Tag Archives: action

Strong Women

Never doubt what determined women can accomplish,” was the phrase which kept running through my mind last week as I prepared to attend the 3rd annual Financial Women in Texas annual conference.  It was my good fortune to be both a member and general session speaker at this conference and when this thought repeated in my mind, I realized the story of what they accomplished can be an inspiration to us all.

Three years ago, a handful of women refused to let go of the professional bonds and friendships developed and built for decade upon decade when our former international organization dissolved in 2009.  These leaders focused on what is important about us banding together, found  and developed strengths in their team, and took action to rebuild our association.

I have to admit, my first reaction to rebuilding our association was more like a sigh than a cheer of encouragement.  It sounded like an overwhelming and far too daunting task, but this group of women changed my tune

Their determination, strength, and willingness to do the work resulted in so much more than a new association called Financial Women in Texas.  They became a beacon of light showing the way to new possibilities, as milestone after milestone was achieved. 

Countless hours were spent deciding steps to take, the structure to build, and how to overcome the many obstacles in their path.  Their perseverance and energy attracted attention; immediately others stepped in to help, like the Independent Bankers Association of Texas, which gave critical help in our formative phase.   

These leaders kept communicating their results to women across Texas as they persuaded and attracted both former and new members to their cause.  Within a year, members were attending the first conference as a new association. 

At our first conference, I looked around in awe at what they had accomplished.  Although fewer people attended conference the first year, the event was expertly produced.  Suddenly, I realized the task was achievable and from that point forward I resolved to become a more committed member.

By the second annual conference, former members from other states began attending our conference.  This year a few women in neighboring states have joined their nearest local group for monthly meetings as well as the association conference, which gives us hope for growth beyond our borders.

This past weekend at our third annual conference, it is clear we are on our way to becoming strong as an association.  Additional associations are sending representatives to our conference, and our membership continues to grow.  New members are stepping up to leadership roles in the local groups that make up the association, and there are even a couple new faces leading at the association level. 

These strong women who resurrected our organization are very willing to share their strength with more members and have the vision to see how our leadership must be developed to grow our organization.  A new region is in the process of forming a local group and hope is high that yet another will form in a few months.

Thank goodness we had so many women willing to see the possibilities, build on strengths in themselves and partnering organizations, and take action.  They kept us together, created a model for others to follow, and became a symbol of hope and strength to those both within and outside of our association.  They were the inspiration for my presentation last weekend too, as they beautifully illustrated the key components:

      1. Focus on What’s Important
      2. Uncover and Develop Strengths
      3. Take Action

Thank you, ladies.  Because of your focus, determination, and willingness to take action, women in Texas have a unique support system.  Like so many goals, it wasn’t easy.  Fortunately for us, your objective wasn’t ease; instead you strove for something meaningful. 

Strong women created an organization that is rapidly growing strength of its own and supporting many of us along the way.  This group of strong, determined women has truly made a difference.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

by Margaret Mead  US anthropologist & popularizer of anthropology (1901 – 1978)

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“Bloody Hell”

Actually, the giving of my blood was quite easy.  It was qualifying to give blood that was so difficult!  The experience reminded me that once a goal is set, you’ll find ways to make it happen.   The key is simply to define and own the goal.

Monday morning, I didn’t intend to give blood.  Then at noon that day, Bob Sagebiel told my Rotary club about why military blood drives are so important.  He said this was a special drive as we were particularly low on blood.  He explained the military must buy blood at retail prices from private blood banks when they are low, military programs cannot ask civilians to donate, and soldiers are often restricted from giving blood for years due to their deployment destinations. 

Many years ago, Bob learned civilians can give blood when they form their own volunteer groups and invite the military to participate.   So, he organized a group of volunteers and donors and invited the military to collect blood in Fredericksburg.  It’s been very successful, with hundreds of units collected each time this town of ten thousand is asked to participate. 

The catch is collections must be done at a federal facility and ours is two miles out of town.  Nobody drives by this facility and thinks, “Oh, look there’s a blood drive!  I can give blood today.”  No, if you are driving by the Armory, you saw an email, stopped at a booth at HEB (our local grocery), or were told about it by a friend.  It’s clear the program is successful because Bob’s group works very hard to spread the word.  Right then and there, I decided to give blood.

It really didn’t occur to me I was setting a goal, but I was.  It was clearly defined, had a date, action steps, and measurable result:  I would give blood this week, block an hour in my schedule, drive to the facility, and leave a pint of “O positive”.  Technically, I even wrote it down – in my calendar.

Easy, right?  Well, not this time.  I had to work at it, repeatedly.  I drove out to the facility three times before I succeeded in giving blood!  What’s ironic is before I set the goal, I wasn’t willing to drive out there once, yet after setting it I drove out multiple times, did research in between, and even called upon others to help me out.  Once I owned this goal, much effort went into making it happen.

You may wonder what happened.  First, I was in Mexico last December, and wasn’t sure how far south of the border I had traveled, so I was asked to come back once it had been a year since my trip.  I could easily given up then, but once set, goals have a way of pulling you toward reaching them. 

“Once set, goals have a way of pulling you toward them.”

I went online, researched the area we had visited in Mexico, and printed a map showing the longitude and latitude, since the rulebook definition went by these coordinates.  My travels were far north of areas of concern.  I went back to try again and received a high-five from the volunteer who took my registration and sent me to step two.

Then a new barrier appeared:  my teeth were too clean.  Yes, normally this is a good thing, but earlier that day I had been to the dentist for a cleaning.  There is a rule requiring 24 hours after a cleaning before you can give blood.  Seriously?!  Yep.  Something about bacteria being stirred up which I really didn’t want to imagine.  Luckily, I had one more day to try again.

On the way home, I called for back-up, just in case my efforts the next day failed.  I did what many people do when they need help.  I called Mom.  She’s given gallons of blood over the years, but she is new to town and probably didn’t know about the blood drive.  If she gave blood because I told her about it, then I could reach my goal that way, and maybe double it myslef by returning the next day.

It was then I realized how my behavior changed once I set my goal.  By making the decision and owning the goal, I automatically thought of solutions and aligned my actions to make it work.  Rather than giving up after the second try, I awoke determined to try a third time.  In my zeal to be successful, Mom learned about the drive and is now an advocate.  Best of all, I lost a pint of blood this morning and reached my goal!

I tell you, some goals can be “bloody hell!”, but this one was worth it.

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Clarity

I like to spend time in my imagination.  It’s a fun place to be.  Plans develop, careers soar, homes grace magazine covers, and children all grow to be happy and successful with lots of time for mom.  Yes, I really like imagination.  My reality is pretty good too, and I enjoy spending time in the present, but my imagination seems to hold my future – or at least future possibilities. 

How can the fun of daydreaming be used to create the life you want for yourself? By using the act of imagining, you can lead yourself to the steps you need to take to live in that dream.  (As a life coach, my solutions almost always involve action!)  The dreams you have represent what you value and want in your life.  You can expand on your dreams and do more than want it; you can define the goal so clearly that you know exactly what to do to live the dream.

First, let me explain about dreams versus fantasies.  Fantasies are fun, too, but they are not based on something over which you have much control.  Winning the lottery is a fantasy of mine.  However, there is only one way I can make the fantasy of winning the lottery real:  buy a ticket.  So far, buying lottery tickets hasn’t worked for me.  I’ve imagined winning and bought a ticket or two, but nada, not a thing has happened except the exchange of a dollar for a few minutes of fantasy.  (It’s worth the buck though.) 

Conversely, if you have some degree of control over turning your dream into reality, then it’s a dream worth pursuing with action.  The challenge is for me always is “How do I move from where I am now to where I am in my imagination?”

One tool that works well for me is clarity.  From the soft blurry focus of a dream you can develop a clear vision of what the dream looks like in real life.  What does a dream of success look like?  If I dream of being the kind of speaker who has audiences rolling in emotions of laughter, understanding, insight, and connection…, then how do I put clarity in this dream?  (and I do have this dream….)

A good place to start is by asking myself more about what I’m seeing.  Who is in the audience?  Are they parents, businesspeople, men, women, children, corporate employees, college seniors, retirees, fitness fanatics, entrepreneurs, or who?  What is my topic?  Is it cooking tips, magic tricks, social media strategies, entertainment, or overcoming obstacles?  Why in the world is the audience listening to me?  What does it give them to hear me?

That’s a little bit about what I mean by clarity.  It’s taking the dream and adding details, the kind of details that point you in a direction of steps to take.  If I know more precisely what the dream represents, then I have a clearer understanding of what I need to do to break free of the dream world and move into the present one.

A lot of business gurus will tell you to identify your market very clearly, and then identify what problem you are solving for them.  It’s a good strategy.  It can move you from dreaming about business success to living it.  Identifying your market clearly and the problem you solve for that market is another way of adding details to your dream of a profitable business.  I like the idea of using this strategy to move any dream from imagination to real life. 

If clarity works for business dreams, it can work for personal dreams.

I dream of being the kind of mom with whom my kids are always pleased to spend time.  What does that look like in real life?  How do we spend time together?  What does it give them to spend time with me?  What do we talk about and how do I respond to their stories, excitement, tragedies, and requests for advice… or for a sympathetic ear?  How do I make time for them and what do I do to make it easier for them to be with me? 

Most people do not clarify these kinds of details when they think of personal dreams, but I do because it’s very important to me that this dream stays real; in order to make it real, I need to be clear on what my role is in the transformation.  Like any goal, business or personal, it’s up to me to turn my dream into real life. 

My dreams of becoming a sought-after speaker, of growing a solid profitable business, and of being the kind of person whose children want to spend time with her are each up to me to make real.  There are many strategies to employ, with one being to paint the pictures of my dreams vividly, and use those renderings as blueprints to build a better reality.  Blueprints make it really clear on what the dream looks like in real life, and what my role is in making it happen.  A blueprint gives me clarity.  Then I have to move out of my head and into real life, one step at a time.

What is a dream of yours?

What would it become if you added in all the details?

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