Give Thanks in All Situations?

Fall LeavesAs I am writing this, we are in the wonderful week when we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving in the United States.  It is great opportunity to gather with friends and family and give thanks for things in our lives.  It is one of my favorite holidays.

These past few months, I have been focusing on giving thanks more of the time, not just around the Thanksgiving holiday.  This was sparked by a Bible verses that has caught my attention…the one that encourages us to “give thanks in all things.”  Can you really give thanks in ALL situations?  This was a very thought-provoking idea to me.

I understand the first part about giving thanks, but the second part always seemed strange to me…how could it be true that we should give thanks in ALL things?  What about the things that seem like failures? What about the circumstances we don’t like and wish we could change?  What about challenging people and business situations?  Give thanks for these things?  It just seemed a bit crazy to me.

But then I thought, “What if it wasn’t just an error in the translation and it was actually what was really meant by the verse?  What if I try it and see what happens…like an experiment?”  So, that is what I have been doing in recent months and it has really been transforming my perspective in many ways…in both my business and my personal life.

Even though it felt very strange at first, I did it as a practice or an experiment, out of my commitment to do it.  It was purely a decision, an act of the will, even if my feelings didn’t match up with the words.  A friend suggested that I walk around for a day or two mentally saying “thanks” for everything that happened…for the happy things, the frustrating things, for the big things, and for the little things.  Just to begin the process.

After just a couple of days of this I noticed that, it became a little bit easier to do it. Even thought I didn’t always see how the circumstances were something to be thankful for, I did it anyway.  I began to be curious and to wonder about how the specific thing or situation might actually be a blessing in some way, even if it wasn’t clear to me at the time.  Just thinking about this seemed to help ease whatever frustration or upset I might be feeling about the situation.

And later, I noticed that I was starting to actually feel more sincere in offering my thanks, even for the “challenging” or “difficult” things.  I have begun to trust that there may actually be a hidden blessing there, even if I couldn’t see it.  Or to say a little prayer asking that the situation be used in some way for good.

I’m still not perfect in my practice of giving thanks in all situations.  I still sometimes have to remind myself to do it, especially for tough situations.  And it is often not my first thought in a situation, but I find that the “thanks” often follows pretty soon after. Two benefits seem to happen.  When a situation seems to be negative, offering thanks for it seems to ease some of the negative emotion from the experience.  And, when the situation was something positive, I noticed that giving thanks seemed to expand my good feelings.  Pretty cool!

Want to join me in this experiment?  I’d love to know your thoughts and your experiences with this, and I invite you to leave a comment below.  And I want you to know that, yes, I am very thankful for you, for your friendship, for your business, for reading this, for walking on the journey together.  Have a wonderful blesssed Thanksgiving!



Buying A Computer

Women in field with laptopI was talking with a business colleague this week.  She’s thinking about buying a computer soon.  Like most of us, this is not something she does very often.  And with the changes in computer technology, she wasn’t sure how to best approach the task.  I shared some ideas with her and I thought you might like to see those tips too.

One of the first things I suggested is that she talk with several people in her life who are fairly computer savvy, especially people who have purchased a computer in the last year or two.  Ask them where they bought their computer, what type they bought and what they like or don’t like about it now.  Consider their opinions but remember that it is just their perspective.  You’ll probably begin to see some common ideas emerge.

When choosing the type of computer, consider buying a laptop computer rather than a desktop computer.  For business, it is great to have the portability of a laptop.  You will be able to work just about anywhere…on the kitchen table, in your office, at the coffeeshop, at a client’s office, or at the conferences you attend.  Today’s laptops are full-powered computers, and for most of us, a laptop is able to do all of the business tasks we need it to do.

Consider buying a good brand of laptop.  This is where advice from someone knowledgeable about computers can be helpful.  But, regardless of the brand, you generally don’t need a super expensive computer.  These days, you can get a very functional computer for $500 or less.  Unless you are doing some type of highly specialized computer work in your business, $500 will buy plenty of computer capacity.  In fact, there is some benefit in NOT buying a super expensive computer. You’ll keep your expenses down.  And if something happens to it, there is less financial loss.

Consider using some type of cloud storage rather than storing document and photos on your computer.  Dropbox is a good resource.  When you create a Word document, for example, save it to your Dropbox account rather than saving it on your computer. This will enable you to access that document from any computer, just by logging in to your Dropbox account.  You can even access it from your smart phone or your iPad, when you have Dropbox installed on those devices.  Very handy!

Finally, consider saving for a second laptop, to be purchased a year or two after the first one. Then, when something happens to your computer, such as needing to be in the shop for repairs for several days or weeks, or you have a hard-drive crash, you will still be able to function.  You will have a working laptop and your files and documents are accessible in Dropbox, not lost with the dead hard drive or unavailable on the computer that is in the shop. This has saved me a lot of time and trouble and I would love for you to have that same benefit in your business.

What other tips would you offer to a business colleague who is thinking about buying their next computer?  I’d love for you to leave your ideas and suggestions in a comment below!





Choose Your Business

This was Election Week in the United States. It was a great opportunity to exercise the US Flag and Friendsright to vote for things that matter to you, things that impact your family and your community and your business.

One of the challenges of Election Day is making time to vote, finding the correct place to cast your ballot, and knowing whom or what you are going to vote for.

You can “vote for your business” too. You choose your business when you focus on issues that matter and choose the ones that you can address. You have to carve out time to take the actions. And you choose your business when you find the place or places where are the right places to go in your community to be part of the process. You can’t just stay at home and hope things will happen.

When you vote, you have an opportunity to make a difference in your local or state or even national “community.” With your business, you can often make a much more direct impact.  You can do this with every person you meet, every client you help, and every article or blog post you write.

I hope you were able to vote this week, if it was an election day in your community. And I hope that you will “cast your vote” every day: choose your business, your
customers, and for your community by making choices and taking action to grow your business and to make your skills and services and products available in the marketplace.  Because, as your business is successful, you help make a positive difference in the world, as much or maybe even more than when you cast your vote in your local elections!

Business Retreats – A Great Way to Grow Your Business!

I’ve jus2014-06-22 13.13.29-1t returned from a business retreat with my mentor Connie Ragen Green, in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. It was a great opportunity to take some time away from my usual location and routine and to focus on “the big picture” for my business.  You will find many benefits from participating in business retreats. I’ll share some with you here as I describe this experience.

This particular business retreat was with a small group of my business colleagues, with my business mentor, held at the charming Hotel Santa Barbara. We started each day with a business session in one of the meeting rooms at the hotel, to focus on core business concepts that would help us to grow our businesses. During the course of the retreat, each of us also had a private coaching session with our mentor as well, to develop a clear action plan for our next 90 to 180 days after the retreat.

Santa2014-06-22 12.40.58 Barbara is a beautiful place with mild weather and tropical breezes. There is a gorgeous waterfront with sandy beaches and a huge marina. And the town is filled with many buildings constructed with white stucco walls and red tile roofs. There were wonderful flowers and trees everywhere because of the mild climate.

I was so glad that we didn’t spend all of our time in the hotel…it was so pretty that I {Continue Reading… }

Starting Your Business, or a New Part of Your Business

I went on a field trip today that was a bit of an adventure! I want to tell you about it because there may be some ideas that will be helpful to you as you grow your business.

As my business is evolving, I am adding new revenue streams. As part of that process, I need to register a separate business name. This is called a “DBA” which means “Doing Business As” which is called an “assumed name” other than your own personal name. Unless you are using your own personal name for your business, you will probably need to register this for your business too. That is what led to today’s field trip.

I started the process a few days ago when I called the City Government offices in San Antonio, where I live. I asked where I would need to go to register a new business name. They told me that it is actually the County that handles that process. They were helpful and gave me the address and phone number for the County Clerk’s office. I called to ask about their hours and what the process was. They were very helpful too and gave me the information I needed.

Before I went to their offices downtown, {Continue Reading… }