As we move through the change in seasons and the changes in our business environments, experiment with acknowledging and speaking about what is working well. Put your attention there.  This may just make change that much more enjoyable and create even greater abundance of the good things in your work and in your life.

B Well,
Katie

Posted by: katiebsmith | April 8, 2013

“Leadership Challenges”

Leadership Road Sign

I recently heard author and speaker John Maxwell say that in order to be a great leader we first have to master leading ourselves. 
So what does that mean? 
Well, when you think of a great leader, what qualities do you think of?  Inspiring, committed, engaged, communicating a message, practicing what they preach. All of these have to be harnessed inside the individual before leading a team in the same way. The key elements in harnessing leadership qualities are being intentional and consistent. Intention builds the structure and the focus for what you aim to do and it sets in motion the energy for what you want to create. Consistency makes leadership a habit and it becomes your way of being in the world. It is best to start small. Think of just one thing you can do to bring value to your work environment. 

Here is an example: One thing I can do is to practice listening and stop talking.
This would look like: asking curious questions, hearing my colleague’s perspective without trying to change it. One way to begin practicing this is: meet my colleagues with a mindset of curiosity, being interested in each meeting and what I might learn about a certain project or team member; stop multi-tasking when they are talking. Observe how I experience myself and notice what the relationship and conversation reveals. Set an intention for how you want to be, start small, and be consistent in that behavior.  Imagine what this could change in you and your environment. Share it with me on my facebook page.
Let’s support each other in flexing our leadership muscle.

B Well,
Katie B.

Posted by: katiebsmith | April 1, 2013

“Obstacles as Inspiration”

I recently watched the documentary Searching for Sugarman about an American musician named Rodriguez who became famous in South Africa but was virtually unknown in the United States.  He based his life on seeing obstacles as inspiration.  With this viewpoint, he created songs that touched an incredible number of people. He honored his creative process by allowing inspiration to move through him, putting it to music, and sharing it with the masses.

I wondered what would happen if we all held this view, treating every obstacle that shows up as an opportunity to tap into inspiration.  What if we each dug deep within ourselves to find the insight that the obstacle provokes from us, and trusted ourselves enough to follow what it inspires us to create?

Rodriguez never saw his life as lacking, even as he worked as a laborer and lived in the same house for 40 years in a poor part of Detroit.  He was fulfilled because he was creating music out of the obstacles that he faced.  His music was the vehicle to share his thoughts and it allowed him to work with the obstacles instead of against them. He did not view obstacles as a personal defeat, but rather, as a contribution to the art they helped him create. Rodriguez lives a humble, simple life that is now recognized by many.  I highly recommend this film to add a little inspiration to your week.

Let me know what it ignites in you and what messages you hear in the film by sharing it with me on my Facebook page at Katie B. Smith & Associates.

B Well,                                                            

Katie B.

 

Posted by: katiebsmith | February 22, 2013

B Well Words – February 2013

Georgia O'Keefe & Katie
“Courage is a muscle—it is strengthened by its use.”
I went to see a Georgia O’Keefe exhibit for Valentine’s Day and was so moved by her real life. I had seen a documentary about her awhile ago and knew of her talent and struggles, but seeing her face and hearing about her life again struck a chord in me.
Georgia O’Keefe serves as a great reflection of the quote above in that, she walked the knife-edge of courage required for her to paint every painting. It takes courage to be a painter and a visionary. Yet it also takes courage to create anything else you want in your life—to do what you really want to do in your life and your work.
O’Keefe is known for combining abstraction with reality. Her fusion of the abstract and the real lends a unique solidarity to her paintings.
And isn’t that what we all strive to do in our lives—combine our vision with reality and transform our ideas into something solid? It takes real courage to do this and trust in your self when facing the fear that arises.
What will you do this week to invoke your courage and stand up to your fear? I would love to hear.
Share it on my Facebook page below.

https://www.facebook.com/KatieBSmithAssociates

Posted by: katiebsmith | September 4, 2012

“Working Backwards”

One thing I see over and over with small business owners is that they don’t start with the goal in mind. In order for us to create the revenue, customers, products, and growth for our businesses, we have to envision how we want it to look when we are done.  If we create a mental picture of the end result we want to achieve, we can then begin to clarify the steps needed to get there. I call these “baby steps.” The baby steps are the action items we need to do or delegate to reach the goal.  Baby steps make the process less overwhelming and more manageable.

Here are some steps to consider when laying out your business goals:

  1. Divide your goals into categories; marketing/networking, clients & services, business operations, business finances, skills and personal growth, attitude and outlook
  2. Write at least three goals under each category that you want to achieve in the next year
  3. List three baby steps under each goal
  4. Break this into 4 different plans for each quarter of the year

You now have a map of where to direct your energy, time and resources based on the goals you need to achieve for the quarter that will lead to the goals you have set for the year.  Have this plan in a place in your office where you see if often and review it at the end of each quarter.

These steps will help you hold yourself accountable for making your business goals reality.

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